One of the most enjoyable aspects of Android (and certainly one of its biggest selling points) is Android is not bound by the typical restraints of other operating systems (OS). Not mentioning any names (iOS). With this level of openness or open-source Android users are provided with an abundance of changes which can be made. If you don’t like the interface your device currently uses. No problem. Open the bootloader, flash a custom recovery, flash a ROM, wipe, reset, reboot and you have a different looking interface. OK. So its not quite as easy as it sounds but either way the point is Android is open. Athough users sometimes struggle with the flashing process, none of this would be possible if it wasn’t for the many developers working on ports. Without them, users would be resigned to the stock operating systems and interfaces. However to do this, the original creators need to release the Source Code. Developers do find ways to port/customise without the codes, but it is significantly harder. With the codes in-hand developers are free to offer users the best choice and quality of the finished product.
Amazon has now just released the source code for the Kindle Fire HD 6 and HD 7 devices. Both of these devices are the newest additions to the quite successful Kindle tablet range and began shipping from Amazon yesterday. With the source codes released developers will be able to start working on a number of alternative ports. However two important points to note. Firstly, Fire OS (the operating system underlining the devices) is part of the open-source world and as such they are somewhat compelled to release the Source Code under the terms of the open source software license. So although it is good to see the code being released, this is only good practise on Amazon’s part and not an indication that they are open-source minded. The second point (technically an extension of the first point) even with the new source code Amazon’s Fire OS is a locked-down OS, meaning that it’s rather hard for developers to break through it. Fire OS very much locks its users into its ecosystem and this is one of the reasons that is being attributed to the poor sales of the Fire Phone.
With that said, the source code is up and available. If you are a developer and want to get hold of the codes then they are available via the main source code page (along with codes for the other Amazon devices). Alternatively if you are after the Fire TV code then click here. Anyone using any of these products at the moment? How do you like the OS? Are you hoping for more customization? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment.