November 17, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
The entire reason that Amazon and Barnes & Noble sell their Android tablets for such low prices is because the companies intend to lock buyers into their systems and sell content. But because Android users aren’t much for being locked in, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that someone would find a way to get content beyond the gardens of Amazon and B&N.
The Amazon Kindle Fire can actually install the Android Market. A rooted Fire can sideload apps, including the Vending.apk file that serves as the Market. BriefMobile has a guide explaining the process of getting Vending.apk onto a device, so follow the instructions here. Keep in mind that the full weight of the Android Market may not be available to you, but this could be a nice workaround for getting apps not in Amazon’s store or downloading the apps you already purchased on another Android device.
On the Nook Tablet side of things, you can also sideload apps, including the Amazon Appstore. Members at XDA discovered that the Nook supports downloading apps through the web, so users can download an .apk and enable “Unknown sources” for installation. Since the Amazon Appstore is an .apk, that means you can actually put that on the Nook Tablet. (I’m guessing you can try to get the Market on there as well but I’d wait for confirmation before trying.) The Digital Reader has a step-by-step guide with instructions here.
I can’t help but wonder if companies expected this or will try to proactively block this from happening with updates. Amazon and B&N don’t make money by selling the Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet, but they do make money when you buy apps, books, magazines, and videos. The root community should be a small enough audience for them not to hurt too much, but you never know. Either way, enjoy your new device that’s suddenly become a lot more powerful.