How To Find Android Apps For Your Tablet, eReader, or Other Large-Screen Device

As excited as I am about the slew of Android-driven tablets and other non-phone devices coming out in the new few weeks and months, the lack of the official Android Market on many of them is dampening my enthusiasm. Android is a great OS, but without apps it’s pretty limited. The manufacturers behind these devices usually offer their own app stores, but it takes time to build numbers. Just ask Palm.

So what’s an Android lover to do? Don’t despair, there are ways to install your favorite apps on your tablet, eReader, or other large-screen device. You just need to find the app’s APK (installation) file. Once you have it, you can just click to install and you’re set. No promises that the app will install or work, but at least you can try.

Here are 5 easy ways to find your favorite Android apps:

  1. Download the APK from the developer’s website. Some developers allow users to download the file from their websites even if they’re available through the Android Market. Depending on the developer, you may also find versions of the app optimized for larger screens.

  2. Search third-party app stores. No, the official Google Market isn’t the only one. There are many independent repositories such as Get Jar, AndAppStore, SlideME, AndroidFreeware.org, Brothersoft, and Androlib. You should also check out the app stores created for specific devices, as they may allow you to search and download from a web browser, like the Camangi Marketplace. Some of these markets have a store app that works similarly to the Android Market, installing the apps for you.

  3. Haunt device-specific forums and websites. If an Android gadget is lucky enough to have gathered a fanbase, those dedicated users are likely on the hunt for their favorite apps, too. You may be able to find a forum topic, FAQ, or a wiki with links to APK files for popular free apps or repositories. For instance, the users at ArchosFans have had months to find and test a variety of apps they can’t find in Archos’ app library. They’ve even created a dedicated wiki page for them with download links.

  4. Google It. Sometimes the easiest thing to do is simply search for [app name] APK and see what comes up. You might find it on a buried page on the developer’s website or repository. Be careful, though, because many hits will come from anonymous uploads on file storage or torrent sites. Don’t download a virus in your zeal to obtain your favorite note-taking app.

  5. Get them from your Android phone. If you have access to the official market then you can grab almost any APK from your phone. First, download something that will allow you to make backups of your apps. I like Astro File Manager because it allows me to choose which apps to back up. On the app’s main screen, tap the Menu button > Tools > Application Manager/Backup. Choose the apps you’d like to move to your tablet, then tap Backup. Once that’s done, connect your phone to your PC, find the ‘backups’ folder, then copy the APK files to your computer or storage device, then transfer them to your Android device. You may not be able to make copies of every app, and transferring paid ones may break the TOS or EULA, so be mindful.

Using your favorite apps on all of your Android devices is the first step to Android bliss. If there’s one you can’t find or discover doesn’t work with your gadget, drop a line to the developers. The tablets are coming fast and furious this year, and Android’s life outside of phones may be more robust and rewarding than they realize.

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  1. booch221 Says:

    Seems like Google has some work to do with it’s app store. There’s no excuse for having to go through the cumbersome process described above. Come on Google, get with it.

  2. carey1220 Says:

    I totally agree with booch221

  3. alex Says:

    I totally disagree with both of you. Google knows what its doing.

  4. Julie Says:

    Thanks for this article, hadn’t even considered copying the apps from my android phone (no.5). Worked perfectly!

  5. Courtney Says:

    I just bought a Pandigital 7″ Media Tablet powered by Android a few days ago and have been racking my brain ever since with useless forums and no one can explain to me how to download any apps. I need a very simple, basic, step-by-step process if anyone knows of any PLEASE! I have become very irritated with this tablet and have had no luck.

  6. K. T. Bradford Says:

    Unfortunately the simple answer for you might be: you can’t. The original Novel 7 was built on Android but didn’t allow sideloading of apps. The company did say future versions would have a more normal Android, but if you got one of the older ones, you might have to root the device to be able to put your own apps on it, and that’s definitely not simple.

  7. Courtney Says:

    Thank you K. T. Bradford, I do appreciate your response. I have the newest tablet and it is really irritating. Thank you.

  8. PhredE Says:

    @Courtney and K.T.Bradford. I purchased a WPDN 7″ also. Actually, you can load up quite a few apps onto the device, just download the appropriate .apk file and upload it to a folder (name it tempinstall, if you like) on the SD card. You can use the ES file manager that comes with it to get to the folder where the .apk files are and if tap on it it will install via the la-dee-da Android install process. I’ve loaded a free version of the DroidSecurity version of the AVG antivirus program and the Kindle App (you can download these from the developer or vendor sites) or get them via SlideMe Website (the SAM SlideMe app on the PDN does not list every app in it’s catalog so go the website instead).

    The Novel is pretty good eReader, but don’t expect to play games on it (bigger than the solitaire game) because it is slow, slow, slow. It’s good for reading .PDF’s using the B&N bookstore app and I read WebBooks I have downloaded to it, but they are iffy (the PDN has a crappy browser).

    Cheers

  9. Pete Harrison Says:

    Thanks for the article.

    I was honestly going throw my vega against a wall when I couldn’t get apps downloaded and, not being at all technically minded, didn’t want to mess about too much. I did however decide to try installing slideME and it was so amazingly simple that my faith has been restored…all thanks to your advice!

    You have honestly made my day!

    Thanks :o)

  10. K. T. Bradford Says:

    I’m glad this helped you!

  11. auriiana Says:

    ii was just wondering how i could download e books on to my trio droid 7.07 tablet

  12. viv protheroe Says:

    Totally frustrated by google sending meround and round and getting nowhere with an ebook reader app

  13. JERRY Says:

    ANYONE KNOW IF DARKORBIT IS COMPATIBLE? I HAVE FLASH 10 ,HOWEVER I HAVENT TRIED YET

  14. jack Says:

    would like to get the android ereader from barnes and noble.
    my arnova 10 g2 keeps getting a reply that no phone is related. I only have the tablet…
    want a solid ereader for this tablet

  15. TabTabGO Says:

    Actually, I disagree. I think that people need to understand that just because an app scales to fit a tablet doesn’t mean its a tablet app. A tablet app is one that uses the entire real estate of the tablet and presents a different UI than what a regular app does. Right now, the point is, its hard to find these apps but I actually came across this website on XDA its called tablified.com. I guess its suppose to be like the missing tablet app section for the android market but hey, call it whatever you want-it works. the apps that are put up are 100% FOR TABLETS! non of that scaling to fit BS, they’re TRUE tablet apps. I’ll keep using this till google gets their act together.

  16. Steph.L.P Says:

    I just got the Impression 7″ tablet and I can NOT figure out how to download games/aps. I’m geting so irritated and I am starting to wonder if I can at all. All I need is a Step-by-Step list of what to do.

  17. Elizabeth Says:

    I just purchased the Impression 9.5″ Android Tablet and I cannot watch movies on it! Hulu doesnt “support” my platform, the netflix app isnt working…. can someone help.

  18. amsomr Says:

    Helpful Article thank you a lot. I use my sonic-view And many apps on my htc one x don’t work

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