How Will Tablets Affect My Kids?

I wondered if I was making the right decision. I didn’t know. Amazon was having a Prime Day. There were going to be sales. My wife said she wanted tablets for the kids. I bought 3.

What effect would it have on the family? Would they ever talk to me again? How would we keep them from breaking them? How would we keep them safe online? I didn’t know.

I’m an IT guy, but I wasn’t looking forward to setting up 3 tablets at once (one Mini iPad and 2 Kindle Fire HDs for Kids). I didn’t setup any of them. My wife did it. That was nice.

What’s changed? My oldest daughter now texts me throughout the day. She asks me weird questions like, “How we will survive when the inventors starve us?” and “How was your day?”

My second oldest daughter Skypes with her friend in Chicago and sets the tablet next to the computer while she’s playing Minecraft. She already has a webcam. I’m not sure why she does this.

Kindle Fire HD Kids ReviewMy oldest son likes downloading books and games to read. Books, movies, and TV shows are included in Amazon Prime on the Kindle Fire HD for Kids and parental controls are great.

Longer movies can be downloaded to view offline while in the car, but we limit their time on the tablets and have them locked via a pin code. We can also set it to turn off at a certain time of night.

When I came home from work today, the kids were sitting around the dinner table eating pizza and my oldest son showed me his favorite game: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Nice.

I have no delusions about them somehow becoming smarter or more tech savvy from having the devices, but I have noticed it’s dramatically changed how they interact with the world.

My son takes pictures with his Fire and shows me a slideshow. I get to see the world from his point of view and see the pride he has in presenting me his work. “That’s the best one!” he says.

They still greet me when I come home and hug me before they go to bed, but they also come over just to ask me to unlock their tablet (versus asking me for my phone when I get home).

When I was growing up we had Nintendo and VHS tapes. This is the same thing, replaced instead by apps and instant video streamed over the Internet. Ok, it’s actually quite different.

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New Kindle Fires Sparks Interest in Google Maps App Post

My Map Strings web site has made $6.50 in ad clicks this month vs. ‘nothing’ most months (a 22,000% increase). I’m assuming this has something to do with Apple maps, but let’s look at the data:

Visits started going up Sep 5 and peaked on Sep 6 at 42 visits a day, but averaged 30 a day for the next 20 days. Most keyword searches are for ‘google maps for kindle fire’ or some variation. How To Run Google Maps On the Kindle Fire is the top content post, making up the majority of the traffic.

So I guess it has nothing to do with Apple maps, but what would cause the increase starting on Sep 5th? Maybe this stuff:

So apparently Amazon had a meeting on September 6th and announced two new Kindle Fires and because the Kindle doesn’t natively come with Google Maps (or Apple Maps) my nifty guide on how to manually add it seemed to resonate with people. If you’re interested in the new Kindle Fires, details below:

The Kindle Fire HD is $199 and comes with a 1280×800 HD display, Dolby audio, dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi for 40% faster downloads and streaming (compared to iPad 3), and a 1.2 Ghz dual-core processor with Imagination PowerVR 3D graphics core for fast and fluid performance. It has integrated support for Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo! and more, as well as Exchange calendar, contacts, and email. But here’s the kicker: free Skype video calls with front-facing HD camera and free unlimited cloud storage for all your Amazon content. Wowsers.

Here’s the bottom line: if you’re looking for a media device that can deliver Amazon content like Amazon Instant Video, you can’t get that on an iPad. This is where it works best.

How To Run Google Maps On the Kindle Fire

The new Amazon Kindle Fire is a full-blown Android tablet for only $199. However, by default, Google Maps is not installed and neither is the Android Market, but this doesn’t mean you can’t install Google Maps – you just can’t do it from Amazon’s App Store.

The workaround is to use an Android phone which can access the Android Market.

And the best part? You don’t need to “root” your phone or Kindle Fire tablet to do this PLUS Amazon doesn’t oppose adding apps in this way (like Barnes and Noble did initially with the Nook Color).

The Kindle Fire can install any app in the standard Android APK format and you can find APKs scattered around the Internet on various sites, but it’s recommended to only use the ones found in the Android Market to avoid infecting your phone or tablet.

Next, we’ll explain how to move any Android APK app from an Android phone running Gingerbread (Android 2.3 – check your system settings to know for sure) to a Kindle Fire.

7 Steps to Installing Google Maps on the Kindle FireGet the Google Maps App on the Kindle Fire

  1. Using Astro File Manager on your Android phone, change the Preferences of the Backup Directory to “/mnt/sdcard-ext” or “/mnt/external-sd” or “sdcard”, whatever the MicroSD card is called. Click OK twice, then Back three times.
  2. Still in Astro File Manager, click “Application Backup” then select Google Maps and any other apps you want to move to the Kindle Fire. Click Backup. The Android APK files have now been copied to your external MicroSD card.
  3. Now hook your Android phone up to your PC using a USB cable. Open the drive which appears on your PC, and look for the “backups” folder. Open the “apps” folder within backups. Copy all the APK files from there onto your PC.
  4. Now pick up your Kindle Fire and browse to the Appstore for Android to download “Easy Installer” from INFOLIFE. Don’t worry, it’s free.
  5. Plug your Kindle Fire into your PC using a USB cable and when it’s drive appears on your PC, copy the Android APK files (Google Maps and whatever else you copied) into it.
  6. Now disconnect the Kindle Fire from the PC and open Easy Installer in Apps. You will be able to choose an app to install from a list of the APK files you copied.
  7. Choose Google Apps and any other apps you want to install and click, “Install Selected Apps.” You now have Google Maps installed on your Amazon Kindle Fire!