Is the Amazon Fire Tablet Considered an Android Device?
When it comes to buying cheap tablets, there’s truly no better device than an Amazon Fire Tablet. For less than $150, you can get yourself a 7″, 8″, or 10″ device perfect for watching movies and TV shows, checking your email, or just browsing the web. Of course, if you’ve spent any time researching Amazon’s lineup of Fire Tablets, you’ve probably seen references to both Fire OS and Android when it comes to its operating system. That might bring some confusion when you’re trying to figure out whether or not you should buy one, since some articles seem to list the Fire Tablets as running both Android and Fire OS at the same time. So, is the Amazon Fire Tablet a true Android device, or is it something else entirely?
Is The Amazon Fire Tablet Running Android?
Straight off the bat, a Fire Tablet isn’t a traditional Android Device running Google’s own version of Android. Google devices run the Android operating system; they’re all certified and have access to the Google Play Store and Google’s apps. However, there’s another type of Android called AOSP (Android Open Source Project). Amazon uses this as a base for its Fire OS. As an open source project, AOSP allows anyone to start with a basic version of Android before creating their own fork.
They took the code from AOSP and modified it to make their Fire operating system. Why start from nothing when you could use perfectly good code? Makes sense, right?
That’s why Amazon used AOSP, saving themselves a lot of time and money. More details on this are to follow. For now, let’s discuss the reasoning behind the counter-argument.
Android isn’t Android
The Fire Tablet isn’t a typical Android device. It doesn’t support the Google Play Store, nor any Google-owned apps. Even though Amazon was smart to borrow their competitor’s code, they can’t simply appropriate everything. We use the term “borrow” because Amazon developed its Fire OS fair and square, using an open-source code from Google. Even though it has Android as a base, Fire OS is much different from Android.
When it comes to apps and games, Fire OS completely supports the Amazon ecosystem, not the Google ecosystem. Amazon’s system has its own app store, apps, interface, Silk browser, Alexa voice assistant, etc. Put simply, Amazon wants you to use their products and stay on their side of the court.
The competition between Amazon and Google is pretty heated, and both sides are heavily invested. Nobody will back down, so you, the user, will have to choose between the two…or will you?
Bringing Google to Amazon
Even though the Fire Tablet is designed to be used as an Amazon device, with Amazon’s ecosystem, there is a workaround that can allow you to use apps like YouTube, Gmail, and even the Google Play Store right on your Amazon Fire Tablet.
Note that you can’t download the Google Play Store directly to your Fire Tablet. Firstly, you’ll need to download third-party APK files. These files don’t work on micro SD cards, so make sure to remove them from your Fire Tablet. Also, you need to permit apps from unknown sources on your device. We have a whole in-depth guide on how to perform these steps here, but for the short version, read these steps below.
- Start the Settings, and choose Security.
- Enable Apps from Unknown Sources under the Advanced tab.
- Confirm the warning prompt with OK.
Now, you can download the necessary APK files on your Fire Tablet. Using Silk, visit the APK mirror website for Android APKs, and use the search bar to find the latest version of the Google Play Store, Google Account Manager, Google Play Services, and Google Services Framework for your device.
You need the model name for your Fire Tablet (check it under system device options), so you can download the correct version of each APK file. Install each of the APK files. You can then sign up at the Google Play Store.
Connect your Google account to start using Google apps on your Fire Tablet.
The Bottom Line
Even though you can use the Fire Tablet as a standard Android tablet, you’ll be jumping through hoops in the process. If you want to use Google’s Android ecosystem, perhaps you should get a standard Android tablet.
On the other hand, if you want Amazon apps to run smoothly, your Fire Tablet is an excellent device. It’s similar to Android, only it has its own unique Fire OS.