Using your Fire Tablet as a Controller

I’ve written previously on the Amazon Fire TV Stick and several other of their home devices, including the Echo Dot. Although this blog is about Stick Computers and TV Boxes, as any owner of these devices can tell you, there’s plenty of opportunity to interface with your mobile devices. A phone or tablet paired with a TV Stick is a powerful combo.

Like many early adopters, I can get stuck with equipment that is rapidly obsoleted as companies rush to resolve first gen issues. I have a first generation Fire TV Stick, and aside from the abysmal control the navigation ring provides, it’s also lacking voice control input. Since it leaves a lot to be desired, I’ve tried various controllers and hybrid solutions to manage the Stick.

Unfortunately, the direct mapping of the keys is somewhat spotty. Newer controllers have added things like the Amazon Menu button, but most of the older controllers have no such automatic equivalent. Because of that, I’ve come to the conclusion that I either have to scrap the old stick and buy a replacement of the newer Amazon Fire TV with voice, or more simply, use the Fire TV controller for Android on my Amazon Fire Tablet.

To install the Fire TV controller, just open the AppStore and search. You can download it for free, install in seconds and be up and running in minutes. Once you have it installed, it’s simply a matter of pairing the device to your Fire TV (or TV Stick) and you’re ready to use it as a remote. The Fire TV will ask you to enter a security code to confirm the pairing.

The connection is over your existing Wifi, so it’s not chewing Bluetooth and it’s not going to interfere with 2.4Ghz connections. You’ll want to make sure that you have the same accounts on both your Fire TV and the Fire Tablet. This will simplify things from the get go.

The app itself mimics the controls of the Fire TV controller, with the familiar home, back, menu and player controls. These work exactly as you’d expect. The “pad” area takes a little getting used to. The mapping is not real precise, but it does work and you’ll find it especially helpful for scrolling through long content lists that you get on the home screen.

It also supports Voice input. The voice input works pretty well for controlling basic functions and apps. I’m able to launch things like Pandora and Youtube with a simple voice command. On the downside, the voice control doesn’t work inside of apps like Youtube or Kodi, so it limits the functionality a bit.

The keyboard also has some limited functionality. It works great for search from the home page, but is not active inside, say Youtube. You have to use the track-pad functionality to enter text. It still works, and works faster than the mini-donut ring on the Amazon controller, so it’s worth a try.

In case you haven’t seen the Amazon Fire Tablet, here’s some quick Specs.

Amazon Fire Tablet w/Alexa 7″

CPU Quad Core 1.3Ghz
Max Screen Resolution 7″ touchscreen, 1024 x 600 resolution at 171 ppi, SD video, with IPS
Camera VGA front-facing. 2MP rear-facing HD
Disk 8GB
Battery Life Up to 7 hours
Wireless 802.11a,b,g,n
Bluetooth 4.0
Number of USB Ports 1 (Mini USB 2.0)
Dimensions 7.5″ x 4.5″ x 0.4″ (191 x 115 x 10.6 mm)
Weight ~ 11 ounces
Colors Black, Magenta, Blue, Tangerine
Audio 3.5mm stereo jack and integrated speaker

What Customers Say:

However, you are still getting an amazing 7” tablet, with front and rear facing cameras, a gorgeous interface, fairly snappy performance and durability, all for under 50 bucks.

It’s screen is a little lower in resolution but still pleasant to look at, it has enough power for most of the typical tablet tasks, and it shares many of the same features as its higher priced brothers such as front and back cameras.

The device meets all my expectations. Absolutely love it.