Hello all. If you are like me and demand customization from your digital products then you must have wondered how to change the Lock Screen background, and maybe the interface, to look more like an Android device on your Kindle Fire. I shall give you the secrets to both without the need to root. Also note that this is an epically long post but fast and simple when actually setting it up.
Note: Because I am not rooting the device, there is a caveat. You are not actually replacing the background images but overlapping them. Depending on what settings you use the stock images may pop up when you unlock your Fire. More details below.
What you need:
1. ES File Explorer from the Amazon App store.
2. The following APKs, you can us the following link of your PC to download:
For the ORIGINAL KINDLE FIRE ONLY. Will NOT work with Kindle Fire HD or Kindle Fire 8.9:
3. Some sort of image editing software (I use Photoshop but Gimp works and, if you're desperate, then MS Paint can work)
4. A computer and Micro-B USB Cable to connect the Fire to your Computer. (only if you are downloading from your PC/not emailing background pictures to yourself)
Step 1: Download and Install ES File Explorer from the Amazon APP Store. Without this App or another File Explorer/Manager you will be unable to run the APKs.
Step 2: Enable the Installation of Unknown APKs. Tap the settings at the top of your device and hit the "More" icon. Then go into "Device" and turn "Allow Installation of Applications" on.
Step 3: Plug your Kindle Fire into your PC and unzip the APK zip file. Inside are three APKs. You really only need one to change the Lock Screen image and that is tomaware.android.rotatingwallpaper file. The GO Launcher EX allows you to have an Android style interface which I will go over later. The last APK is Mobo Player. It's a media player I thought I might include for people who want to play more than certain types of avi files. I will go over Mobo Player in the Extra Section.
Place the APKs in an easy folder. I used the "download" folder.
Step 5: Install the APKs. If you only want to change the Lock Screen Background then only install the rotating wallpaper APK. Go into your ES File Explorer App and navigate to the folder you put the APKs in. You can run the APKs by tapping on them. It will ask you if you want to install the file. My Fire is doing well so there isn't a danger of killing your Fire, don't worry.
Congratulations, you've successfully installed the software required to change the Lock Screen and, if you decide to use GO Launcher EX, the main wallpaper. Now we need images for backgrounds. You will notice there was an image file in the ZIP file you downloaded. This image contains the boundaries for a Background image for Rotating Wallpaper. Here are the requirements: The image MUST be 1024x1024. The red lines indicate the out of bounds. Everything up to the outer edge of the red lines will show, beyond that will not show. The square section will always show. If you have an image editing software that allows for layers then you can use this image as a template to orient any images you want to use as wallpaper. If you are using Photoshop or Gimp then just put the included image in a layer above the image you want as a wallpaper and lower the opacity of the outline image an edit the desired image so you are happy with what will show. There are many Gimp and Photoshop tutorials rampant across Youtube already so take a look if you want to learn. After you have finished making your wallpaper/s, put it/them on your Kindle in the Pictures folder. I would even create a new folder called Wallpapers so you can keep any other photos/pictures separate.
Another tool you can use to resize or crop an image to 1024x1024 is http://www.online-image-editor.com/ which allows you to upload a picture and edit it before downloading the edited file. I recommend this for people who are wary of using a program like Photoshop or are not so tech savvy. The two controls you use are "Resize" and "Crop". Uploading a photo will give the exact size of the photo when you click Resize. I suggest taking the lowest of the two numbers down to 1024. If the picture is smaller than 1024x1024 then I suggest finding a higher resolution version of it but you can resize it to go up but it may become pixelated. Most images are not perfect squares so you may need to crop the image to become a square. First, if you adjusted the size via the Resize button, hit Apply before clicking on the Crop button or you will have to go back and redo the Resize. After you have applied any changes click on the Crop button. A red lined box will appear along with different numbers in the panel. Input 1024 into both "Width" and "Height" boxes. You can then move the box around to the desired location. After you are satisfied with where you want to crop hit Apply and it will crop it. Then you select "Save" and there you go, a cropped image specifically for your Kindle Fire.
Step 6: Now we need to configure Rotating Wallpaper. When you first open Rotating Wallpaper you will want to go into the Settings button. You want to turn "Delay on Sleep" and set the Rotate Interval. The Rotate Interval is what changes the wallpaper. This is where the overlapping occurs that I mentioned earlier. You see, when you hit the sleep button or let the Fire go into sleep, it automatically resets the default wallpaper. Rotating Wallpaper will force it out of the default after the interval time hits from when you put it to sleep. If you set it at 5 Minutes then, after you put it to sleep and the default wallpaper is set, Rotating Wallpaper will change the background image after 5 Minutes. Depending on how long you let your Fire sleep will determine how long you want to set the interval. I set mine at 1 Minute. I would suggest using 1 Minutes or 5 Minutes. Now you need to create a set. Click the "Add Set" at the bottom of the screen and name it. It will then bring you into a new set of options. You can use either "Add Folder" if you want multiple backgrounds changing every so often or "Add File" if you just want one background image at a time. You can create as many sets as you want and put as many or as little images per set as you want. If you are planning on using multiple images then I would suggest the 5 Minute Interval unless you put your Fire to sleep only to wake it up before 5 minutes are up. The last setting to think about is "Delay on Sleep". Others (thanks John N. Sims Jr.) have found it works best when this setting is off.
If you have only one wallpaper you would like to use at a time then I would suggest creating a set just for that wallpaper then setting the Interval time for 1 Minute. There is no transition animation if you have only one wallpaper and it will replace the stock images on the Lock Screen after 1 minute of putting it to sleep.
Ta Da! You have successfully made it so you have a custom wallpaper Lock Screen. The rest of this post is for those who want a more Android feel on the Fire. Note: You can set a Theme from GO Launcher but the wallpaper will not stick. Rotating Wallpaper and the Fire's default wallpaper override it every time. So, for Themes, pick a style of icons you like and not the wall paper.
*Note: you can theoretically use any UI except the original Fire UI but Rotating Wallpaper is absolutely required as it is the only program I have found that does override the original images persistently i.e. you don't have to change it back every time you turn on your Fire. GO Launcher is not "required" but a similar UI is.
Installing an Android style User Interface:
To make a more Android feel, you need to install GO Launcher EX. The default interface is an App called Launcher. In order to break free of the dull bookshelves and Carousal, you need to set GO Launcher as the default Launcher. This is simple. After you install GO Launcher from ES File Explorer just run it then hit the "Home" icon on the bottom of your Fire like normal. It will bring up a screen that asks you which App you would like to use as the default launcher and gives you "Launcher" and "GO Launcher EX". Simply select GO Launcher EX and Voila! Now when you hit the "Home" button it will bring you back into EX Launcher. Now for setup. GO Launcher has annoying defaults such as a 4x4 grid for apps. Tap on the "Settings" Icon (the list looking thing at the bottom next to the back icon) and then tap on Preferences. The first order of business is to make the App grid a little larger. Under "Screen Settings" are a few options, the one we are looking for is the second one down. "Grid Size" gives you the option to expand how many Apps you have per page. I set mine to 6x6 under "Custom Grids" Some people like larger App icons so play around with the sizes. The next thing we need to change is the "App Drawer" Grid size. The App Drawer contains every App on your device and it is also defaulted at 4x4. App Drawer settings are available from the main Settings menu. I set my App Drawer for 5x5. Play around. Next go into the "Operations Settings and make sure "Screen Rotation" is checked. Last go under "Advanced Settings" and make sure "Prevent Force Close" is turned on. Optional, you can turn on "High Quality Drawing" as well. Why not make use of that shiny, 1Ghz Dual-Core processor?
You can customize GO Launcher by holding down on a blank spot on the main screen and pick App, Widget or GO Widget to add to the screen as a shortcut. If you scroll your finger up, you go into an overview of the screens you have and can add more if you want. You can also customize the five launcher keys at the bottom by holding down your finger on one of them. You can change the shortcut to any App and you can change the icon after you pick an app. For example, my far left icon is "Email". I pick my Email app then I changed the Icon to fit the theme by tapping on "Choose Icon -> Theme's Icon. You can also scroll through the launch pad for up to fifteen shortcuts. Just hold your finger over the launch pad and scroll your finger across it to change the active set. Simple, right?
You can still access all the Amazon Media Apps from GO Launcher. Just add them to any page you have. I even added the "Launcher" app just in case I ever need to access the bookshelf interface quickly because finding your Kindle books is easier in the Launcher interface. You can get out of the Launcher interface by clicking the "Home" icon. Best part, unlike Rooting, Amazon Video Streaming services work just fine :D
Edit: I do need to make an amendment to this guide. I would suggest the wallpaper you use goes all the way to the edge of the entire 1024x1024 area. The red lines are for GO Launcher EX boundaries. I did not realize till after. For the Lock Screen, you need to add about fifty pixels to each side for it to completely cover the entire screen.
Thank you everyone who has contributed throughout this thread and those who continue to help others. Yes, I'm talking about you Michael E. Burk.