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Rooting Kindle Fire bricks videos

Sting in the tail for fondleslab tinkerers

Mobile application security vulnerability report

Kindle Fire users may have to damp their enthusiasm for rooting their devices: unless they’re prepared to chase up some other fixes and put up with some inconvenience, rooting the device kills video access.

The mini-fondleslab was rooted pretty much simultaneously with its launch, with a combination of the Amazon SDK, a suitable USB connection, and SuperOneClick 2.2.

Statements previously made by Amazon staff seemed to indicate the vendor was taking a fatalistic attitude to rooting, on the basis that “it’s going to happen anyway, why try to stop it?”

However, a reader complained to El Reg that video access is blocked on rooted devices: “it no longer lets me access any of the videos I purchased from Amazon or any of their Amazon Prime videos.

“I called customer service, and they verified that Amazon’s policy is not to let customers access their videos once they root the device.”

Wandering around Android forums confirmed this, but luckily for users, also provides the fix.

The problem, according to Phandroid.com, is that rooting the device creates a superuser binary as /system/bin/su and/or system/xbin/su. If the binary exists, the Kindle Fire won’t run video.

Phandroid.com offers the workaround of using an app called OTA RootKeeper, which backs up the root binary and temporarily “unroots” the device, allowing Amazon Video to run.

It is, of course, a little inconvenient merely to play a video, but better than having video bricked on the Kindle Fire.

That leaves the question of the apparent disconnect between Amazon’s statements to the media back in September. The Register has requested comment from Amazon.

Press reports notwithstanding, readers should still remember that both the warranty and various software license agreements are breached by rooting: you do so at your own risk. ®

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