If you find must-have software that is not available in the Android Market, you can install it on your Android phone without going through the Market. Here’s a walk-through of the simple process. Note: The AT&T Samsung line of phones does not allow installation from unknown sources. I think this is an unfortunate mistake on the part of AT&T/Samsung.

Step 1: Configure your smartphone

You have to enable a non-Market application installation on your phone before you will be able to install third-party software. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Tap Menu.
  2. Tap Settings.
  3. Tap Applications.
  4. Check the box labeled Unknown Sources.

Your Android phone is ready to accept the installation of software from outside the Android Market.

Step 2: Locate the software

There are a number of good sites that allow you to download Android apps. One such site is AndAppStore, where you can download a number of apps you won’t find in the Android Market. The file will have to be in the format .APK (Android Package).

Step 3: Install a file manager

You will need to be able to locate and install the file from within the file manager. The file manager you install doesn’t really matter, as long as you can navigate around both internal and external storage. I highly recommend the Astro File Manager (there is both a free version and a paid version), which you can install from the Android Market.

Step 4: Download the software

Download the software from your Android phone’s browser. You could also download the software to your PC and then copy the .APK file to your external storage (as long as your file manager can see the external storage).

Regardless of the method you use, remember to make note of the location where you saved the file; otherwise, you will have to spend some time hunting around the file structure of your phone in order to install the software.

Step 5: Install the software

Open your file manager and navigate to where you saved the .APK file. (This is why it’s so important to remember where you saved the file.) Tap that file, and you should have the option to open the AppManager (Figure A).
Figure A

This screen will appear as soon as you tap the .APK file.

When you select Open App Manager, the Application Manager will open (Figure B). This tool allows you to see information about the application. From here, click a single button and the application will install. Once the installation is complete, go back to your application drawer, and you should see it listed among the installed applications.
Figure B

I am installing Mobi System’s Office suite from outside of the Android Market.

Step 6: Disable Unknown Sources

  1. Tap Menu.
  2. Tap Settings.
  3. Tap Applications.
  4. Uncheck the box labeled Unknown Sources.

If you leave this option enabled, your Android phone could be vulnerable to the installation of malicious software. Although this is a hassle, it’s a precaution you should take.

Use caution

You always want to make sure the third-party, non-market applications you are installing are safe to install. If you download the software from a known, reliable source, you should be fine, but use caution when doing so to avoid the installation of software that could be malicious.