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.
Amazon's Fire TV devices run a heavily-modified version of Android, which means you can install some Android applications on it. While the built-in Amazon Appstore does have a wide selection of apps and games, you can still install software not available through the official store (like the Kodi Media Center) if you have the APK file.
You may be aware of Google's Advanced Protection Program, which allows customers to opt-in on additional security protections and restrictions for their Google account, like a forced two-factor hardware security key requirement without fallbacks, and reduced account access for third-party apps. In addition to enhanced security, it also comes with other recent perks. According to details revealed in a recent teardown by 9to5Google, the Advanced Protection Program may expand to blocking apps from being installed from outside the Play Store.
Battle Breakers has been in testing on the Play Store since 2017, but Epic has unceremoniously turned the servers off for the Play Store version, most likely because the game has been officially launched through the Epic Games launcher, a third-party app that was previously known as the Fortnite Installer. If you're unfamiliar with Battle Breakers, it's a free-to-play RPG that contains hero collection mechanics. The story revolves around menacing monsters from space that have trapped the world's heroes inside of magical crystals, and of course, it will be your job to free these heroes by fighting these monsters in an RPG setting.
According to some super sleuthing by Kevin Tofel over at About Chromebooks, one of Chrome OS' most requested features — installing Android apps from outside the Play Store without resorting to Developer mode — may actually, finally be on its way. Based on a comment provided by a developer in the Chromium bug tracker, it could make its way to users as early as the Chrome OS 74 or 75 releases.
What kind of black sorcery is that? We've spottedseveralreports from users who are noticing the YouTube Kids app disappear from their app drawer. Most of them have either sideloaded the app or installed it from a Play Store account directly but are now in a region that doesn't support it officially. And poof, it goes away. So far, this seems to affect Nougat and Oreo devices, mostly.
Mozilla has been pretty busy recently. Last month it updated its main browser, Firefox, with a much needed modern UI makeover, and back in the summer it launched a completely new browser, Firefox Focus. It's much simpler and faster than the standard Firefox app, and it's much more privacy conscious, too, with no tabs and automatic blocking of ads and trackers. There's also a Germany-specific version called Klar.
The company isn't taking a break anytime soon either, and a new unreleased app has popped up on the Play Store. Firefox Rocket appears to be similar to Focus, except it's specifically built for Indonesia and rather than privacy, the key USPs are that it's lightweight and fast, perfect for a region where mobile data and Wi-Fi aren't so cheap or easy to come by.
It's Nougat day, finally. Google's latest and greatest version of Android is beginning its slow rollout to Nexus devices, plus the Pixel C and General Mobile 4G. Dev preview devices are getting the OTA almost immediately, but devices on Marshmallow are taking a little longer. Google has said it could take a week or two for everyone to get the OTA, but you don't need to wait that long. We're collecting the full Nougat OTA links right here.