Kindle Fire 'rooted' as Amazon releases source code

The Kindle Fire tablet's source code has been released by Amazon, enabling homebrew hackers to replace its built-in software with their own third-party Android builds.

Priced at a relatively inexpensive $199 in the US, the Kindle Fire is a tempting prospect for any potential tablet buyer looking to get their hands on a decent hardware spec but without the cash to splash out on an iPad 2 or Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

What many budget buyers want to do, however, is change the software so that they can add features to the bookseller's currently locked-down device - and that has just become one step easier, thanks to Amazon releasing the Kindle Fire's source code.

HP's massively cut-price TouchPad received a port from its native webOS operating system to Android 2.3 Gingerbread, courtesy of hacking collective CyanogenMod (you'll find full instructions on how to install the CyanogenMod port here at our sister site, ITReviews.com). Soon, it seems, it could be the Kindle Fire's turn for the homebrew treatment.

The Android OS on which the Kindle Fire runs is based on open-source code - a licensing requirement of which is that they release any code that's based on the original. Often, companies drag their feet over this release, hoping to give their proprietary software time to find a fanbase. Not so Amazon, which has outed its source code just weeks after the Fire launched. You can download the source code here.

To install new custom Android ROMs on the Kindle Fire, it's necessary to 'root' the device, allowing full access privileges over its hardware. Thankfully, that has has already been done - paving the way for a host of homebrew efforts to expand the tablet's capabilities.