When is an update not an update? That’s something I wondered after the new Google Play Store update to Version 6.0.0 with its new layout arrived. As reported, this brings a new Play Store split into apps and content – and it runs fine on my regular Android tablet. But the changes wouldn’t show on my hacked $50 Kindle Fire.
As also reported previously, I’ve installed Google Play Store on my $50 Kindle Fire using the technique outlined in the XDA Developers Forum. So far, every app installed on the Kindle Fire via the Google Play Store has updated automatically without any hitches. This time, though, the new Play Store layout, dividing all Play Store items into Apps & Games and Entertainment, wouldn’t show on the Kindle Fire.
I’d been wondering if the Google Play Store and Google Play Services would update themselves on the hacked Kindle Fire, since getting them on there in the first place involves manually copying over .apk files for both. According to the version numbers available via the Manage All Applications menu under the Apps & Games section in Settings (interesting how close that name is to the new Google Play Store designation, by the way), both the Google Play Store and Google Play Services had updated to the latest version numbers: Version 6.0.0 for the Google Play Store, and Version 8.3.01 for Google Play Services. But the new Google Play Store wouldn’t show on the $50 Kindle Fire. What to do?
Luckily, the solution was very simple – and one familiar to most Android users. I just went to the Manage All Applications menu under the Apps & Games section in Settings on the Kindle Fire, found the Google Play Store app under All applications, did a Force Close on the app, and cleared its cache. A Google Play Store app restart brought up a colorful Material design splash screen welcome to the new layout, and then the new Google Play Store itself.
That’s the solution, then. But it’s worth keeping a close eye on any other areas where the hack used to install Google Play Store and the other usual Android goodies on the $50 Kindle Fire may cause Amazon’s cheap-and-cheerful tablet to slip behind the rest of the Android ecosystem. Google Play Store and Google Play Services in particular are key to keeping Android devices up to the mark. And as the Android ecosystem evolves, I hope all problems of this type have such an easy fix.