Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Developing on the Kindle Fire

We're incredibly excited about all of the new eReader tablets that are being released this fall, like the Kobo Vox, B&N Nook Tablet, and Kindle Fire.

We took delivery of our Kindle Fire here in the office today and of course the first thing I wanted to do was to sideload some of our apps onto it…while we know it runs Android apps, unfortunately I couldn't find any docs at Amazon's site on how to enable USB Debugging via the 'adb' tool.

So, I did a little spelunking. It turns out you just need to add the USB Vendor ID for the device into the file ~/.android/adb_usb.ini and then adb can find it.

Here's the steps, at least on MacOS:

  1. On the Kindle Fire Settings screen, go to "Device" and turn On "Allow Installation of Application From Unknown Sources"
  2. Plug your Kindle Fire into your Mac.
  3. Open ~/.android/adb_usb.ini with your favorite text editor
  4. Add the value "0x1949" to the end of the file and save it.
  5. You'll need to restart the adb server process to get it to re-read that file. Do that with "adb kill-server".
  6. Run "adb devices" and you should see the attached device.

Now, if you've got an .apk you want to throw on there, just do "adb install myfavoriteapp.apk". The app should now be shown on the "Apps" page when you select the "Device" tab (not "cloud").

P.S. Super-nerd note: 0x1949 is the Vendor ID for Lab126, Amazon's Skunkworks that develops all their hardware devices.