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How to sideload apps on to your Amazon Kindle Fire

Amazon Kindle Fire users can now overcome one of the tablets big limitations - lack of access to Google's Android Market - by 'sideloading' third-party apps directly from a PC or Mac on to the keenly priced tablet.

Amazon's new Kindle Fire tablet has received plenty of praise for offering a decent spec for its very attractive $199 price tag, but one persistent grumble has been the lack of access to Amazon Market meaning users can't directly install a free choice of apps.

Given Amazon's business model, which sees the company pumping out hardware such as the Fire and the new £89 Kindle e-book reader at a loss (opens in new tab), in order to tie users into the online bookseller's eco-system and make money back via advertising and content, it's hardly surprising that the company wants to discourage users from installing third-party apps from which it won't make a penny.

But that doesn't mean users can't do it - and they don't even have to 'root' the tablet to install a new Android software ROM to do so. The answer lies in a technique called sideloading, installing them via USB from a computer.

Here's how to do it - but don't forget to be careful, and remember that what you're doing could invalidate your warranty, so you do so at your own risk:

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 computer.

3. Download and install the Android SDK (opens in new tab), and follow these instructions (opens in new tab) for getting ADB on your desktop or laptop.

4. Windows users: open "C:\Users\[YOUR USER NAME]\.android\adb_usb.ini" using your favorite text editor. For Mac OS, open "~/.android/adb_usb.ini".

5. Add the value "0×1949″ to the end of the file and save it.

6. You'll need to restart the adb server process to get it to re-read that file. Do that with "adb kill-server".

7. Run "adb devices", and you should see the attached device.

Now, if you've got an Android application package .apk file you want to install on there, just do "adb install .apk". The app should now be shown on the 'Apps' page when you select the 'Device' tab. monitors all leading technology stories and rounds them up to help you save time hunting them down.