Certain Android-powered mobile device manufacturers (Amazon and Barnes & Noble, for instance) design their variants of the OS without the Android Market, forcing users to make do with the limited number of apps in their native app stores. You could always install apps of your choice on a Market-sporting Android device, extract their APKs and side-load them onto such devices, but why go through all that trouble when you can use APK Downloader, a Google Chrome extension that lets you download Android Market APKs directly to your desktop. The extension seems to bypass any location or device restrictions, allowing you to easily side-load apps that aren’t yet available for your region, or try out those that are supposedly incompatible with your device. APK Downloader hit the blogosphere a couple of days ago, shortly after which the developer took it down, fearing that it would be used for pirating paid apps. Fortunately, courtesy of the persuasion of a few users, the developer has now released a new version of the extension that only allows downloading free apps.
Following is a simple, step-by-step guide to setting up APK Downloader. Don’t be alarmed by the length or quantity of screenshots; the process is pretty straightforward. If you need the extension to side-load Android Market apps onto, say, your Kindle or Nook, you should know that you’ll need the device ID and Google account info of a regular (Gapps-sporting) Android device.
1. Launch Chrome, download and install APK Downloader from the developer’s website. An Options form should appear in a new tab right after you click Install.
Requirement: Chrome 17 or later
* Please read and follow this instruction carefully before using, or it WON’T WORK *
After installed APK Downloader, you’ll need to follow these steps in able to use it
I. Disable SSL error warnings
If you don’t do this step, the extension WILL NEVER WORK.
Below instruction is for Windows users. For OS X and Linux users, please read this post ( replace –remote-debugging-port=9222 in the example with –-ignore-certificate-errors )
1. Right click on Chrome shortcut, select “Properties”
2. Switch to “Shortcut” tab. In “Target” field, insert [Please leave a space]––ignore-certificate-errors at the end. Once you have that finished, click “OK” .
It will look something like this: C:…chrome.exe –-ignore-certificate-errors
3. Once that is done, restart Chrome, this time launching it via the shortcut you just created. Open APK Downloader Options page. If your screen looks like the right picture ( the warning box is gone ), then you disabled SSL error warnings successfully
4. The error should now have been removed.
5. You should already have the address (Email) and Password of the Google account(s) registered on your Android device. To find out your device’s ID, there are two ways to get Email and Device ID
a. Easy way: install this Device ID app, it will show you your emails and Device ID
Enter your email’s password, then press Login. If everything is ok, now you can use APK Downloader
Finally, to use this all Open Android Market, view any FREE apps ( for example: Simple Text ), then press the APK Downloader icon on address bar ( see screenshot )
Important Notice: We are not responsible for this process. So please be very sure of what you are about to do.