How To: Sideload apps onto Kindle Fire

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Without a doubt, the hottest (pun!) new tablet on the scene right now is the Amazon Kindle Fire.  At $200 it stands to reason that this device may become the best selling “Android” tablet of the year.  Given there are so many cool things we know about it, we can see why people are clamoring for one.  However, for we did know about the Kindle Fire there were plenty of things we didn’t know… Would we be able to sideload apps?  Do we have to root it?  Can we root it?

Thanks to one of our readers, Steve D, we can scratch one of those off the list.  Apparently it’s rather easy to sideload applications onto the tablet.

It turns out you just need to add the USB Vendor ID for the device into the file ~/.android/adb_usb.ini and then adb can find it.

It’s worth noting that these instructions are for Mac however cannot imagine the PC process being much different.[divider]

  1. On the Kindle Fire Settings screen, go to “Device” and turn On “Allow Installation of Application From Unknown Sources”
  2. Plug your Kindle Fire into your Mac.
  3. Open ~/.android/adb_usb.ini with your favorite text editor
  4. Add the value “0x1949” to the end of the file and save it.
  5. You’ll need to restart the adb server process to get it to re-read that file. Do that with “adb kill-server”.
  6. Run “adb devices” and you should see the attached device.
Now, if you’ve got an .apk you want to throw on there, just do “adb install myfavoriteapp.apk”. The app should now be shown on the “Apps” page when you select the “Device” tab (not “cloud”).

Proceed with caution – we’d hate to see you do anything to that new tablet!

Act Local Media

Order a Kindle Fire from Amazon.com

55 COMMENTS

  1. […] Amazon Kindle Fire forums Wanna sideload apps (or use ADB for any other reason) to your Kindle Fire via your computer?  It's really easy — just add the USB Vendor ID to the Windows ini file.  Even reading it seems more complicated than it really is.  On your Windows computer, press the Start button, then choose "All programs" > "Accessories" > "Command prompt" to open the text based command prompt for your computer.  Then copy the following line, and past it into the command w… Amazon Kindle Fire forums Wanna sideload apps (or use ADB for any other reason) to your Kindle Fire via your computer?  It's really easy — just add the USB Vendor ID to the Windows ini file.  Even reading it seems more complicated than it really is.  On your Windows computer, press the Start button, then choose "All programs" > "Accessories" > "Command prompt" to open the text based command prompt for your computer.  Then copy the following line, and past it into the command window: echo 0×1949 >> "%USERPROFILE%.androidadb_usb.ini Press the Enter key, and you're done.  What's it doing you ask?  It's adding the Vendor ID (0×1949) to the end of the Users%your_user_name%.androidadb_usb.ini file, so that the Android SDK tools can communicate with your Kindle Fire.  Doing it via the command prompt means you don't have to make hidden and protected files viewable, and it has a little bit of nerd factor to make you smile inside. Once you've done that, enable Unknown sources in your Fire, connect it to your computer, and you can install apps just like you would with any other Android device.  For more help on installing and setting up the Android SDK, visit the forums.  Source: ACT Local Media (Mac instructions are there) via Android Guys […]

  2. […] The Amazon Kindle Fire is a pretty sweet tablet option for the budget conscious. It will offer a great screen, some good battery life and a whole slew of apps, via the Amazon app store of course. Some seriously denounce this as an option for an Android tablet. I would agree but also disagree at the same time. It is still Android running under all the fancy overlays that you see on the screen. Which means a lot of what Android is capable of should work on the Kindle Fire with ease. Many are not happy that the tablet won’t offer the Android…The Amazon Kindle Fire is a pretty sweet tablet option for the budget conscious. It will offer a great screen, some good battery life and a whole slew of apps, via the Amazon app store of course. Some seriously denounce this as an option for an Android tablet. I would agree but also disagree at the same time. It is still Android running under all the fancy overlays that you see on the screen. Which means a lot of what Android is capable of should work on the Kindle Fire with ease. Many are not happy that the tablet won’t offer the Android market. Although this is a valid concern, it is technically not marketed as an Android tablet. It is a glorified eReader, honestly. Thanks to a tipster, at Androidguys, suggests that you will at least have side loading options available. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the term, it means installing an app off the SD card or memory. This is probably one of the greatest features of Android but arguably the reason behind the piracy ‘problem’. If you are rocking a stock Kindle Fire though, that might be your only option. Not that we condone piracy, but when your access is limited, what options do you have. At least buy the app for your device and transfer it to your tablet. That’s another topic all together though. The   brings up some interesting things though. Of course we all hope for easy root and at best a CM7 or CM9 build for it to make it what it could have been. We also might see some modified Android Market become available for installation. Lets not forget some of the alternative market applications that exist on the web. I wonder how well many of the apps we wish it had will actually work? If you want to know how to sideload the Kindle Fire, there is a great nine step guide below. Although it is not windows based nor is it as easy as we have all come accustomed to on our true Android devices, the process isn’t to terribly hard. After reading the instructions, I would imagine that it should be if you can sideload an app like Astro. On the Kindle Fire Settings screen, go to “Device” and turn On “Allow Installation of Application From Unknown Sources” Plug your Kindle Fire into your Mac. Open ~/.android/adb_usb.ini with your favorite text editor Add the value “0×1949″ to the end of the file and save it. You’ll need to restart the adb server process to get it to re-read that file. Do that with “adb kill-server”. Run “adb devices” and you should see the attached device. Now, if you’ve got an .apk you want to throw on there, just do “adb install myfavoriteapp.apk”. The app should now be shown on the “Apps” page when you select the “Device” tab (not “cloud”). Source: AndroidGuys […]

  3. Making it too hard.  Just email the .apk files to yourself, save them on the Fire SDCard, and launch them through any free file tool like AndroExplorer.

    •  Agreed I am on a mac and I simply copied the .APK file for the dolphin browser to my kindle and used the ESfile explorer to launch the installer. No one needs that extra step with the text editor “UBS.ini” etc

  4. Steps are missing in this post, so it’s not self-contained.

    Open ~/.android/adb_usb.ini with your favorite text editorAdd the value “0x1949” to the end of the file and save it.

    Where does one open that file from?

    Where does one save it?

    What is this ADB thing that needs to be run?

    If there are pre-requisites, they should be linked to here or you should step them out. People arrive here from Google (as did I) and the instructions don’t help.

    A comment from aaroncavanaugh2  link to self-contained instructions that are also simpler.

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