josh

Josh's Blog

View on GitHub
1 February 2015

Sideload Android apps on your Amazon Fire TV Stick

by joshg253

I picked up an Amazon Fire TV Stick during the 2-day Prime preorder discount and received it after everyone else bought theirs at Best Buy for the same price.

Overall, it’s a pretty slick device, with a few shortcomings, but it ended up not being super useful at home since I already have a PS3 connected to our one TV that can stream Prime video, Netflix, etc. I figured it’d be awesome when traveling though, provided we actually had decent (or any WiFi) where we end up. However, there is no built-in way to log into e.g. hotel Wi-Fi, but you can sideload Firefox via adb, which I assume you can use that to log in since it’s a working browser, but I haven’t been to a hotel since I installed Firefox on mine.

I also wanted to see if I could get Twilight installed to lessen the blue light in the evenings. It installed and will work, but you can’t adjust the sliders manually, nor set a location automatically or manually. However, you can force the filter on or off, so it can still be useful.

Procedure

The install procedure is the same for either app.

On the Fire TV Stick

  1. Go to Settings -> System -> Developer Options
  2. Turn on ADB debugging and Apps from Unknown Sources
  3. Then under Settings -> System -> About -> Network
  4. Make note of the IP address, e.g. 192.168.1.123

On a computer on the same network as your Fire TV Stick

  1. Download the .APKs you want.
    • Firefox - I just grabbed the latest mobile build from Mozilla's FTP site at the time, which was Firefox 34
    • Twilight - I just searched for 'twilight apk' and ended up grabbing it here.
  2. Install adb
    • (I already had this installed, maybe I'll fill in steps later)
  3. Open a command window
  4. CD to the folder where you dropped the .APKs
  5. Connect to the IP address from above; e.g.
    • adb connect 192.168.1.123
  6. Install the .APKs on the FireStick; e.g.
    • adb install firefox.apk

Post-install

(back on the FireStick)

  1. Go to Settings -> Applications -> Manage All Installed Applications
  2. Scroll down to your newly installed app, press Ok, Launch application

Some notes on the two apps

Firefox

It’s pretty tedious to use the browser with the included remote, but should suffice for e.g. entering login information on a hotel WiFi access form.

Twilight

Not being able to adjust the bars, and since it won’t get a location automatically, and you can’t set one manually, you basically end up with 2 settings:

At the top, select ether

Kind of a pain, but may lead to getting to sleep earlier, which may lead to you finally getting that raise you’ve been working on for the past 9 years…

Other thoughts

I don’t see a quicker way to open the apps besides Settings -> Applications -> Manage All Installed Applications -> app -> Launch application, and for Twilight you have to do that and toggle it on & off via its Force filter setting. So, not great, but it works. Basically.

tags: Amazon - Android - Fire TV Stick - Firefox - Twilight