I have Amazon Prime, which needed to be extended, so instead I bought the unlocked phone with free same day in the Phoenix area yesterday. got my phone last evening (11/26). After unboxing, I didn't want to root it, so I followed the kindle fire forums to install (sideload) google play.
and Voila I have Google services, Play store, Gmail, youtube, maps, drive and Google now launcher -
and without any problems
- Just follow the steps on the kindle forum or how-to-install-google-play-on-kindle-fire - on epubor site / gizmag
Guide 1: http://www.epubor.com/how-to-install...ndle-fire.html
Guide 2: http://www.gizmag.com/how-to-install...-hd-hdx/30736/
First and foremost - don't upgrade/downgrade the OS (I got the phone with Fire 3.6.8 - which corresponds to Jellybean)
Make sure the Play store version matches the Kernel version for the Jellybean 4.2.2 - remaining services can be latest I think
Temporarily Disable 2 factor authentication on Google login via browser (where Google asks you your phone etc)
1) Enable Non Amazon app installation from Settings -> Applications
2) Install ES2 file explorer or any file viewer from Amazon App store (you can also install some batch APK installer apps)
3) Copy the Apks from the link above (see my attachment)
------ Google Service Framework
------ Google Login Service
------ Google Play Service
------ Google Play Store
(Skip Vending .apk as it has been superseded by play store)
4) Reboot after each apk above - allow Fire OS to acknowledge google login if prompted
5) You should see Google Play properly logged in to your google account - install gmail, youtube, drive, google search etc.
(Optional) If you hate the Amazon Carousel, Install Google Now launcher) - See last screenshot. There is another forum post where you can upgrade the carousel icons on sideloaded apps so that they appear large.
Once you have Googlify or Androidify the Fire phone, it actually runs pretty nice.
Fire Phone shortcuts:
Android Back button -> Swipe anywhere from bottom edge of visible screen
Android Home Button -> Single press main button
Android Task Switch -> Double press main button (I miss the close all apps shortcut here)
Voice Search -> long press main button (I wish this could be made to Google Voice search in 1 step)
Device Search -> Swipe down and use the search icon there
Android Menu -> Swipe from Left edge (in supported apps)
I ran Antutu benchmark and the phone performs pretty decently - compares to 1st gen Moto X, Nexus 5, HTC one M7, Galaxy S4.
For $199 unlocked this is unbeatable for a decent android phone - with 1 year prime.
Attached: ANTUTU benchmark shows this phone better than Galaxy S4 but not as good as S5/HTC
I have AT&T so I will be getting my free upgrade next spring, which I can sell unopened for 600$ keeping this fire phone.