How to Install Google Play apps (Non-Amazon Apps) on a Kindle Fire (Updated 3/9/2013)
The stubbon MYTH that Kindle Fire HD tablets use only Amazon Store apps
Here are screenshots from Google Maps and Street View apps on my Kindle Fire HD 7"
Google Map of San Francisco Bay Area
San Francisco & Marin County areas
Via Street View app, here's the Presidio area.
A quick look at Yosemite Valley
(Click on an image to see the larger version.)
Will most large tech sites ever realize this?
(Originally posted Nov. 23, 2012, rev'd 3/8/13)
Is it possible that more than 3% of tech-site reviewers will someday discover that Kindle Fire HD tablets (7-inch (UK Kindle Fire HD 7) and 8.9 inch) are IN NO WAY limited to running only Amazon store apps?
I run into only a few (mainly Amazon Kindle Forum regulars) who realize how easy it is get the normal Google Play market apps at other appstores and who therefore do go get them when they're up (within a day or so) at those other appstore sites.
I always recommend though that people wait to get these from any sites (true for even Google Play market as well) until they've been up a few days and no one is having problems with malware, since Google doesn't take the time to vet apps as Amazon does, to test for both malware or incompatability.
Kindle Fire HD comparison reviewers almost automatically say that the Amazon tablets can use only Amazon apps and therefore should not be considered except by Amazon customers -- but this kind of statement can come only from NOT taking the time to check the normal Android settings.
One click on one settings box is all it takes.
It's much easier than most would guess. At the Top Row Toolbar of the Kindle Fire:
Swipe down to get Settings / More / Device / and then merely CHECK the box that says:
Allow Installation of Applications from unknown sources
That's it! Then you can go to other app stores that are recommended for apps that Amazon does not have, such as 1mobile.com, iapknew.com, slideme.org, iapktop.com, handango.com, m.getjar.com, and others, to find and download the app.
To install a downloaded app, use either ES File Explorer or Easy Installer from Amazon's Android App store (or, if you're not in the U.S. and aren't allowed to use Amazon's appstore, then from a place like the 1Mobile.com site, using their store app on your Kindle -- it's downloadable at the right side of the 1mobile's page). Above is a list of other app sites as well when the app is not available using the Amazon app store.
Easy Installer's only job is to hunt down your downloaded app-install files (*.apk), so it's very useful if you can't find, on your device, an app that you know you downloaded.
Important UPDATE - See later version of these instructions + an alert to NOT get the Google Earth update that came out mid-December and a link to get the much faster version just before that update.
Amazon's appstore should be supported though
Of course, if Amazon carries the app, it's best to get it from Amazon because they do a strong vetting of the apps they offer and because it's the way they make revenue from tablets sold at cost. I think it's important to support the Amazon Android app store, but I also think it's important that Amazon make more good apps available to us at a faster pace, and maybe they should have a suggestion box for the more popular requests.
An example of another app that regulars at the Amazon Kindle Forums have been getting and encouraging others to use as an alternative (sometimes with the recommendation of "Forum Pros" there)...
How to Install a Flash Player on the Kindle Fire: On Oct. 22, 2012, I gave some installation steps that included the need to to tick a checkbox to enable apps from other sources (as mentioned above) and listed step-by-step instructions on installing the Flash player function. This was in connection with an alternative browser (Dolphin) along with the one Adobe Flash Player file that is sure to work with later Android 4.x mobile systems that Adobe no longer supports for the future flash-players (tablets such as the Kindle Fires and the Google Nexus -- or is that Nexi?) :-)
Most won't need this alternate browser (unless wanting to watch network TV shows that are made available for those who missed a recent showing on TV) as I often do -- example: ABC's episodes.
UNLIKE Youtube, which supplies HTML5 coding for videos if you don't have a working Flash player, TV networks still tend to use Flash-only for their larger videos. They'll slowly change over, but until then, this is a very good workaround.
NOTE: With Amazon's Kindle Fire Silk web browser (no Flash player support on that), you can still reliably view the Youtube videos if you have your "Silk" web browser menu settings for Requested website view set to "Automatic" rather than to "Desktop," although some sites will then be of the minimal Mobile layout as a result. (The web browser Menu looks like the usual tablet menu rectangle with 3 horizontal lines, resembling an old washboard or an air conditioner.)
A GREAT normal Android feature that Amazon removed and should reinstate
This is a small rant.
I would like to use Amazon's Web browser more, but I use it less and less because they removed a feature that benefits eyes that don't respond well to smaller fonts.
One more reason I use the Dolphin browser is that the Kindle Fire HD default Web browser ("Silk") no longer uses a NORMAL Android feature that is a huge favorite of mine:
Normally, on Android tablets, when you encounter small web text and your eyes want fairly large fonts, you are able to use pinch-zooming of web text, enlarging the text area fonts to a point that the text runs outside the display-width borders as fonts expand to a larger size -- a graduated size that we can more easily read -- and, usually, when you double-click on that now-enlarged text, the text on the display WRAPS to fit the width of the text area while the fonts remain larger. It's a beautiful every-day Android feature on every Android tablets.
Amazon programmers dropped this useful feature (though it's available on the original Kindle Fire tablet).
It could be that someone 'reasoned' that Amazon offers a Reading View (which IS a great feature, but they then left it OFF the Menu!, counting on your noticing an eyeglasses icon and that you will know what it means).
However, Amazon's web-browser's Reading View has FIXED fonts so you cannot enlarge them to what is for many of us more comfortably-sized fonts the way the NORMAL Android Font-Enlarge and Fit feature will.
This was really a bad decision and I hope they bring back this normal Android feature. I think it's absurd to remove the option. It's as if the decision-team feels everyone's eyes should make-do with the Reading View's fixed-sized font, but it doesn't work well at all with web features like message-forum comments (this includes Amazon CUSTOMER REVIEWS) and so I just Exit Amazon's "Silk" ('Web') browser and use the Dolphin browser app as a result, maybe never going back to that product review page to maybe buy something.
Amazon, please return to making your product page comments easier to read the way any other Android tablet will.
I'll send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org in hopes that someone actually reads the feedback.
Amazon is due some high marks for the "other-sources" apps-decision
I hope that Kindle FIRE HD owners will realize that Amazon (unlike Barnes & Noble) allows its customers to install Android apps from OTHER ('unknown') sources and that is a BOON. Kudos to Amazon for having made this decision starting with the original Kindle Fire. It means that people might pay for apps elsewhere, so it's a risk for them. Make sure to use Amazon's app store when they have the app.
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