Law and Software

Chrome works fine on my low cost unlocked firephone. So does Gmail

[August, 2015] By Andy Bartlett. Filed under: amazon fire phone

I have Chrome on my Amazon firephone. I use gmail all the time. And I didn’t try to install google play services. I know there are ways to do it – but I don’t like the idea of installing rogue “copies” of key google services. Yawn, boring lawyer. I just sideloaded another android app store. I chose Mobogenie. There are others. Once it was on the firephone, I have never needed to sideload anything else.

First I downloaded Chrome. It just works. I tried some google apps, but they are wired into the play store services. This reminds me of Microsoft and their tie-in between the OS and Office in the 1990s. Maybe the Department of Justice will do something about this. I doubt it. But once I had Chrome, Gmail just worked – with a nice interface. I downloaded firefox and opera and tried gmail on them, and the interface was tacky. I did find that Chrome kept logging me out of gmail every few hours. That got tedious. So I downloaded Dolphin, which runs gmail as nicely as Chrome, and I have no more problems. Dolphin is now gmail for me. Gmail in a good browser.

[note: I could have done the same with their Silk browser. It also displays gmail nicely. Sorry Amazon I don’t want to use alternative tools just because you want to fight browser wars. I’m sure Silk is nice. But life is too short.]

When an app is in the Amazon store, I download from there. Otherwise from the third party store. EDx for example isn’t on Amazon, but is available elsewhere. Also Clio. Paypal Here. etc. Google maps works fine in Chrome too. Without the GPS tie-in of the app.

Can I live with Gmail in a browser – well – on my other android phone the gmail app has recently had real problems downloading recent messages into threads. Which is so frustrating that I had stopped using the app anyway.

The problem with the firephone – and Amazon’s fire tablets – has always been that they forgot their customers. The only people who suffered from their infighting with Google are the users. Well, maybe the big A did feel a little pain when they ended up with a warehouse full of unsold phones. Google does not have clean hands either, making sure their apps are tied to lock-in services. But once I realized I didn’t need those pesky services or the play store, just a good third party marketplace, I could leave Amazon and Google to their braindead corporate infighting and get to use a powerful unlocked smartphone for the price of a few lattes.

Unlocked means I can go with good value resellers rather than the big telecoms. I use usmobile and have a $10 a month cellphone bill. And when I went to the UK a couple of months ago, I just replaced the nano sim with a free PAYG sim from over there. What’s not to like. Sure if you were buying it over two years on a contract from your favorite cellphone co it is not a good deal. If they are going to lock you in, you’d rather be in jail with an iphone than a firephone. But as a device that sets you free, it’s a steal. Except that they’re now all sold out and unavailable.

I forgive Amazon, because they bundled a year of prime. Google made a joke of do no evil. More fool them.

Leave a Reply