In case you weren’t aware, the first Amazon Kindlle Fires were only sold in the U.S. This annoyed non-U.S. technophiles who liked the look of the devices, and some people outside the U.S. got their hands on them. Their frustration increased when they found out that access to the Amazon Store through the Kindle was limited to those with credit cards with U.S. addresses.

Anyway, a friend of mine got hold of one, during a trip to the U.S. During an official update, the device appeared to break. It was probably not charged enough, or the update was flawed; I’m not sure. Amazon were running a returns programme, but as he was in the UK and not supposed to have it, he thought he would take a different approach. He knew someone who had rooted the device previously and thought he would do that. 

Unfortunately he ‘soft-bricked’ it. That is, it would switch on, but would not proceed beyond the power up screen. I read a bit about Kindles and I thought maybe it was stuck in Fastboot mode. I offered to help, and downloaded the Kindle Unbrick Utility (from XDA) on to my netbook and took it in to work. When we plugged the Fire into the netbook, it wasn’t recognised as a device – which pointed to a driver problem. So I brought the Fire home and had a play here. 

The first goal was to get the Fire recognised by the netbook – which meant messing about with drivers. I found this site run by Jayce Ooi and followed the instructions there. This involved installing a generic Kindle Fire driver so that the netbook could talk to the Fire, and then the Fire itself installed the correct drivers.

Once that was done, I re-ran the Kindle Unblock Utility and Hey Presto! The ‘brick’ was revived. 

The Kindle Fire is a nice device, with a good screen and a nice UI linked to the Amazon ecosystem. If I were in the market for a tablet now, it’s one I would consider.Unfortunately it don’t mean much if you can’t actually buy anything from the store…

So, almost as an afterthought I rooted the Fire with the Kindle Fire Utility and installed Google Play. Now, at least, the Fire’s owner should be able to access Play Books and other apps from Google Play.