Amazon, as usual, surprised me by over delivering yet again. I didn’t expect to receive my new Fire HD early this week but Amazon shipped earlier than they promised.Now that I’ve had a few days with it, I am posting the “enhancements” I’ve done to it to enable most Google services. The great thing is that so far I’ve not had to root the device to do so. 1Mobile Market has been the only tool you need. Of course, you have to enable the installation of applications from unknown sources by swiping down from the top to expose the settings bar > More > Device option.Since I have (and use) Amazon’s Prime service, I didn’t want to root this device. Fortunately it appears I’ve been able to do what I want without doing so (unlike my 1st generation Fire device).These are the order of the apps I installed that are not available in Amazon’s market.
Google Chrome (cannot sync with Google login, and voice recognition does not work by defaul – the mic disappears immedately; V 18.0.1025464 @ 1Mobile)
Google Services Framework (seemed to enable my Google login sync – bookmarks started syncing at some point even though passwords did not)
Google Drive (v 188.8.131.52 @ 1Mobile)
Google’s YouTube app (v 4.1.47 @ 1Mobile)
Google Voice Search (this seemed to add a voice recognition service that even Evernote’s dictate function could use; v 2.1.4 @ 1Mobile)
All of Google’s apps were easily installed from the 1Mobile Market application except the Google Services Framework which was located with a quick Google search – but at this point, i’m not certain it was required. Next time, I’ll try without it.The built in email application is far better than the 1st generation Kindle Fire’s app. This one works flawlessly without any setup hassles with my Google Hosted domain email. It even synchronizes the calendar and contacts if you’d like.I may attempt Google Voice later if the Skype application doesn’t meet my needs but I’ve not tried to install a client just yet.The Nexus may be a better device but Amazon’s customer service is outstanding so I almost always choose them when I have choices. But so far, I’m not missing anything I feel necessary.One complaint: while the addition of physical buttons for volume are welcome, I can’t seem to find them and spend way to much time rotating the device to locate them. They should have a more tactile feel or at least a bit different color to them. Maybe just some simple marks on the front edges where they are located would suffice.