How to Install Google Apps (Gmail, Google Reader, etc) on the 7″ Kindle Fire HD
The 7″ Kindle Fire HD has been in consumer’s hands for less than a week. We still don’t have a quick and easy way to hack it and install Google Play but today I did come across a way to install some of the core Google Apps.
XDA Forums member abhijitxp gets the glory here for taking some standard apks and tweaking them so they run on the KFHD. This trick will not let you install Google Play, but it will give you a basic set of Google apps.
I don’t know about you but I desperately needed this. Without Gmail and Google Reader (which is not yet included in this hack) this tablet is useless to me. Even a partial addition of a few apps is enough to tide me over until a more thorough hack is released.
So here’s how you do it.
First, you’ll need a file manager or some other way to access the install files on your KFHD. Amazon won’t let you do this via their setup, unfortunately, so I recommend that you head over to this post and install the 5 apps I suggested. Or you could skip that and install ES File Explorer, an app which you can find in the Amazon Appstore on your KFHD.
You’ll also need to allow the installation of 3rd party files, but this is a bridge which you can cross when you come to it. It’s not hard to figure it out.
- Go download this RAR file and unZIP the RAR.
- Copy the folder full of files to your KFHD over USB.
- Open ES File Explorer on your KFHD and find the folder you just copied. Open it.
- Install the file called GoogleLoginService.apk and reboot your KFHD. You can reboot by pressing and holding the power button until the menu comes up.
- Install the rest of the apps, including the Youtube file. That’s the one which the hacker who developed this trick says is needed to log in to your Google account so you can do things like access your Gmail.
And now you should have Gmail, Google Maps, and Youtube running on your KFHD. It worked for me. I’ve just double checked and the Gmail app is now working on my 7″ Kindle Fire HD. That is a marked improvement from Monday, when my first attempt at installing the app failed.
P.S. The instructions above don’t include Google Reader, but I found another way to install it. I downloaded the file from 1Mobile app store. It’s this one, and I am sitting here looking at Google Reader the app while I type.
XDA Forums via Liliputing
cookie September 19, 2012 um 10:51 pm
I see it is still not pulling four stars on Amazon.com. Maybe too early.
Isles September 20, 2012 um 8:08 am
Hmm. After proudly owning a Google Nexus 7 for the past two months, I am really finding it hard to justify a Kindle Fire HD purchase, even the 8.9″ (I like bigger screens). I have really gotten used to having the wide-open 4.1 platform. Why should I jump through all these hacks and hoops just to be able to install Google Reader? If I invest money in a larger tablet, it will be the Transformer Infinity.
Nate Hoffelder September 20, 2012 um 11:05 am
I wouldn’t belittle the Kindle Fire too much. Your Nexus 7 probably would not exist if Amazon had not released the KF and established the market nice. Sure, there might have been a tablet with its specs but chances are Google wouldn’t have allowed it access to Google Play or slapped the Nexus brand on it.
Andrys March 4, 2013 um 7:17 am
I don’t find the KFHD very limiting. I have, for some time now, run Google Earth, Google Maps and Street View on it and just about anything else I want, available from several app stores with nothing extra to be done but checking the Install apps from unknown sources box.
The GMail app did work for me but I prefer to do gmail via the web via their basic HTMl page (not 'Standard') though you may have to do the URL twice to see it. That way, on an 8.9″ or even 7″ I can see all the things I’m used to using and have them run pretty smoothly.
I don’t think I can post a URL w/o going immediately into spam folder, so I won’t.
ES Explorer’s the most complete and thorough but if one just wants to know where an apk file downloaded itself, you can use Easy Installer app from Amazon’s appstore and its only job is to search your Kindle for any apk files and present them to you in a list for clicking and installing.
Thanks, Nate, for that login enabling file for the direct device-oriented access.
I have no problems with Youtube if I use Dolphin. Silk runs them if you go in 'automatic' mode as it gets them via the mobile area and runs them. BUT my favored way by far is to use tubemate, a stupendous app, that lets me either watch or easily download any youtube video in the available resolutions and watch them offline. It’s at Amazon’s app store.
BSPlayer app plays almost ANY audio format so I use that along with Tubemate if I want as it plays all my different camera video files w/ no audio oddities that I see with the older popular ones like moboplayer.
As for what it can do that the Nexus can’t, it has a rep for working in WiFi situations at distances (according to reviews) that caused the Nexus to buffer the stream, not able to catch up, due to the dual antenna, dual band thing.
It lets me hook up my Kindle direct to an HDMI TV and for me it works very well in both 7″ and 8.9″ models. A reader said he was easily able to do it with a hotel HDTV.
It has Dolby enhanced stereo speakers, one on each side, which have gotten high marks and are considered the best tablet speakers. The 7″ model has better presence and volume, for some reason. I use the app Sound Booster if there’s a video with volume too low.
Watching instant videos with X-Ray feature (via Amazon-owned IMDB) I can do what I do on my TV Cable — but better. Pause the screen and I can see the names of actors in that scene and brief bios on them as well as a synopsis of what I’m seeing.
The Nexus is faster though for games and some web browsing. Dolphin’s a lot faster than Silk and we run Silk with the 'accelerator' off for better speed, ironically.
A display shoot-out test ranked the Nexus the worst between Kindle Fire and iPadmini and Nexus for the small points of the color tints, saturation etc.
So those are reasons SOME of us will get the Kindle Fire HD but they’re not good enough reasons for others to forego direct access to Google Play instead of depending on the many other appstores.
Re the enabling of apps from 'unknown sources' – that check box is under Settings/More/Device…
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Dee December 8, 2012 um 7:46 pm
I can’t download the RAR file – you’re out of bandwidth on that site. put the file elsewhere??
Nate Hoffelder December 8, 2012 um 8:20 pm
Done. I uploaded the RAR file to this blog. Try the link again.
Melissa December 11, 2012 um 7:22 pm
Thank you for the advice. I now have Gmail, but I still can’t get the reader. This is terrific! Thanks again.
joe December 27, 2012 um 3:43 pm
there is no file called GoogleLoginService.apk, just alot of .par2 files, whatever that is. What am i doing wrong here?
Nate Hoffelder December 27, 2012 um 3:48 pm
You used the wrong app to open the Rar file.
johnny5 January 2, 2013 um 7:14 pm
having some trouble getting the gmail app to sync up and appear on apps and carousel screens. any suggestions? thanks for the blog !
Nate Hoffelder January 2, 2013 um 7:18 pm
I’m seeing the same issues with syncing and with the carousel. It’s not the app; it’s Amazon.
johnny5 January 2, 2013 um 9:58 pm
I finally got gmail and youtube to work after rebooting several times. Still no luck with google talk, it wont sync but installs and is visible. Do you have any links for installing google chrome browser? Thanks again man!
Nate Hoffelder January 2, 2013 um 10:04 pm
I’m not sure Amazon will let you install Chrome on the KFHD, though.
johnny5 January 2, 2013 um 10:20 pm
I was able to follow your instructions for the other apps and dl’ed chrome here and it worked almost perfectly (the icon in carousel is a bit fuzzy, but I can live with that).
Why is Amazon being so agro about the gapps? I would guess they are upset about Amazon not having google play on the device. The end user is the one who gets the screw job!
Bill March 3, 2013 um 8:25 pm
I am a real newbie. Where on the Kindle Fire to I copy the apk files to? Thanks!
Nate Hoffelder March 3, 2013 um 8:31 pm
I would place them in the download folder. That is one folder that will always be easy to find.
And don’t forget, you will need to install a file manager on your KF so you can open the APK files and install them. ES File Explorer is good and can be found in the Amazon Appstore.
Bill March 3, 2013 um 8:33 pm
Thanks Nate, I already have it installed.
Bill March 5, 2013 um 7:40 pm
Nate, Just wanted to let you know that I got it all installed and was able to sign in to my Google account with no problems. I’m now looking at Google Reader and using Google Chrome on my Kindle Fire with all my bookmarks in place. Thanks so much for reporting this method and answering my earlier questions. Bill
WS March 10, 2013 um 4:19 am
I was having a tough time deciding whether to get the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 or the Google Nexus 10. I do have a large number of Kindle books, and Prime, but far prefer the Chrome browser and have come to depend on some of the Chrome apps. Based on what i learned on your site, i got the Kindle, saved a bundle, and still managed to get Google Chrome and my critical apps. Many thanks for your information.
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gary July 21, 2013 um 5:14 am
Many thanks, I now have my PC, Kindle and Galaxy all synced with Chrome and some other google other apps. It was a hassle getting to this point but now that it’s done and I now know to go to other app markets its all downhill from here.
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