0Fixing a slow Amazon Fire HD 8

A couple of xmases ago I bought my better half an Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet as she wanted a budget tablet to read books on at night, and to play free android games like clash of clans. The Fire seemed an ideal option as it would link into her Kindle account without any hassle, and is also android based. It was also possible to get a good sized device within the price limit we set each other.

The problems started from day one. In their determination to plague us with more adverts than google, Amazon have opted to build their own version of android called FireOS instead of sticking with the Google version. Alongside this Amazon provide their own built-in apps and their own AppStore. None of this is a problem, but unfortunately, Amazon don’t provide a way to install the Google Play Store, and not all of the apps available on play store are available on the Amazon app store – including Clash of Clans! I’m not sure what the Amazon ‘excuse’ is for this, but it’s a very poor effort on their part.

I immediately set about rooting the device so that I could install the Play Store and accomplished this quickly and easily and successfully installed the various games that my good lady wanted. However, ever since the device has been painfully slow and quickly stopped being used. I tried all sorts of online advice about clearing memory, removing apps, stopping programs running in the background, but nothing really made any significant difference.

After we moved house a year ago it remained buried away until I stumbled across it recently. I figured I had nothing to lose in trying to get it back to proper performance, so I started by doing a full factory reset to see if it was still so slow in a default state. As I expected the factory reset made a huge difference and the performance because entirely usable as expected. I thought it would be more useful in this condition as a backlit ebook reader so decided not to try rooting it again, but I still wanted to find a way to install the games my wife wanted to play if I could.

After some searching I found an article at liliputing.com which itself linked to a a post on xda-developers by Gilly10. The basic process is that the 4 APKs needed for the google play store can be downloaded and installed manually. There are 3 red “notes” at the top of the post on xda-developers, all 3 of these applied to my device and probably apply to most other devices too.

Installing these 4 APK’s and restarting worked fully as hoped. After logging into my wife’s google account app of the apps previously installed were (very slowly) restored automatically, and I then restarted the device again. Upon first inspection there is no difference between the device prior to the factory reset, and how it is now set up. In both cases the play store is installed and all the apps my wife wanted are installed. There is a reasonable amount of free RAM and free storage. However the performance difference is enormous. Whilst it was originally almost unusable, it is now entirely usable, with similar performance to a medium-range android phone.

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