Emily
Brown

An IT manager’s guide to Fire OS management

Emily Brown

Aug 24, 2021

10 min read

Fire! Fire! Fire! Do not panic, nothing is on fire. We are just giving a warm welcome to the popular operating system from Amazon – Fire OS. Amazon’s Fire TV and tablets run on Fire OS. The Fire tablets are quite popular as educational and kiosk devices. Even if you have never heard of Fire OS, you must have heard of Amazon Kindle – the popular reading tablet. Fire OS management is closely similar to Android device management as the operating system is based on Android Open Source Project. Most of the apps that run on Android also run on Fire devices. You have to note, Fire OS is not the same as the Android operating system. In this blog, let’s have a look at the differences between Android and Fire OS and learn how to manage Fire OS devices with Hexnode UEM.

What is the difference between Android and Fire OS?

Fire OS Android
A forked version of Android developed by Amazon based on AOSP. A mobile operating system developed by Open Handset Alliance and sponsored by Google.
Fire OS uses Amazon’s services such as Amazon App Store and Amazon Maps. Android uses Google’s services like Google Play Store and Google Maps.
Android for Enterprise is not supported in Fire devices. Since Android for Enterprise is a service from Google, it is supported in Android devices.

Fire OS management with Hexnode UEM

Hexnode is a leading Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) solution that serves as a device management solution for Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, tvOS and Fire OS devices from a single portal. Not many device management solutions provide support for Fire OS management. Hexnode helps in managing Fire devices while also offering kiosk capabilities.

Why is cloud-based UEM the future of device management?

Enrollment and deployment

Before managing the devices, you have to deploy them. The first step to managing any device is to enroll it in the management solution. Hexnode UEM gives its admins a lot of options to choose from when it comes to enrollment. The admin can choose either authenticated or non-authenticated enrollment. In non-authenticated enrollment, the devices are enrolled without prompting for any enrollment credentials. This is the fastest method of enrollment for Fire devices. For authenticated enrollment, the user is prompted for the enrollment credentials that is previously shared to them by the admin. When the user fills in the credentials, the device is enrolled in Hexnode UEM. Let’s take a look at the different enrollment methods that a Hexnode admin can use.

QR code enrollment

Nothing is easier than simply scanning a QR code. Enroll the Fire OS devices by scanning the enrollment QR code you get from the Hexnode web portal.

Email or SMS enrollment

For authenticated enrollment, the admin needs to share the enrollment details with the users. Hexnode allows its admins to send the authentication details as an enrollment request via email or SMS. Once the user receives the email, they can go to the enrollment URL given in the email and use the credentials to enroll the device. The users can also enroll using their Active Directory or Azure Active Directory credentials or Google user credentials.

Hexnode UEM app

All enrolled Fire devices would have the Hexnode UEM app installed in them. The app enables the management of the device with Hexnode UEM. It is an agent app that is the bridge for all communication between the device and Hexnode. The admins can remotely set up configurations, execute remote actions like location tracking and even lock down the devices into kiosk mode.

UEM location services – A vital tool to secure your business

What are some features of Hexnode UEM app?
  • Remote view – Troubleshooting is easier when you can actually see what is happening on the device end. Hexnode lets its admins do exactly that with its remote view feature. In addition to the Hexnode UEM app, Hexnode has a Remote View app. If the Remote View app is installed with necessary permissions in the device, the admins can remotely view the device screen from anywhere as long as they are logged in to the web portal.
  • Location tracking – Track the location of the Fire devices with a single click from the Hexnode web portal. This feature is useful in the logistics industry to track a driver’s location. It can also be used to track the device location when the devices are lost or stolen.
  • Hexnode Messenger – Whether it is a chirpy holiday wish or a common instruction to your employees, you can use Hexnode’s broadcast messages to convey the message.
  • Compliance tracker – The user can check whether the device is compliant or not from the Hexnode UEM app installed in their device.

What is Remote Monitoring and Management and how does it improve enterprise security?

App management

The app management for Fire OS works in almost the same way it does for Android devices. You would not be able to deploy or install Managed Google Play apps in Fire devices since Managed Google Play services are a part of the Android Enterprise program. Hexnode admins can remotely install or uninstall applications, mark the apps as mandatory, deploy app catalogs and more.

Install or uninstall applications

As mentioned before, you can install or uninstall applications in managed Fire OS devices. When you push an install from the web portal, the user would get a notification from Hexnode UEM on their device – prompting them to install the application. Unlike Android, silent app installation is not supported at all in Fire devices.

Mandatory apps

Some apps are absolutely crucial to the working of the device. If these apps are uninstalled, it may defeat the very purpose of why the device is deployed. Hexnode lets you mark such applications as mandatory apps. If the mandatory apps are not installed on the Fire device, the device would be marked as non-compliant in the Hexnode portal. You can also configure settings so that you receive notifications when the devices go out of compliance. The mandatory app is not installed. What action can you take? You can push the app installation again to prompt the user to install the app.

Blacklist or whitelist apps

As Fire devices do not support Android Enterprise enrollment, blacklisting or whitelisting the applications would not hide the apps from the device. Just as in the case of mandatory apps, the devices with the blacklisted apps would be marked as non-compliant in the Hexnode web portal. The admin would also get the notification email if configured in the notification settings.

App Catalogs

Different teams need different sets of apps. How great would it be if you could define these groups of apps and then deploy it to different teams with a single click? Pretty great and that’s what the role of App Catalogs is.

How to use App Catalogs?
  1. Login to your Hexnode account.
  2. Create the App Catalog by adding required apps or app groups to it.
  3. Add this created App Catalog to a policy.
  4. Assign this policy to users or devices.

App Catalogs will appear in the Hexnode UEM app at the device end. The users can install the apps directly from the App Catalog.

Network management

Hexnode lets you push Wi-Fi configurations to your managed Fire OS devices. The users can connect to this Wi-Fi without giving the authentication password. This prevents the need for the users to know the credentials for enterprise Wi-Fi which gives an extra layer of security to the network.

Content management

Send files from the Hexnode UEM web portal to the managed Fire device. You can send images, videos, documents, PDF files and more. The files would be downloaded in the device without any user intervention.

What is Mobile Content Management and how does it shield your enterprise data?

How to deploy content from Hexnode?

  1. Login to your Hexnode account.
  2. Upload files to the Hexnode web portal.
  3. Configure a policy and add the files to be deployed in the policy.
  4. Assign the policy to the target devices or users.
  5. Save the policy.

Data usage management

Hexnode helps admins track the data usage of the enrolled Fire devices. This feature is very useful in enterprises as you can pinpoint the data-hogging apps and restrict the data usage. It helps in reducing the data expense without sacrificing functionality. For example, if a person spends too much time on Youtube, you can restrict data for just that app. You can also define an overall data limit. If the user exceeds that limit, then you would get notified.

What is Telecom Expense Management?

Things you can do with Hexnode

  • Define data limits.
  • Configure network restrictions like blocking Wi-Fi or mobile data or both.
  • Get notified when the user exceeds the data limit.
  • Notify the user when the data limit is exceeded.
  • Restrict data for users when the limit is exceeded.
  • Configure app-wise network and data restrictions.

Fire OS kiosk management

If you are not sure what a kiosk is, think back to when you ordered a burger in McDonald’s yourself from their self-service screens. Self-service kiosks aren’t the only use case of kiosks. You must have seen thousands of digital signage displays for advertisements. Kiosks are also prevalent in the education sector- with millions of students using tablets locked down into an educational app. Retail, healthcare, construction and logistics are just a few of the other industries where kiosk devices play an important role.

Hexnode allows you to convert your run-of-the-mill Fire OS device into a kiosk device. The Fire devices can be locked into a single app or a set of required apps. Hexnode’s Kiosk Browser restricts the user access to the web apps and the set of whitelisted applications.

To learn more about kiosk mode in Fire OS, check out our blog on Fire OS Kiosk lockdown software.

What is a Fire OS Kiosk Lockdown Software?

Other device settings

Hexnode lets you configure many device settings such as restricting the device camera, changing the screen orientation, configure password restrictions and more. You can also remotely track the device location, wipe or lock the device, use the Remote Ring feature to find a misplaced device and so on.

Note:

  • While Android device management and Fire OS management are closely similar, there are some marked differences:
  • Fire devices do not support no-touch deployment methods such as Android Zero-Touch Enrollment.
  • Separation of work and personal data is not possible in BYOD Fire devices, since they do not support Android Enterprise’s profile owner mode.
  • The device restrictions supported in Android Enterprise enrolled devices would not apply to the Fire devices. For example, blocking the flow of data between normal and work profiles would not make sense for Fire devices since they do not have a separate work profile. Other features like restricting volume settings, call settings and display settings are also not supported on Fire devices.
  • A common use of Fire devices is to lock them down into kiosk mode and use these kiosk devices for varied purposes. While using them as digital signages, Fire devices support the display of images while Android devices allow the use of both images and videos.
  • Features like Lock Task mode in kiosk is supported only for Android devices enrolled as a device owner.

If you have read so far, now you have an idea of Fire OS management. If you are familiar with Android device management, then you already know most of the things discussed here. To do is to learn. Start managing the Fire devices in your organization. All you need to do is to take a Fire device, login to your Hexnode account and try out everything we learnt today.

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Emily Brown

Reading is therapy and writing is healing...sincerely, a cool nerd.

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