By November 18, 2011

How to Sideload Dropbox on Your Kindle Fire

I haven’t been too impressed by my Amazon Kindle Fire. One of the reasons I disliked it was the lack of key apps that I use on the Amazon app market. The biggest missing app was Dropbox, which I use to synchronize my KeePass database file. I manage over 550 different passwords via KeePass, so this is a big deal to me.

There is a second way to install apps on an Android device. Instead of via a storefront like the Amazon Appstore or the Google Market, you can install an application by copying the program directly onto your mobile device. This is called “sideloading.”

I tried to sideload Dropbox when I got my Kindle Fire on Wednesday. I downloaded the .apk binary directly from Dropbox and then copied it over to my Kindle Fire via USB. I configured my Kindle Fire to allow sideloading. This setting is located here:

Settings > More > Device > Allow Installation of Applications (From Unknown Sources): On

I then used an app called Easy Install to load Dropbox onto my Kindle Fire. I was able to start the installation, but I got a message that read “Installation failed,” with no further details. I repeated the effort with ES File Explorer and got the same result.

I thought I was done.

I started to wonder what could have gone wrong. I wondered if the binary got corrupted somehow from the transfer from my computer to my Kindle Fire. I wondered if installations on the Kindle have to come from certain locations. I decided to download the dropbox.apk via my Fire and try again. I opened the Fire’s Web browser and navigated to the Dropbox Android download page and downloaded it directly to my Fire. I ran the installer.

It worked.

So, one small obstacle overcome. I am still using my rooted Nook Color for “real” usage, but I’ve let my co-workers futz around with the Fire for the last two days. I’m going to give them one more day with it and then write up some of their comments next week.

Has anyone else been able to sideload apps by USB transfer? If so, what directory were your apk files in?

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