Due to popular demand, here’s a how-to for those who want to install any Android apps on the Amazon Kindle Fire. For those who know a bit about Android, it’s really easy. To give you some context, although it runs on Android, the Amazon Kindle Fire only have access to the Amazon App Market, and not to the regular Android Market, which contains more applications. Just follow these easy steps – no “rooting*” involved:
1/ Get the apps
The most important part of this project is your ability to procure the Android app files, also called “APK”, because their file extension is .apk. Depending on how they were developed, they may or may not run on the Kindle Fire.
The easy way to get those files is to download them on another Android device which has access to the Android Market. From there you can use a file manager like Astro Files to perform a “backup” (or copy) of these apps, thus making them accessible for copy. In my case, the files ended up in \backups\apps on the SD card.
From there, connect your Android device to your PC and copy the files to you disk. You will transfer them later to the Kindle Fire.
2/ Copy the apps from your PC to your Kindle Fire
By default, the Kindle only lets users install apps from the Amazon store. This is mainly for security concerns, as applications coming from unknown sources have not been checked as thoughrouly for malwares. At least, that’s the idea. On the Kindle, go to Settings>Devices and set “Allow Installation of Applications” to ON
Connect your Kindle Fire as a USB mass storage device, and create a directory. I called mine MyApps, but you can use any name. Drag and Drop the .apk files from your PC to the Kindle Fire.
3/ Install the apps
To install the applications, you need a file manager than can open them and get the OS to take appropriate action. The default file manager won’t do it. I used downloaded ES File Explorer (free app) from the Amazon store, and installed it. From there, I just went to the directory where I dropped the .apk files and tapped on them one by one. Each time the OS will ask me if I want to install them. I said “yes” and I was done.
That was easy, right? Now, there are some caveats: as the new apps have not been installed from the Amazon store, future updates may not work. But that’s a bridge that you can cross when you get there, and maybe you don’t have to upgrade if you don’t need the new features. If you want to install the Android Market itself, you will have to root the Kindle Fire.
*Rooting: is the act of getting “root-level” access, or maximum administrative access so that you can install or remove any software that is compatible, without being limited by the original factory settings.
Next Story: Android Battery Life Easy Improvements