Editorial by Luke Jones on Wednesday July 30, 2014.
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Amazon has done a pretty good job in beefing up its Appstore recently and indeed when the Fire Phone was launched the company boasted that there was 240,000 apps and games in the store. That is impressive, but it still pales in significance to the amount available on Android's Google Play Store and Apple's App Store.In fact, while most of the big hitting apps are available, there are a number that are not and with apps playing such a big part in the mobile space that is bound to put some off the Amazon Fire Phone. Although, you really should not let that change your mind unless you are engrained in Google?s services, but if you have your heart set on the Fire Phone there is a way around potential app woes. Because Amazon's first smartphone runs Android (albeit a heavily customized version) it is possible to use most Android apps on the device, but you will need to sideload it. Here's how you do that. 1. Head into the settings on the Fire Phone and point yourself towards the Applications & Parental Controls submenu. 2. Select the "Allow non-Amazon app installation." Tab. 3. In the subsequent screen you will need to switch the App Installation tab to on by sliding your finger to the right. This will allow you to download apps from other sources. The Fire Phone will warn you about putting your data at risk, but if you are okay with assuming responsibility then you can carry on. 4. You still will not be able to download Android apps directly to your device, so instead you will have to find what is called the app APK. These can be found via a Google search. 5. In fact, there is a Chrome extension that will download free app APK's directly to your desktop, but if not you can find them online regardless. 6. Now you can connect your Fire Phone to your computer via your chosen method, be that Dropbox or another cloud sharer or the old fashioned way, with a wire. 7. Drag the APK file from your computer to the Fire Phone and viola, the handset will recognise the file and the app will work. There is one issue with this method and indeed with the Fire Phone in general. Amazon's Android version is so different from Google's idea that Google Play services and Google apps like Gmail simply will not work. Aside from not being able to use these apps even if you sideload them, you will also not be able to run apps that need Google Play Services to work. Although, there are enough apps not available on the Amazon Appstore that are not tied to Google Play to make this method still well worth it.
Luke Jones is the Managing Editor at MobileBurn.com and is the person you need to speak to about the content on the site. Luke studied creative writing at Glamorgan University before carving out a reputation as a freelance tech writer. He settled here at MobileBurn, where he reviews devices and contributes to the news.