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N2Aos brings KitKat to Kindle Fires

If you want to transform an older Kindle into a full-blown Android tablet, all it takes is a few taps and $20.


Earlier this year, N2A Cards offered Nook tablet owners the option of deploying Android 4.4 KitKat, effectively leveraging Barnes & Noble's sweet hardware for a more traditional tablet experience.

Now Kindle owners can get in on that action. N2Aos, the company's Kindle-oriented offshoot, now offers KitKat for Kindle Fires. Previously, the best that Amazon tablet owners could hope for was Jelly Bean.

This version works much like that one: Connect your Kindle to your PC, run N2A's compatibility checker, then download the installer and sit back while it does its thing. The entire process should take no more than about 10 minutes, after which your Fire is transformed to a KitKat-powered tablet. It's that simple.

This distro is available for the original Kindle Fire, the first-gen Fire HD, and the first-gen Fire HD 8.9. The company is working on support for the second-gen Fire HD and the Fire HDX models.

It's worth noting that N2Aos doesn't create a dual-boot situation like the N2A Cards do with Nooks. Rather, it wipes anything and everything on your Kindle Fire, though obviously you can restore most of it (books, music, etc.) via apps. That said, if you're heavily vested in Amazon's ecosystem -- especially Amazon Prime -- you may not want to go this way.

On the plus side, there is a workaround that will allow you to stream Amazon Prime movies and TV, as described on the company's FAQ page.

Also, if you decide you don't like N2Aos, the free Restore2Stock utility will put things back the way they were.

My take: If you have an older Kindle Fire you're not using much, either because you found it limited or didn't like Amazon's UI, N2Aos can give it a quick and easy KitKat makeover. The upgrade costs $19.99 (direct download or by mail), though if you have the previous version, it's $9.99.