Sunday, October 25, 2015

Let's Make This Fire Do Something Useful!

Now that I have the tablet set up, I thought that I would put some videos on it for my daughter to watch.

The first thing I tried was YouTube, which was much more difficult than expected. I tried playing YouTube in the built in Silk browser, but it wouldn't play anything until I told YouTube to display the site in desktop mode.

I thought that I could easily fix the problem by installing an alternate web browser on the tablet, but Amazon doesn't make that easy. The Amazon App Store doesn't have a copy of Chrome on it, OR a copy of Firefox or even the Opera browser. The App Store also doesn't have a copy of the official YouTube app from Google, and only has a few phony apps that do not seem to be much more than links to the web site.  Lame!

It looks like I'll need to copy the official Google .apk files over to the tablet and install it that way. I'm not going to do that now, since it doesn't seem like something a typical Fire Tablet user is going to attempt.

I had much better luck copying videos onto the tablet via USB. Once I got them copied over, I was able to play them with the built in Videos app without issue.

Here is my daughter watching Frozen on the tablet. She seems to approve!

I also had no trouble installing the Fisher Price apps that my daughter likes on this tablet, since they were available on the Amazon App Store. I guess that Fisher Price and Amazon get along better than Google and Amazon do. I didn't have as much luck installing the Seedonk video monitoring software for my nanny cam. It has an Android version available, but it isn't listed in the Amazon App Store.

While installing and trying out these applications, I noticed that the touch screen has some quirks. It doesn't always recognize when I press down on the screen, and I occasionally need to touch the screen a second time for the screen press to work. This is really noticeable in things like the calculator application, when something entered like "123456789" becomes "1245679" because it didn't recognize when I hit the 3 and 8 keys. I'd imagine that playing a game on this tablet would be nearly impossible due to this issue.

My opinion of this tablet hasn't changed much from this experience. It still seems like a decent low cost tablet, but it's being held back by some poor software design decisions from Amazon.

1 comment:

  1. If you want a "second opinion" review, check out this Engadget review here: