How to add Google Play to your Amazon Fire Kids edition

Amazon Fire Kids EditionThis article assumes you want to add the Google Play Store and associated services to the Amazon Fire Kids Edition tablet running Bellini (5.0.1).

It also assumes you know a little bit about rooting and using a computer, however you won’t be rooting the device nor as far as I can tell voiding the warranty.

This does not require root. However should you wish to root your device you can read about that here. Warranty will probably be voided if you brick your device though.

Amazon decided to take Google’s work, sell it with a rebranded launcher, and lock the Amazon branded tablets in an ecosphere devoid of the largest collection of Android apps on the planet (Google Play).

I’ve noticed since getting into the Amazon ecosphere there are a lot of apps in the Amazon App Store that have been abandoned or are way behind their Google Play Store release dates. I’m not sure what the holdup is, but some developers just don’t want to deal with Amazon it seems, and with Amazon’s tactics, it’s not hard to guess why.

If you’re a root wiz and have a terminal emulator on your Fire Kids Tablet already you might be able to skip to step 5 and improvise.

Step 1. Enable developer options

Settings, device options, locate serial number and tap it repeatedly for a few seconds until you see “you’re now a developer.” Congrats, you’re now a developer.

Step 2. Enable ADB, install from unknown sources

Settings, device options, developer options, enable ADB.

Allow install from unknown sources as well

Step 3. Connect to a computer, install ADB drivers

If you’re on Windows you’ll now most likely have a device showing up on your computer called “Fire”. Even if you’re in the rooting scene there’s a good chance your current ADB drivers won’t handle the Fire Kids tablet.

Go grab the Google USB Driver package and unzip it somewhere you’ll remember. Open Device manager, find the unknown Fire device, right click and choose properties, choose update driver, let me pick from a list of drivers on my computer, next, have disk, browse to the “usb-driver” folder from that Google USB driver, click ok, next, choose Android Composite ADB interface. Click ok to let it install.

Let it sit a few seconds. Unplug the tablet, wait a second, plug it back in and unlock. You should see a request to allow your computer to do ADB debugging. Choose allow, and allow always unless you have a compelling reason to not allow it.

Step 4. Get yourself an ADB package

You can go to Google and search ADB package, or download the Android SDK developer tools, or you can click here and download ADB and required DLLs. That’s a links stored on our server, as a security person I’d advise against trusting my links.

Step 5. Grab the Google Play store required packages

You need to install four apks and then set permissions via ADB or a terminal server. I’ll provide instructions via ADB since we’ve come this far although you should be able to download and install a terminal service and run one of the permissions commands.

Here’s a zip containing older versions of the required packages: install play services download (once again, this is a download from theITbaby, don’t trust us.)

These were obtained from a website called Root JunkySDL and are a bit older, but they’ll auto update later on. Alternately you can download the Play Store APKs elsewhere.

Place the contents of the zip file in the same folder you have your ADB.

Step 6. Install Google Play, set permissions

The format of most of this is ADB install <package name> and what this does is simply install a package. If you’ve got the APKs from reliable sources you shouldn’t have to worry about any of this. I’ll explain what the other command is when we get to it.

Open a command prompt and get to the the folder you’ve extracted all of your stuff into. Type the following:

adb install com.google.android.gms-6.6.03_(1681564-036)-6603036-minAPI9.apk
adb install GoogleLoginService.apk
adb install GoogleServicesFramework.apk

Now we’re going to do something slightly different:

adb shell pm grant com.google.android.gms android.permission.INTERACT_ACROSS_USERS

ok, to break this down what we’re executing here is a shell on your tablet (opening a command prompt basically, executing a command.) This command is “pm”. This grants or removes permissions to a package that’s already installed.

In this particular case we’re granting com.google.android.gms the permissions to work on multiple user accounts. This is the Google Mobile Services apk, and probably requires the permission to work as system, user, and any other accounts. You can try without doing this command and see if it fails.

And now finally we’re going to install the Play Store

adb install com.android.vending-5.9.12-80391200-minAPI9.apk

Step 7. Go on with your bad self

It took about two minutes before the icon showed up, or at least until I noticed it. Upon tapping Play Store I got a few connection errors and then it just started working. Log in with your username and password, you’ll get some warnings that Google Play Services need to be updated. Let it happen.

You should now be able to add most Android apps to your $50 tablet.

Step 8. Add applications to child profile

I don’t have this part yet, hopefully will in another article.

Problems?

I pieced this together from a few sources, one of the best examples I saw was here and may help you further if you’re not a root wiz.

  • Alan

    Any news on Step 8? This is where I’m stuck. I bought one for Christmas for my daughter, but can’t add the apps I purchased on the Play store to her child account. Very disappointing.

  • as a note on step 8 – still no good way to do this. That launcher of theirs is nutty. I even rooted the device to see if I could modify an xml doc to move an app over.

    • Albert Harari

      did anyone ever figure out how to complete #8 of getting google play apps into the fire kids profiles?

      • Only way I’ve seen involves gotoapp, installing play services on the primary profile and then installing Google Play apk on the kid’s profile. Then you can download and install, but you’re still stuck because Freetime (the launcher) won’t display anything so you have to use Gotoapp once again to launch things.

        I’ll check and see if anyone’s made progress in the last month or so.

        • Jorge Wong

          any update on this?

          • You can root the device and modify the launcher data.

            Potentially just move the app into the child’s profile by using ES file explorer and copying the apk over, I’ll see if that works. Very much doubt it will though as Android generally won’t let user A modify user B’s stuff.

          • Jorge Wong

            If I don’t need to root that would be preferable. I didn’t realise there are so many apps that are in the play store and not in the amazon store. Let me know if the ES file explorer option works.

            Thanks!

          • Chris Marois

            I would love to know if this works for you. I have been trying to get playstore apps on a freetime profile forever. Thanks for your efforts on this, they are very much appreciated.

  • Marie Sample

    Anyone find an easier way to complete step 8 yet?

    • The problem with step 8 at this point is it requires you to edit data for the child launcher. Since Android is a sandbox, app A can’t touch app B unless you’re rooted or running as the root user in a temp root scenario.

      Rooting can be done by installing the Kingroot app on a PC and the tablet, however I noticed stability seemed to suffer (although that may have just been the Google Play items I’d installed).

      There’s no easy way I’ve found yet. Incredibly warranty-voiding ways that render Freetime somewhat useless, but nothing easy.

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  • Michael Bybee

    does this void the replacement warrenty

    • In most cases I’ve seen installing an app via any means accessible is not a cause for a warranty voiding. In this case you are simply installing three apks which you can also uninstall.

      Should you root the thing with Kingroot later on, there might be a clause for that voiding your warranty.

      Generally I’ve never heard of a company saying a screen falling apart was caused by software.