We’ve received a number of emails from readers regarding their inability to install the Amazon Appstore for Android on their AT&T Android phones. The required “Unknown Sources” option in the Applications Settings menu is missing, which prevents the app from being installed.
Unfortunately, there is no way – without a little hacking – to install the Appstore on these phones; AT&T has purposely removed the option to install third-party apps, i.e. apps outside the Android Market. And that, as they say, is that.
In the end, only customer complaints have any hope of changing this ridiculous end-user lockout. But until AT&T allows third-party apps to be installed, if you want the Amazon Appstore -or any non-Market apps – on your AT&T Android phone, it must be rooted.
Rooting is not for everyone; it’s essentially jailbreaking the phone to allow for greater flexibility in how the device operates. There are methods for rooting many Android phones, including the AT&T Atrix 4G (see How to Root the Atrix 4G and How to Root the Samsung Captivate). If this interests you, proceed with caution.
In late March, Engadget reported that AT&T is working on allowing the Amazon Appstore to run on their Android devices, though no details have been forthcoming in the six weeks since the story ran.