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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