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  • Kindle Fire 8 as a Backup eBook Reader

    Posted on Nathan Parker Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support Non-Windows operating systems Android Kindle Fire 8 as a Backup eBook Reader

    This topic contains 12 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Nathan Parker 1 week, 1 day ago.

    • Author
    • #2008785 Reply

      Nathan Parker

      I currently own a 10.5″ iPad Pro, plus a Kindle Paperwhite. I do quite a bit of long-term reading on the Kindle Paperwhite, plus I do some reading and run some of my school apps on the iPad Pro.

      After upgrading my iPad Pro to iPadOS 13, I’ve had some issues with battery charging this week (battery wasn’t charging to 100%, plus draining on the charger). I’ve rebooted the iPad and tried another power socket, and I did manage to get it charged to 100% today, so I’m continuing to monitor it to see if the issue is resolved or if it re-surfaces (I’ve had a previous 10.5″ iPad Pro have a similar issue which was due to a hardware issue, so I hope this isn’t a hardware issue).

      With Black Friday/Cyber Monday coming up, I know Amazon will be having Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales. With the battery issue cropping up with my iPad Pro, I wonder if I should look at going ahead and investing in a low-cost Kindle Fire such as the Kindle Fire 8, mainly as a backup eBook Reader since there are some books I read on my iPad Pro that are not Amazon books (I use a few dedicated study apps such as Logos and Accordance).

      I wouldn’t be using this as an “iPad replacement”, nor would I be “switching” to the Kindle Fire as a dedicated tablet. I’m hoping my iPad Pro holds, as I love my iPad Pro, and I want to keep using my iPad Pro as my iPad. I am currently a Prime Student member, but I may be letting it lapse when it comes up for renewal, so all the Prime media stuff wouldn’t be a big deal.

      Here would be my main uses for the Kindle Fire:

      1. Run a handful of study/eBook apps that I also run on my iPad Pro as a backup eBook reader in case I have further issues with my iPad Pro. Since I’m in a PhD program, I constantly need to have access to my school books.
      2. Run a copy of my school’s video conferencing software (it’s on the Amazon store) as a backup in case I needed to access it from another device.
      3. Run a handful of troubleshooting apps for work, including a couple of weather apps (including this one if I can find out if it would launch on the Fire Tablet: Running this APK on a Fire Tablet).

      Here are a few questions I have:

      1. Most of the apps I’d run on it are on the Amazon store. There’s a couple of eBook reading apps from my school not on the Amazon store, but they are on Google Play. Is it worth installing Google Play on the Kindle Fire for those? If so, is there a simple way to do it directly from the Kindle Fire (since I don’t have a dedicated Windows PC)? Those eBook readers also have web app versions, so I could run them in a browser if that’d be simpler.
      2. Is there a way to install apps and their settings on an SD card, and if the Kindle Fire ever dies, could I pull the SD card, pop it into a new Kindle Fire, and keep going? That’d be a quick way to have backups of these apps I use for school and a quick way to keep going if it’d work.
      3. Should I run antivirus on the Kindle Fire? I have a Webroot license I could install on it.
      4. Should I consider this investment over Black Friday/Cyber Monday as an extra device for reading eBooks for my PhD program?


      Nathan Parker

    • #2008806 Reply

      Rick Corbett

      Hi Nathan, I started off with Samsung tablets (1 large, 1 mini) plus a succession of Kindles as each one was released. Then my partner bought me a Google Nexus tablet and – performance-wise – it blew the Samsungs out of the water.

      What drove me to distraction was the additional hoops I was forced to jump through to make Android and Amazon’s walled garden apps play nicely together (screenshots, copy/paste of text, etc.).

      Coincidentally I bought my Dad an iPad as he could no longer operate his Windows PC or laptop. The idea was that he could iMessage or FaceTime me (for free) any time of the day when he had a problem and I could pick it up on my iPhone. This worked so well that within a month I had bought myself an iPad Mini to carry around with me. The larger screen made it much easier to see my Dad on FaceTime.

      It was getting ridiculous carrying several mini tablets around with me so I started using the Kindle app on my iPad Mini as my eReader, with my Kindle as a backup. Within a week or so I realised I didn’t miss using either the Nexus mini tablet or the Samsung full-size tablet at all… and hadn’t used the Kindle once for reading. The iPad Mini did it all – eReader, video messaging, txt messaging, email… everything.

      Several months later I got rid of my full-size Samsung tablet, Nexus mini tablet and the Kindle to relatives… and bought a full-size iPad as well. I haven’t looked back except to thank the stars I no longer juggle diverse eco-systems and waste time trying to make them all play nicely together. Life is just too short.

      I still have to keep my hand in with various Android devices in order to support family and friends… but it’s a case of smiling and gritting my teeth. (I still have the Samsung mini tablet. It’s far better than my iPad Mini for Wi-Fi signal detection/channel mapping, etc… but that’s really all I use it for.)

      Only a month ago I tried (and failed) to get my nephew’s Kindle Fire tablets working with Plex so they could use them as remote film viewers to the Plex server running on their Nan’s laptop. I gave up in the end. The Amazon walled garden was too locked down to be easily worked with and I grew frustrated and impatient… (as did the 2 kids). Instead, I let them have 2 second-hand iPad 2s. Cheap as chips these days from my local auction house and both just worked within minutes… plus their parents have iPhones and iPads themselves so are very familiar with the iOS eco-system.

      Do you remember the fun and games you had with your Surface Book… and the realisation you were spending more time trying to get it to work as you wanted – and continue to work – rather than… just use it?

      I wonder if you will end up in the same situation – spending an inordinate amount of time trying to get a new device to play well with the eco-system you are so familiar with?

      In my opinion there is a huge advantage to sticking with what you already know just works for you. It’s difficult to quantify… except with the benefit of hindsight. πŸ™‚

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2008808 Reply

      Nathan Parker

      Good points. I remember you having a great experience with an iPad Mini (I keep forgetting the iPad Mini exists and only keep thinking about larger iPads). I should consider instead investing in an iPad Mini as a secondary iPad and backup.

      I could mainly install the apps I mentioned above on it and treat it as the same as I would have with what I mentioned with the Kindle Fire, but the extra advantage is since it is an iPad, my full catalog of iOS apps would be available to install anytime, so if my iPad Pro ever did bite the dust and I needed a backup fast, not only would I have an iPad Mini with my critical apps on hand, but I could easily install any other app my iPad Pro was running I’d need access to, as well as have all my iCloud data at my fingertips.

      The iPad Mini would be a great size for reading eBooks in classes, plus a good backup iPad in the event my main iPad Pro ever went.

      Additionally, I could always consider the low-end educational-priced iPad for a backup as well since it is close to the size as my iPad Pro, but with the Mini, I would then have two sizes, one super comfortable for reading, and one more optimized for work, and if I had to perform some work on the Mini in the event of a major issue with the Pro, I could.

      Nathan Parker

      • #2008815 Reply

        Rick Corbett

        I could always consider the low-end educational-priced iPad

        If you mean the iPad Gen 6… I bought one and have been thrilled with its power (and low price) in comparison to my Dad’s iPad Gen 4 (which my sister now has, as well as my previous Mini iPad 2).

        I have the advantage that I’m about a mile away from my nearest Apple store so played with one for hours before buying it. (I was in there anyway for one of their amazing ‘New to MacBook Pro’ tutorial sessions.) I think I remember from other posts that you’re some distance away from yours.

        I’m retired and dress casually. My iPad Mini 4 lives in the side pocket of my cargo pants… always available. As my eyes deteriorate I’m using it more frequently than my iPhone. πŸ™‚

        (I can’t justify the price of a new iPad Mini but there’s a local auction house that deals with new and refurbished IT kit – phones, laptops and tablets mainly – plus monthly auctions of lost and found IT kit from our local airport and Police. I bought my iPhone 6s from it 2 years ago – brand-new and unopened… and a *lot* cheaper than from the Apple store. It’s amazing how many laptops and tablets are left on planes. Of course they rarely come with power supplies [the ex-Police ones always have the HDD/SSDs removed] but they’re all available for viewing beforehand and the place has loads of spare power supplies for temporary power up. I’ve a few bids in for this months auction – several refurbished/activation unlocked iPad Pros plus some other tablets.)

        • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 2 days ago by  Rick Corbett.
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    • #2008820 Reply

      AskWoody Plus

      I have been using, both in my Mac and my Win 7 PC, the free software “Calibre” to set up a library that may consist of books in ePub, eBook or PDF format:

      At present I have it up to nearly fifty books, many downloaded for free from sites like the Guthenberg Project, for those that are out of copyright. Which, lucky for me, means most of the classics, such as Alice Through the Looking Glass, Macbeth, The Satiricon, The Thousand Nights And A Night (R. Burton’s), or The Tale of Genji.

      But there is liiitle problem with using Calibre on an iPad: one can’t do that. Instead one has to get an app called Calibre Companion that can be used to download, via WiFi, Dropbox, or iCloud to the iPad, books from a Calibre library in one’s Mac or PC. But this does not include a reader. For that one needs, it seems, yet another app — a reader (for only $4.99 from the Apple Store) — at least going, not by my non-existent experience with iPads, but by these articles:

      Well Nathan, I do not know if this helps you any, but it is all I can think of. Bottom line: with Calibre in my Win 7 PC and in my MacBook Pro (2015) I can read books in any of those three formats mentioned above.



      Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W + Mac&Lx

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    • #2009238 Reply

      Nathan Parker

      @Rick: Good points. The iPad Gen 6 does have excellent performance for the price. When my mother’s iPad dies, I’ll likely replace her’s with it. I should compare the performance to my current iPad Pro. If mine dies, I need to decide if I’d really need another iPad Pro or if a lower-cost model would work. I have the Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil, both which I believe the iPad Gen 6 support.

      I wish I lived closer to an Apple Store. I’d really make it easier to experience Apple products in person. Best Buy is close, but the products are more locked-down and harder to enjoy.

      I also found out that one of the study apps I use may be pivoting away from Kindle Fire due to the older Android foundation on which it’s built on, so I definitely believe a Kindle Fire would be a waste of money. I hope my iPad Pro lasts a while, plus I could possibly consider a lower-cost iPad model as a spare sometime, but the Kindle Fire would simply be blowing money for sure. Not worth the headache, and Amazon doesn’t need a “donation” from me.

      @Oscar I do use Calibre on my Mac to occasionally convert some book titles into the format for my Kindle Paperwhite. Most of the time I don’t have to convert much, but once in a while I do.

      I still plan to keep my Kindle Paperwhite for long-term reading. Some books I buy in Amazon format, other stuff I read my school library either allows me to borrow the books in Kindle format or download journal articles or book chapters in PDF format. I treat my Kindle Paperwhite as an “iPod for books” where I’ll store Kindle books or PDF’s I need to read for long-term reading on it. The Kindle is a more compact size I can take on-the-go if I need to sit and read for a while, plus the E-Ink screen is easy on the eyes for the amount of reading I do. I enjoy reading on my Kindle, then I use my iPad Pro for “study reading” when I need to search for stuff in class, pull up my class notes, etc.

      Nathan Parker

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    • #2009245 Reply

      Rick Corbett

      Rats! I was outbid yesterday on a 10.5″ 64GB iPad Pro (Space Gray, activation clear) that went for Β£170 ($220). I had visited on Tuesday and it looked in perfect condition… no marks and powered up in seconds.

      A refurbished one – exact same spec/colour – is currently Β£449 ($580) from the Apple store.

      I should have bid another Β£20. πŸ™

      Oh well, there’s always next month. πŸ™‚

      (I’m of the mind that iPads are pretty simple… they tend to work or they don’t. Any damage is usually very obvious and often simple to repair. For example, I bought a colleague’s iPad very cheaply when they dropped it and smashed the screen. A local store replaced the screen for me (after I waited 2 months for a special offer to be advertised) and I used it for 18 months before giving it to my brother.)

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    • #2009249 Reply

      Nathan Parker

      The issue with mine may be my power strip. Strangely, tonight when I had it on the charger, I occasionally would hear the charge “ding” without even touching the iPad. My power strip may be intermittently sending power. When I tried it in another outlet, that’s when it successfully charged to 100%. Going to move it to another outlet for a while in case there is something wrong with this power strip.

      The power strip is fastened into my desk, so it’d be a little bit of a pain to replace, but it should be possible.

      Nathan Parker

      • #2009258 Reply

        Rick Corbett

        Nathan – I don’t suppose you’re using a genuine Apple charge/data transfer cable are you? I’ve gone through so many of them that I no longer use them. At one point I was convinced that my charging port was damaged… but it turned out to be the Apple cable breaking down internally. πŸ™

        Have a look at this rather scathing ZDNet article about them.

        Hope this helps…


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        • #2009535 Reply

          AskWoody Plus

          the link is broken Rick


          Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
        • #2009557 Reply

          Da Boss

          FIFY πŸ™‚

          1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2009750 Reply

      Nathan Parker

      I am using a genuine Apple cable and charger brick (the USB C fast charging ones). So far, when I plugged it into another socket today, I didn’t hear the multiple ghost charge “dings”, plus the iPad charged to 100%, and using it today, the battery decreased normally. Will monitor over the weekend and see. I do have multiple charge cables (including a Nomad brand) if something seems to go awry with this cable. So far, it’s looking like the power strip may be the culprit. I’ve had the power strip ever since I’ve had this desk (about seven years), plus the power strip went through a massive power surge once, so it could finally be dying. I’ll have some fun tests over the weekend though and see if I can nail down specifics.

      Nathan Parker

    • #2015865 Reply

      Nathan Parker

      My iPad Pro continues to charge OK to 100% on the other outlet, so it must be the power strip I had it in that’s going bad (it’s about time for it to go). Battery life is slightly not as good on iPadOS 13 as it was with iOS 12, but that’s something Apple can address in an iPadOS update (it’s usable, but it does drain slightly faster).

      Short-term, things are going well with my iPad Pro. Long-term (maybe sometime next summer if I have some more time on my hands), I could consider an iPad Mini for reading and work a backup iPad, or even a low-cost education model iPad as a backup. Good news is I should have time to ponder over what I’d want or need to do there without needing to rush.

      I didn’t pick up a Fire Tablet on Black Friday, and I’ll definitely steer clear of Fire Tablets. I read up on the issues people have had with them with the reading apps I use on them, especially when the reading app developer phases out support for some releases of Fire OS. I would be getting into way too many issues than I’m willing to get into with one of those (it would be “Surface 2.0”). My Fire TV stick and eInk Kindle are different. I have legitimate uses of them as supplements to my iPad and Apple TV for specific use cases. A Fire Tablet would be more configuration and more mess than I want to deal with.

      Nathan Parker

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