Amazon's Kindle Fire HD will have locked bootloader

Want to install regular Android on that brand new Kindle Fire? You may be out of luck. A user named kinfauns on the XDA Developers Forum has said that he has taken a look at the software update packages for both the new Kindle Fire and 7-inch Fire HD.

 The MLO (xloader, 1st stage bootloader) is signed and the boot header is the type used for HS (high security) OMAP devices with the M-Shield turned on.

This pretty much means both devices appear to have complex protection, including locked bootloaders. Of course this doesn't mean it would make installing Jelly Bean impossible, but it will likely make it much more difficult to do.

 ...it will be considerably more difficult to manipulate these devices than their 1st generation cousin.

You may want to avoid a new Kindle Fire if you want to get out of Amazon's ecosystem and opt for a Nexus 7 instead.

Amazon's new Kindle Fire HD was announced on September 6, along with new Kindle eReaders. The regular Fire had a spec bump, while Amazon also introduced two brand new models, the Kindle Fire HD 7-inch and the Kindle Fire HD 8.7-inch, the latter includes dual band 2.4GHz and 5GHz band support, MIMO support, an OMAP 4470 processor, and storage options starting at 16 GB.

Source: XDA Developers Forum Image via: Amazon

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24 Comments

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I enjoyed every bit of my Kindle Fire, but I just sold it and bought a Nexus 7. It is great to have a "stock" Android experience. I had Jelly Bean on the Fire and it ran great, but the performance and responsiveness in the Nexus 7 is better.

If no one can hack it, perhaps Amazon will provide a way to unlock it, as other Android OEM's have done in the past after getting user complaints.

Sonne said,
Bootloaders get hacked, a device this popular it won't take long

Wasn't their a bounty to unlock the bootloader for the Samsung Galaxy S 3 (Verizon)? No one was able to do it. If it wasn't for that "leak" by someone who was obviously from Samsung, that bootloader would still be locked.

korupt_one said,
and it has also been confirmed by Nokia now that amazon has licenced Nokia mapping tech for these, bye bye google.

If "Bye Bye Google", who will make the OS for the Kindle? I am confused by your statement. Also, everybody license from multiple companies. It's not a sign of a company's product otherwise the one company would be a monopoly.

Considering the price of the Fire I don't think it's bad that the bootloader is locked - it is a subsidised device so Amazon have every right to restrict it.

Josh_LosAltosHills said,
I think this may be more of a security issue with alot of personal info tied into the Kindle with all the amazon services.

Almost all amazon services are available on standard tablets too.

Why would anyone opt for one of these over a Nexus 7 or any other Android tablet? They are tied down heavily to Amazon's platform.

XX55XX said,
Why would anyone opt for one of these over a Nexus 7 or any other Android tablet? They are tied down heavily to Amazon's platform.

Because people like Amazon? Because Amazon advertises the hell out of Kindle on their own enormously popular portal for purchasing almost anything? The simplest answers are probably correct, in this case.

XX55XX said,
Why would anyone opt for one of these over a Nexus 7 or any other Android tablet? They are tied down heavily to Amazon's platform.

Because a lot of people do not research to see what they are actually buying.

XX55XX said,
Why would anyone opt for one of these over a Nexus 7 or any other Android tablet? They are tied down heavily to Amazon's platform.

This can be answered with one word. "ECOSYSTEM"

Amazon has a great Ecosystem of books, movies, and music. Also, they have a stronger presence of their ecosystem in a lot of countries outside of the US with this ecosystem. So I guess the real question is, "Why would anyone buy a Nexus 7".

Also, that was my general answer for non-tech/nerd/geek people. Personally (as a geek) I agree with you. I love my Nexus 7. I love my iPad. And if the Surface is cheap enough, I may say that one day. As a geek, I prefer the hardware that is closely managed by the company that made the software. Unfortunately, Amazon is just a heavily skinned Android OS. But I have no problem recommending it to regular people who are looking for a cheaply priced tablet.

TCLN Ryster said,
One question... why on earth does the bezel have to be so thick? It looks like a cheap digital photo frame :-(

If it wasn't like what it is, Apple would be hounding Amazon

TCLN Ryster said,
One question... why on earth does the bezel have to be so thick? It looks like a cheap digital photo frame :-(

because books have margins?

Astra.Xtreme said,
It will be cracked 30 minutes after it launches, so no worries.

do you know the differences between root and encrypted system boot loader?

Astra.Xtreme said,
It will be cracked 30 minutes after it launches, so no worries.

It's encrypted and does a digital signature check during boot to ensure you are booting from an authorized image. Not really possible to bypass easily. I know they managed in the older Kindle tablet but that was via a secondary bootloader where they had a fail safe if something bad happened. They don't have that failsafe here so they have to figure out a new one. XDA-Developers pointed to a USB boot pad and an Rx and Tx pair in there. Rx and Tx pairing indicates a serial interface is available so you only need ground and power and you are set.