Installing Non-Market Apps

So you found a cool app you want to try out, but when you click on the download link it doesn’t take you to the familiar grounds of the Android Market.  A great example of this is the Amazon App Store application.  It makes sense that you wouldn’t find a link to this great application on the Android Market, because it is a direct competitor.  Another great example is the large number of apps that are available on http://code.google.com.

The first thing you are going to need to know is that out-of-the-box the Android system won’t let you install anything non-market.  BUT, there is an incredibly easy workaround to this problem. All you have to do is select the little “Settings” icon from your main menu, and choose the “Applications” menu.  Once you are there you will see a little icon that looks like the below image.  Along with a little checkbox labeled “Unknown Sources”.  This would be that quick fix. 
Just check the box and you are all set.  
Next, simply load up your browser to one of the above mentioned sites and click download.  You will notice that the file being downloaded ends in .APK.  This is the standard format for an android application.  If you find that it is a zip your best bet is to hook up to a computer and unzip the file.  You can also do this with a few different programs, right on your phone. Just fire up Android Market and search for unzip.  If you decide to go that route you will also want to look into a File Manager app, so you can view your memory card – especially the “Downloads” folder.
This is a great trick that doesn’t force you into hacking/rooting your phone at all, and a relatively safe trick too.  Post up a comment if you have any questions.
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