7 days with the Amazon Kindle Fire HD: Revealing its inner power-tablet

Setting up Amazon's consumption device as a productive Android tablet isn't for the faint of heart.

By , ITworld |  Consumerization of IT, Amazon, Android tablets

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos holds up the new Kindle Fire HD 7" and Kindle Fire HD 8.9" (L) during Amazon's Kindle Fire event in Santa Monica, California September 6, 2012.

Image credit: REUTERS/Gus Ruelas

Out of the box, my Kindle Fire HD was far from the Android tablet of my dreams. At first blush, it seemed like nothing more than a front-end to Amazon's content ecosystem. The lack of any additional value or personalization options and the limited apps on the Amazon Store were jarring. Over the course of 7 days, I spent a lot of time with the device, trying to figure out ways to make it more than a shopping and consumption device. Along the way, I found some very basic (but important and sometimes well-hidden) settings as well as more advanced steps to make the Kindle Fire HD do what I want.

Day 1. Some basic settings

Setting up the Kindle Fire HD for the first time worked well: The tablet came linked to my Amazon account and all eBooks I previously purchased on the iPad Kindle app synced automatically.

If you use tablets primarily for reading eBooks or watching movies, you're in luck. The Kindle Fire HD does this remarkably well and easily. But since I use tablets primarily for browsing the Web, my first order of business was to set my default search and browse options.

Amazon has teamed up with Microsoft and set Bing as the default search engine on the Fire HD. Bing is fine, but if Google is your search engine of choice, you can set it as your default by firing up the browser, go to the menu icon, then go to "Settings". Tap on "Search engine" and change it to "Google". Done.

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