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  1. #1
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    Cheap Fire HD Tablets

    For those in the US (and maybe elsewhere?), Woot! (Amazon closeout "deal" arm) is selling refurbished Fire HD Tablets 7th generation (2017) for $USD20.00 for the 8" and $USD40.00 for the 10". Offer valid until 5/25 or gone. $5/$10 upcharge respectively to double the memory

    https://www.woot.com/plus/amazon-kin...cnt_gw_dly_snb

    I have a few of these laying around as LMS/Material UI's with the benefit of a quick browser. I have also bought and set them up for friends. I actually prefer the 8" (ease of handling, use in portrait), so for $20...

    What I do is run XDA Developers "Fire Toolbox" which removes the Amazon aspect of the tablet, adds google play, Nova Launcher, basically creating a "stock android like" experience. I then add F-Droid and Material apk. I also add a few simple widgets (like weather, sports scores) and a browser. I then basically have them laying around in listening areas.

    A couple notes, they come with a charger, but this gen is Pre USB-C. I have a USB-C -> micro adaptor handy at my charging locations. Also, the ones I have gotten in the past were "condition - very good. These are "good" so maybe (?) they will have some marks? Finally, they seem to be a little laggy at times, but only by today's standards.

    But for $20, you don't even need a case, as it would probably cost you more!

    Jim

    <edit - how this turned out, what I learned> - I know I might be walking the line regarding this being a sb forum and me posting about tablets, but its in the vein of using the tablets as UI/Kiosks running material. I wanted to post back to let you know what I learned, with a warning (see red).

    I received two $20 refurbished Fire HD8 Tablets (2017) for $20 each and they were in perfect shape. Turns out that they were an old Fire OS 5.x.x.x which is loosely, android 5. This is actually a good thing. Turns out my pervious fire tablets, an HD8 and HD10 were Fire OS 7.3.2.1, Also a good thing.

    The fire toolbox (XDA developers) can do so many cool things, but the main ones are - remove ad lockscreen, allow launcher change (I use Nova), Prevent over the air updates (which can revert your tablet to original Fire function), and allow the google play store to be added. This makes them "look like" stock android.

    Here's where the problem comes in (at least right now), and XDA has work arounds, but nothing solid - be warned - With Fire OS 7.3.2.2, Fire OS has thwarted the ability of all of the above (except google play store). Also, you can still hijack the launcher, but it will revert on reboot. See this thread: https://forum.xda-developers.com/t/w...#post-86826937. The worst being the OTA updates, you can customized but when fire pushed an update, your tablet is reverted (unless you confine the tablet to wifi, but not the internet).

    So, with my two 7.3.2.1 tablets, I blocked OTA updates in time, same with my refurbed 5.x.x.x. But for those that might buy new, the path to happiness might not without challenges or even possible.

    One other thing that I should report, with my 7.3.2.1 tablets, I sub'ed the nova launcher just fine. Works as a "look like" stock android. With my 5.x.x.x the launcher can only be "hijacked" (same with 7.3.2.2 - but doesn't survive reboot). This is the experience of a hijack - you press home and the Fire Launcher appears, but will revert to nova either with a icon press, or after 5 seconds.
    Last edited by Redrum; 2022-06-08 at 04:07.

  2. #2
    Senior Member agbagb's Avatar
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    That's a great deal! Though I'm not seeing it here in France..... I love my little Fire pads, especially de-Amazoned as you mention. But, for me, that old USB connection issue is a No, even at that price - I'm fed up of finding adaptors for people who keep losing them!

    BTW, that Fire Toolbox looks very useful - not come across it before. I've always hacked my Fires the long way round, but this looks far more convenient. Occasionally a Fire update will defeat my hacks, meaning I have to do the whole thing again - Fire Toolbox looks a quiker way of achieving this.
    Last edited by agbagb; 2022-05-21 at 01:49.
    8.2.1 - 1639114554
    Win11
    Control: Web GUI; MaterialSkin on Android phones / pads

    Machines / devices are in France, in two locations.
    a) Livebox 6
    Internal HDD (FLAC music; mp3 voice), LAN Desktop
    3 x Touch - 1 wireless, 2 LAN. (8.0.1-r16862)
    2 x SB Radios [wireless] (8.0.1-r16881)
    2 x SqueezeAmps

    b) Freebox
    External SSD, WiFi Laptop
    1 x Touch LAN (Firmware:8.0.1-r16862)
    2 x SB Radios, Wireless (8.0.1-r16881)

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by agbagb View Post
    That's a great deal! Though I'm not seeing it here in France..... I love my little Fire pads, especially de-Amazoned as you mention. But, for me, that old USB connection issue is a No, even at that price - I'm fed up of finding adaptors for people who keep losing them!

    BTW, that Fire Toolbox looks very useful - not come across it before. I've always hacked my Fires the long way round, but this looks far more convenient. Occasionally a Fire update will defeat my hacks, meaning I have to do the whole thing again - Fire Toolbox looks a quiker way of achieving this.
    Maybe we need to glue the adaptors into the fire tablets? I know what you mean, but even the newer fire tablets with usb-c are reasonable (especially the 8") because amazon is selling you "ad machines". I have bought the little C->micro adaptors with a tether so they are hanging from the charge chords.

    My plan for the cheap ones. I have non technical friends that I have deployed picore server/sb player systems to, and unfortunately (for me) they are apple/mac people. So my phone support is difficult, even in person is challenging. So my intent for a few of these cheapies I bought is to set them up with all of the picore, lms UI, lms settings urls bookmarked, a few apps (wifi analyzer, weather, etc) and the material apk installed, and say "here, you owe me $25" (or dinner). Not only will they have the wonderful material ui to use, my tech support is in android and my life is easier

    Jim

    PS - there is a setting in fire toolbox that inhibits auto amazon updates, and it's these updates that will undo the "customization". The nice thing about toolbox is the developers are all over it (just like here) and any new wrinkle is addressed in a new version.

  4. #4
    Senior Member agbagb's Avatar
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    I wonder if I can overlay Fire Toolbox on top of the individual APKs, Launcher, Nova etc etc that I've installed? Or would I have to do a clear / reset, and start again?
    8.2.1 - 1639114554
    Win11
    Control: Web GUI; MaterialSkin on Android phones / pads

    Machines / devices are in France, in two locations.
    a) Livebox 6
    Internal HDD (FLAC music; mp3 voice), LAN Desktop
    3 x Touch - 1 wireless, 2 LAN. (8.0.1-r16862)
    2 x SB Radios [wireless] (8.0.1-r16881)
    2 x SqueezeAmps

    b) Freebox
    External SSD, WiFi Laptop
    1 x Touch LAN (Firmware:8.0.1-r16862)
    2 x SB Radios, Wireless (8.0.1-r16881)

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by agbagb View Post
    I wonder if I can overlay Fire Toolbox on top of the individual APKs, Launcher, Nova etc etc that I've installed? Or would I have to do a clear / reset, and start again?
    good question, one that might be answered over on the xda forum?

    Since it is not returning the tablet to stock android, just removing some things, and unlocking others (add play store, etc), perhaps it "might" work?

    Maybe you could backup your current state, give it a try, and restore if it goes bad? Or, just ask over there

    Jim

  6. #6
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    Would there be any negative consequences to having a Fire device permanently plugged in, i.e. on constant charge?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by coyrls View Post
    Would there be any negative consequences to having a Fire device permanently plugged in, i.e. on constant charge?
    none that I can think of. Of course we have all charged a device for days until next time we have used it, right?

    I have thought of building a pi player and using the tablet as a display instead of, say a pi touchscreen. But I haven't thought it through. I know that you can go (tablet) settings->developer options and enable "stay awake" if you wanted a continuous display. But, it would be nice if it could stay awake, but go into a screensaver when not playing. Again, I have not thought it through...

    Jim

  8. #8
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    Yes, I've been thinking on the same lines. It should only be a button press to turn the screen on and off and you could leave Material Skin constantly on the display with no screen time out.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redrum View Post
    none that I can think of. Of course we have all charged a device for days until next time we have used it, right?

    I have thought of building a pi player and using the tablet as a display instead of, say a pi touchscreen. But I haven't thought it through. I know that you can go (tablet) settings->developer options and enable "stay awake" if you wanted a continuous display. But, it would be nice if it could stay awake, but go into a screensaver when not playing. Again, I have not thought it through...

    Jim
    Material skin has a screensaver in settings.

    Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by slartibartfast View Post
    Material skin has a screensaver in settings.

    Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk
    of course! Craig and the community have thought of everything... I should have known...

    Jim

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