How To: Install Amazon’s Silk browser on all Android devices [Android, Root Required]

With the Kindle Fire, Amazon introduced their Silk browser, a browser that utilizes the power of cloud technology to make web surfing faster. Officially Silk is only available on the Kindle Fire; but it was only a matter of time until devs (call them hackers, if you wish) over at XDA-Developers ported it to other Android devices, phones and tablets. That time has arrived.

Disclaimer: This is an unofficial port of Amazon Silk to non-Kindle Fire Android devices. Use this port at your own risk. dotTech and Ashraf are not responsible for any gain or loss incurred.

What Is Silk?

Silk is a web browser by Amazon that processes web pages on Amazon’s AWS (Amazon Web Services) servers and then serves cached pages to your device. By doing this it makes web browsing faster — serving you cached pages is faster than allowing your local device to process the pages — and saves users on bandwidth, since cached pages are typically smaller than normal pages. Silk is similar to Opera Turbo, except Silk uses Amazon’s vast cloud computing network.

Of course there are privacy concerns with Silk: Amazon literally receives your whole web browsing history. For what it is worth, Amazon has stated they store URLs in aggregate form (not connected to any specific device) for up to 30 days; and they will never sell this information to third-parties. Furthermore, HTTPS traffic is not routed through Amazon’s servers and you have the option to disable the rerouting of traffic through AWS if you wish to use Silk as a normal browser.

More information on Silk can be found on Amazon’s Silk FAQ page.

How To Install Silk On Your Android Device

Before you try to install Silk on a non-Kindle Fire Android device (this works for all non-Kindle Fire Android devices) take note that your device must be rooted and you must have access to a root file explorer. If you have not rooted your device, click here for a guide on how to root; if you don’t have a root file explorer, check out File Expert — it is a free file manager that can get root access.

Once you have a rooted device with a root file explorer on it, do the following to get Amazon Silk on your Android device:

  • Download this file (8.95 MB) onto your computer.
  • Unzip the download and copy the /System/lib and /System/App sub-folders (and all the content in them) to internal/microSD storage on your Android device.
  • Using your root file explorer, move the contents of the lib folder (the one you placed in your internal/microSD storage) to the /system/lib folder on your Android device. (/system/lib is an Android system folder, so you will need to grant your file explorer root access.) Set the permissions of the files you just moved the same as all the other files in that /system/lib folder.
  • Install (sideload) all the APKs from the App folder (the one you placed in your internal/microSD storage).
  • Using your root file explorer, go to the /data/app folder on your Android device. Find the APK for Silk and copy it to the /system/app folder on your Android device. (Both /data/app and /system/app are Android system folders, which is why you need to make sure you are using a root file explorer.)
  • Reboot your device.
  • Enjoy.

[via XDA-Developers]

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  • anonymail

    Tried to port it to my Nook Color (rooted) but there is a parsing problem.
    Hopefully the devs will keep at it.
    Also, there is a growing list of compatible devices here:
    Thanks Ashraf!

  • Emrys

    @tejas: No problem here…I just advise extreme caution on a primary device and recommend experimenting on a disposable device. No insult intended. If you try it, let me know what happens. Post here…I will keep the thread open. Best wishes.

  • tejas

    @Emrys: @Ashraf’s Neighbor:
    Both of you need to chillax. :)

  • Emrys

    I downloaded an update from LG (the company who made the phone) and it quit ringing and answered calls all by itself. So even software from proved sources can screw up an android. Thus rooting it and using this type of thing I think is only asking for trouble. As it was my carrier fixed it free of charge. I doubt they would be so kind had I rooted it and fouled it up myself. I look at these programs requiring root with a very jaded and jaundiced eye I won’t touch them. Good luck if you do.

  • Ruchir

    @Ashraf’s Neighbor:

    A perfectly honest man can never commit a questionable thing,however trivial it maybe.I will think 1000 times before writing a good or absurd question in many ways

  • Ashraf

    @Ashraf’s Neighbor: No. This isn’t a review. It is a how to guide on how to install it. I never commented on the quality (or lack thereof) of Silk in the article, I simply told what it is and how to install it.

  • Ashraf’s Neighbor

    Ashraf, have you used this browser yet? If not, why write an article on UNTESTED software?