Apple to Android?

I’ve been a long time Apple user. I used an old Powerbook 1400 throughout college, and my first computer purchase of my own was a Power Macintosh G4 533 dual processor that shipped with OS 9 Classic and OS X (10.0). I’ve had every physical iteration of the iPhone since 2007. I have used an old Mac Mini as an HTPC and have built several Hackintoshes over the years. I don’t call myself a fanboy, but to say I have respect for Apple hardware and software would be an understatement. With all of this respect for Apple, the one product I never purchased was from the iPad line. Instead, I recently opted to try out Android via an inexpensive tablet with pretty decent hardware, the Kindle Fire 7” HDX.

Sadly, this is where my usual research overkill failed me. This was an impulse purchase and I have a few regrets. Yes, it runs “Android”, but I wasn’t entirely aware of how crippled Amazon decided to make their Fire OS. No Play Store integration and no support for Gapps is a huge issue for any Android device. Initially I didn’t see this as too big of a deal since I planned on rooting and replacing everything with stock Android build anyway, and this is where my research would have come in handy. As it turns out, the Kindle HDX isn’t rootable on the latest version of Fire OS. Luckily, mine shipped with a version that can be rooted, but then I ran into problem number two. The bootloader hasn’t been hacked yet. This means that I am very limited in what I can do with the tablet. I’m stuck with the Fire OS kernel (4.2.2 Jellybean) and running hacked versions of the Fire OS ROM. If the community around this device were bigger, I have no doubt we’d have a fully hackable tablet to play with, but sadly the community is quite small. For as powerful as this little tablet is, I’m quite surprised. I do believe we will get it in the long run, but this hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped for my first foray into Android.

In hindsight, I should have picked up a Nexus 7, but the hardware of the HDX was better. Here’s to hoping the HDX with get to the point where we can replace the bootloader. Regardless, I’m fairly impressed with Android even in the limited capacity I have been able to dabble. Surprisingly, I’m now giving thought to trying out an Android phone for a bit, but I’ll wait until the next version of the Nexus 5 or Moto X is out before making that jump. I need a guaranteed piece of hardware that I can hack to my hearts content. I won’t make an HDX mistake again.

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