Google may have introduced the Nexus 7 at a low $199 price point, but Amazon brought the Kindle Fire to the masses last year at the same price point. Although it was running a forked version of Android, it could be rooted and hacked to run custom ROMs. Now some enterprising hackers on xda-developers have ported the latest version of Android, Jelly Bean, across to Amazon’s cheap tablet.
Not much is known about the ROM right now, although it looks like basic functionality is working. Users will need to root their Kindle Fire first, then flash the provided ROM and Google Apps package. A quick fix is then needed in order to restore WiFi functionality, but after that you should be good to go. The only major feature that’s missing is hardware acceleration for video playback. Texas Instruments hasn’t added in code to support Jelly Bean just yet, so users may be waiting before they can get perfectly smooth playback in apps like YouTube and Netflix.
Other than that, you’re getting the full AOSP experience, with the ROM compiled from the latest source (4.1.1). Google were keen to point out the new features at I/O which included Project Butter, introducing frame buffering and VSync for dramatically improved performance and fluidity throughout Android. Google Now, meanwhile, acts as a personal assistant that will monitor your habits and surroundings while serving up relevant information such as the weather or local transit points. Notifications have also been improved, and some mild UI changes have been made.