Amazon Logo IFA AH 4

Amazon’s $50 Tablet Has Access to Google Play After All

October 10, 2015 - Written By Fernando Bonilla

Amazon’s latest line of tablets includes the inexpensive $50 Fire tablet. At that price point many worry about just how usable the device is, and given Amazon’s proprietary software skin that they place on top of Android OS, the uncertainty is understandable. Perhaps one of the biggest frustrations owning a Fire tablet may give you is the lack of Google’s Play Store despite this tablet running a version of Android. However, new reports indicate that it is possible to install the app store after all.

The retail giant has been busy with tablets for some time now. The current generation of its Fire tablets is the company’s fifth generation of devices, and this time Amazon is offering one of the cheapest tablets on the market. The $50 Fire tablet is certainly easy on the wallet and gets even cheaper with Amazon’s promotion that offers a free tablet for every five you buy. Even if you buy one for each person in your family, the total cost comes down to even less than an Apple iPad. Amazon also offers free unlimited cloud storage for its own content on the device, though it’s much-needed thanks to a dismal 8 GB of internal storage. Still, the option to expand the memory with an SD card is a viable option.

Amazon’s Fire tablets run on a specialized version of Android called Fire OS, which is in its fifth iteration named “Bellini”. The launcher has its own version of Google Play that Amazon operates itself. Though the selection is introducing new titles continuously, the app count is a far cry from Android’s official app store. As a result, Fire OS ends up limiting the entertainment experience for some users.

XDA developers, however, have found a way to bring the tablet’s app offering up to par with the rest of Android, and it’s really a simple process. A guide on the site explains exactly what to do if you own a Fire tablet and would like access to Google Play. First, download the service to your PC as a .zip file. From there, running a file from the uncompressed version of the download begins the installation process. After waiting a few minutes for everything to settle in, Amazon’s Fire tablet becomes decidedly more of a worthwhile purchase. No rooting or hacking of the device is necessary, and another user has even made a video if reading instructions isn’t your thing

While Amazon’s $50 tablet may not be as powerful or as beautiful as most other tablets, its cheap price point, if you can ignore the ads on your lock screen, makes it an acceptable low-end device to buy. Now that we know it’s possible to install Google Play, the reasons to add this tablet to your collection are adding up.