Kindle Fire is now the most popular Android device and also the second most popular tablet after Apple’s iPad (data by ComScore for Q1,2012).
Canadians coming accross such headlines in the media are often left wondering as to why a popular device like Kindle Fire is not available for sale in Canada.
Here is how some Canadians have expressed their frustration over this issue on Amazon.
I would buy Kindle Fire in a heartbeat. Amazon really needs to realize there is a market here in Canada that has not been tapped – Elizabeth Brackenreed
I would give up my iPad for a Kindle Fire, but since I cannot order the Kindle Fire, I will be sticking with my iPad – Montezuma
How to Buy Kindle Fire in Canada
The easiest way for Canadians to buy a Kindle Fire would be to contact anyone living within the geographic locations of the United States and ask them to buy a Kindle Fire for you.
You can either have the device shipped to your address in Canada or pick it up in person during your visit to the US.
Those who do not have friends or a relative living in the United States can make use of the following options.
Order Kindle Fire from Amazon’s international site and provide the closest UPS store in USA as your shipping address. You can then drive to the UPS store accross the border to pick up your kindle Fire.
The second option would be to make use of companies like Vpost, Borderlinx and Comgateway that can either buy Kindle Fire on your behalf or allow you to order Kindle Fire to their (third party) address.
Does Kindle Fire Work in Canada
Now that you have landed a Fire in your hands! – you for sure would like to make use of it, especially the free month’s trial of Amazon Prime that lets you stream free movies, music, videos and TV shows.
However, the bad news is that Amazon Prime does not work in Canada, and you will also be unable to download ‘Apps’ to Kindle Fire from Amazon’s Marketplace.
While some of you may say ‘What the Fish’, most people are generally left wondering:-
‘What else can i do with a Kindle Fire in Canada’ or ‘How can i use Kindle Fire in Canada’.
What Can You Do With a Kindle Fire in Canada
Regardless of whether you are in Canada, UK or anywhere outside of the US borders, you can put the Kindle Fire to good use and will be able to do the following:-
- Connect to internet using any WiFi network
- Buy/Read Books and magazines
- Watch Videos and listen to music
- Stream movies, music and TV shows to Kindle Fire from a home PC by using ‘Splashtop’ App, that lets you access any file on your computer via a WiFi network
- Download Apps from the Android Marketplace - As described below
- And, more in case you are determined to get the most out your $199
How to Download Apps on Kindle Fire in Canada
Amazon’s Marketplace for ‘Apps’ is limited to US residents only, which means that you will not able to download any ‘Apps’ to your kindle Fire in Canada. While this may seem frustrating, there some easy ways of downloading Apps to Kindle Fire.
- The system basically requires you to have a US address and a US credit card attached to your account. If you can manage the address part, it is not difficult to find a prepaid US Visa or Mastercards that is available for non US residents.
- Buy Apps with ‘Getjar’, ‘SlideMe’ or other Android Market Place sellers - as described below
- Side load apps to Kindle Fire – as described below
Downloading Third Party Apps to Kindle Fire
Kindle Fire by its default settings is limited to Amazon’s Market Place for ‘Apps’. In order to download apps from third parties you will first need to configure your Kindle Fire to recieve/install third party applications.
Here is how you can do that in Six Easy steps
1. tap on=> “settings” icon on your kindle Fire
2. tap on=> ’more‘ =>
3. Scroll down and tap on=> ’device‘
4. Scroll down to ”allow installation of applications”
5. tap on =>”ON” to allow installation of applications from unknown sources.
You will see a security warning on kindle Fire, which you need to ignore (at your own risk!) in case you want to install Apps.
Your Kindle and personal data are less secure and there is a risk of unexpected behaviour when using applications from unknown sources. You agree that you are solely responsible for any damage to your kindle or loss of data that may result from using these applications. – Amazon
6. Select ‘Web’ on Kindle Fire and go to www.getjar.com
On this website you will be prompted to install ”getjar.apk” which you should install, and you will be able to freely download any ‘Apps’ that you require from getjar.com.
Side Loading Apps to Kindle Fire
The term side loading is used to describe the process of transferring Apps from other devices to Kindle Fire.
The basic idea is to download ’Apps’ on a ‘smartphone’ that has full access to Android Market Place and transfer the ‘Apps’ to Kindle Fire using steps listed below:-
- First, configure the Kindle Fire to allow installation of applications from outside sources by following steps 1 to 6 as described above
Download Apps to a Smartphone that has access to Android Market Place sellers.
Create a new folder on the SD card of smart phone, say “Goodies for fire”
Backup or copy the apps(.Apk files) into this new folder.
Connect the Smartphone to a PC and transfer the apps to a folder on the PC desktop
Connect Kindle Fire to the PC using a USB cable.
Now simply Drag and Drop the apps (.apk files) from your PC to Kindle Fire.
How About Rooting Kindle Fire
The term ‘Rooting’ is used to describe the process of gaining administrative access to Android devices, similar to ‘Jailbreaking’ associated with iPhones.
By gaining administrative rights you can potentially bypass the limitations imposed by the manufacturer and turn Kindle Fire into a full blown Android Tablet.
- Buy Apps from Android Marketplace – Not limited to those offered by Amazon
- Install the latest version of Android software – Ahead of Amazon which may hold back updates
- Improve speed, add new themes, edit Maps, calender, images and etc, etc.
The procedure for Rooting Kindle Fire is widely available on the internet and is meant for those who are tech savvy and comfortable tinkering with their devices.
A rooted Kindle will cut you out of Amazon Prime and software updates from Amazon. While this may sound scary, there is a way to unroot Kindle Fire and regain access to these services.
In case all this sounds too techy and bothersome there is Blackberry Playbook (100% Canadian) which is often available on Amazon at deeply discounted prices.