Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Kindle Fire, CM7, and Swiftkey!

Well, it didn't take long. I rooted and installed a custom ROM on my Kindle Fire not long after I got it. I liked some of the stock Amazon software, but definitely needed the Android Market Play Store and the rest of my Google apps. To start things off, I went with a stockish ROM with just those things added, which you can read about here. But now I was ready to go a little farther. The Amazon launcher was getting annoying as well as the inability to easily use other keyboards. So I went looking for something more.

The  XDA forums are buzzing with activity as there are some great developers working on the Kindle Fire. Google's latest, Ice Cream Sandwich, is what everyone is looking forward to and Fire owners are no exception. I've been running ICS for a while now on my Captivate and would love to have it on my Fire. There are a few ROMs available and the kernel is getting better everyday. It won't be long before everything is worked out. And while some maybe ready to use these as a daily driver, I'm going to wait a bit longer. So I went with a Gingerbread CM7 ROM.

This has made my Kindle complete. The performance is solid and it has all of the features I need. I'm rid of Amazon's launcher and running ADWLauncherEX. All of my apps seem to be in good working order, even Netflix and Hulu are running fine. Basically, by running CM7 my fire is more like a bona fide Android tablet.

The one app I missed most was swiftkey x. This is the best android keyboard there is. The predictions are amazing! Since I had already bought the phone version, and me being the cheapskate that I am, I installed that even though there is a dedicated tablet version. I still had the great predictions, but the layout could be better on the larger screen. So I tried the free trial tablet version. This is what I was looking for. In portrait the keyboard is a standard layout but the buttons are bigger. In landscape the keyboard is split with the letters on the side and the numbers in the middle. This is great for thumbs! There are three options for the keyboard height for each position. Having a 7" tablet I went with the small setting for both. The keys are big enough, and yet I am able to see enough of the screen to see what it is I'm writing. At $2.99, Swiftkey Tablet X  is definitely worth it.

So what's running on your Kindle Fire?
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