Hey Comcast, y'all should really just publish your TV app on the Play Store already. This weird stuff, limiting it to Sony TVs or Amazon's Fire TV platform, just isn't cool. People are paying you a lot (just, a LOT) to watch TV, you should let them watch it on whatever gadget they want! Or else they'll find ways to do it themselves. For example, taking the Fire TV APK and uploading it to a third-party hosting site, then installing it on an Android TV device like the SHIELD.
It's been less than a day since a coalition of dozens of US states sued Google in a federal court for antitrust behavior, citing its collection of fees for distribution on the Play Store. Google has fired back with a lengthy blog post in the standard corporate "nu-uh" counter.
Microsoft's upcoming Windows 11 update brings a whole world of Android apps to your desktop computer, but there's a catch: The app store you'll be using is Amazon's. If the lackluster selection and the house of Bezos's business practices leave you preferring an alternative, an engineer at Microsoft has confirmed on Twitter that customers will also be able to sideload apps onto Windows 11, installing things they like from their own sources.
Android has always been open, for a given value of "open," a property that companies like Samsung, Amazon, and Epic have used to create their own alternatives to the Play Store. But actually using those alternatives has always been a bit of a headache, with Android itself treating each individual app downloaded as a side-loaded app. Starting with Android 12, using alternative app stores will be a little more seamless, at least some of the time.
According to an email Google is sending out to Wear OS developers, sideloading apps that aren't available on the Play Store is about to get a lot more complicated starting March 10. You'll no longer be able to sideload apps from your phone via the Play Store -> Apps on your phone section on watches, making it next to impossible to add unapproved apps to your watch without turning to tools meant for developers, like the Android Debug Bridge (ADB).
When the Pixel 5 and 4a 5G were released, Google also updated a few of its first-party apps — the Camera and the Recorder, to be specific. But when people with older Pixel phones tried to sideload these to their phones, some ran into an odd INSTALL_FAILED_VERIFICATION_FAILURE error message even though the cryptographic signature matched and there should've been nothing standing in the way. We quickly found a workaround, but we never really understood why the error was popping up in the first place. Thanks to an investigation by our friends over at XDA, we now have an idea of what causes the problem.
Installing apps on Android TV in general, and the Chromecast with Google TV in particular, is usually a simple affair. There are, however, limitations to what you can install directly from the Play Store, as only approved software makes it onto the platform. If you want to color outside the lines and load apps that aren't officially supported, or if you want to force-update an app, you need to use APK files. Sending them to the Chromecast and installing them isn't straightforward, so we'll take you through the process step by step.
A few months ago in June, a Stadia app update added (unofficial) support for Android TV. To get it up and running, you need a mouse, a Bluetooth controller, and you have to sideload the Stadia phone app including some weird scaling, all of which makes it more of a proof of concept right now. The latest Stadia update to version 2.26 doesn't quite fix any of these gripes, but at least you don't need a mouse to navigate the Stadia store and game selector anymore — controllers are finally supported for that.
Televisions, streaming sticks, and set-top boxes with Android TV have access to millions of applications through the Google Play Store. However, there are some situations where you might want to sideload your own applications (APKs). Maybe you want the latest app updates quicker than the Play Store rolls them out, or you want to try an application that isn't officially available for your specific device.
Sony uses Android TV across all its smart TVs, which means you get a full-fledged operating system without extra boxes or streaming devices. Android TV also gives you access to the Google Play Store, a library of thousands of TV-optimized games and applications. However, sometimes the app you want might not be available through the Play Store — maybe Google hasn't approved it yet, or you want to install the latest updates before everyone else. That's where sideloading comes in.