Love it or hate it, the Amazon Fire TV’s home screen layout isn’t for everybody. If you’re looking for an alternative, a developer by the name of rockon999 has taken the old Leanback Launcher used by Android TV and made it compatible with the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. The Leanback Launcher for Fire TV isn’t perfect, but it’s an impressive first release that works better than any attempt I’ve seen before.
Many have tried to get Android TV’s home screen app, called the Leanback Launcher, to run on Fire TV devices in the past, but it has never been an easy task. Rockon999 has taken a very interesting approach that has shown great potential. Instead of getting the launcher to run as-is, he has decompiled the original launcher, stripped out troublesome components, modified others, and repackaged it as a standalone app.
Gone are the Leanback Launcher’s dependencies on Google Play services, which have always been a headache to get working on Fire TV devices. This means that rockon999’s launcher does not require the Fire TV to be rooted, but it also means that some components of the launcher, like recommendations, are not present.
Core capabilities, like listing apps, launching apps, and modifying the favorites row work correctly. The developer also managed to map the Leanback Launcher’s Bluetooth, WiFi, and notification buttons to the Fire TV’s default settings area.
This new Leanback Launcher for Fire TV isn’t ready to be a complete replacement for the Fire TV’s default home screen, but it’s a nice alternative way to display and launch your apps. You can install the app the same way you sideload any other app, such as using my Downloader app and entering
If you like the launcher app, rockon999 has provided additional instructions on XDA Forums to bake the app further into the Fire TV, such as an ADB command to make the notification counter functional. If you’re interested, Rockon99 also has instructions for getting additional Android TV components to work on Fire TV devices, such as the Android TV screensaver and Google’s TV search.