Apps and reading on the Kindle Fire HD 8 Part 1 

Although the tablet market is shrinking thanks to user dependency on 5.5" and larger smartphones, consumers can still benefit from affordable midsize screen devices such as the Kindle Fire HD 8, which are great for magazines and books. Although the Fire HD 8 isn't recommended as your primary Android productivity device, it's perfect if you read regularly or have a large collection of digital comic books, magazines, and PDFs of user manuals or scans of old books such as those found in

Selections from the Amazon Android Appstore and Amazon Underground

Talking about apps is tricky when it comes to Amazon's tablet products because it really depends on why you bought the Fire HD 8. Users expecting a productivity tablet comparable to the Samsung Galaxy or ASUS ZenPad series will no doubt complain regarding lack of access to Google Play Store. For productivity users, even the sum total of apps from Amazon's Android Appstore and their dedicated free repository Amazon Underground can be disappointing. On the other hand, casual users who love games and trivial apps will be more than satisfied with the selections.

More technically adept consumers shrug off the lack of Google Play access on the Amazon's Fire tablets. In fact, Android techs all agree that despite Amazon's efforts, Fire tablets are one of the easiest products on the market to customize and modify. Side-loading apps, removing Amazon restrictions and ads, and replacing Fire OS are pretty pedestrian tasks for Android enthusiasts.

Mainstream users who use the Fire HD 8 as a dedicated reading device, however, might want to try the following apps available on Amazon Appstore and Amazon Underground:

1. File Commander - If you regularly access Linux, macOS, or Windows machines on your network to transfer reading material, then File Commander is a great option. File Commander is available on Amazon Underground and is "actually free" but comes with ads. You can even use it to access FreeBSD-based NAS and consumer storage products such as the WD My Cloud.

For details on accessing the WD My Cloud using File Commander, refer to Accessing WD My Cloud using the Fire HD 8.

2. VLC for Fire - Users who complain about VLC for Fire probably aren't very familiar with the popular cross-platform multimedia app. As with the Windows 10 Mobile, Linux, and FreeBSD versions, VLC for Fire may occasionally struggle with rendering large or poorly encoded videos on low to mid-range hardware such as the Fire HD 8. However, it's still a great video app for watching your own ripped or converted videos. Moreover, a recent version of VLC for Fire supports Local Network access, which means accessing servers is easier than ever.

Note: As with its desktop counterpart, VLC for Fire can playback .iso video files. However, note that the ARM Cortex-A53 of the Fire HD 8 might have problems playing high-quality videos compressed into an ISO file and users may experience a noticeable lag in frame rate.

If you're not a fan of VLC in general, you can certainly use Amazon's preinstalled My Video app, or install EQ Media Player or MX Player, both of which are available on the Amazon Appstore.

Continued in Apps and reading on the Kindle Fire HD 8 Part 2


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