Introducing Downloader — My first Fire TV app which makes sideloading dead simple

downloader-v1-0-1-101-app-header

Last week, I fired up a “how to make your first app” video on YouTube and I made my first app for the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. It’s called Downloader and it just got approved into the Fire TV appstore. Downloader’s purpose is to make sideloading apps on the Fire TV as easy as possible. The app simply has a URL field where you enter the URL of any file you want downloaded to your device. After the file has downloaded, it will automatically be installed if it’s an APK file. That’s it.

Being my first app, it’s nothing fancy (and probably buggy), but it does the job of sideloading Kodi, SPMC, or any APK file without needing anything but your Fire TV remote. Downloader achieves that task quicker and simpler than ES File Explorer, which is currently the most popular way to sideload apps, and that was my main goal with the app. I hope to find time to add additional features to the app in the near future. If you need it, you can find my guide to using the app here.

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34 comments
  1. Mitch says:

    Thank you! Sweet app! It would be cool if in an update you added a list of links to downloads for popular apps to make one click side loading even easier without typing

    • AFTVnews says:

      I definitely considered doing that, but I didn’t because that would make the app too much like an appstore, which may have had it rejected. I wanted to start with the bare-minimum set of features so that it didn’t have issues being approved. When I have time, I’ll add additional features.

      • Gyges says:

        Hey Elias,
        I think it’s safe to assume that a few download shortcuts are alright.
        Firestarter has had a Kodi downloader for ages, and even after Amazon’s intervention and the app being renamed to Appstarter its download and update routines remained untouched.

  2. clocks says:

    Good idea Mitch, though it would require more frequent updating by Elias.

  3. Infamous says:

    You could load a custom links list from a text file and just split the contents;

    Kodi:URL
    Spm:URL

    To have it faster without hard coding it in also?

    Again having a popular thing is good but if its hard coded and the URL changes its a lot of work to just change a link.

  4. Stank says:

    Very cool. Congrats on the app and thanks, Elias, for all that you do for the FTV community.

  5. TechyChris says:

    Very nice! A much needed app Elias…
    I only hope that in the future apps like this don’t run afoul of Amazon’s corporate policies whatever they may be at that time…

  6. Mark says:

    You wouldn’t always have to update the app if you just make the most recent version the same URL. Make the people who want specifically older versions of Kodi or whatnot type out a longer URL then.

  7. tech3475 says:

    Do you plan on making this open source? While I may never get round to it, I think there are things which could be implemented to make things easier e.g. HTTP server for downloading or accepting remote URLs from a desktop browser.

    • AFTVnews says:

      The app is so rudimentary, I don’t see the point of making it open source at this point, but maybe in the future if it grows. Besides, it’s not like there’s much there to build off of. I’m sure any real Android developer can recreate this app in an hour or two.

      If anyone reading this wants to improve on my simple concept, I encourage you to make/publish your own app and I’ll be more than happy to write about.

  8. Joe says:

    Fantastic, thank you Elias !!!

    My suggestion would be to interface your app to the apkmirrior site and allow searches and one-click download from ApkMirror

    • bad idea says:

      That would get it removed from Amazon’s app store.

      • AFTVnews says:

        I agree. My intention is not to make this app like an appstore. It’s more of a file manager that can install APKs, just like the numerous other file managers in the Fire TV appstore. Maybe after I get better at Android development I’ll try releasing another app thats core is to be an appstore alternative, just to see if Amazon approves it.

  9. JV says:

    Nice work, bud!

  10. John Hoper says:

    Keep up the good work!

  11. desmith says:

    Can you provide a link to the make your own app video you mentioned? Thanks

  12. Michael Parr says:

    Ive looked for it on my firstick apps, but cant seem to locate it, although the stick doesnt make it easy to find apps, with its catergories liketv, education, business etc……

  13. chihuahua says:

    Awesome work man! Thanks for all the hard work.

  14. Candice says:

    Would this work to get Vudu?

  15. MrMC says:

    Google Play for the Shield ?

  16. Rob says:

    is it possible to make this app download and install many apks inside a folder instead of just 1? I tried doing it using dropbox and it looks like it downloads them all but then gives a parse error at the install part.

  17. Tyler says:

    I think a very useful feature would be to have a bookmark feature. Then, whoever wants to can just upload current versions of their apps that they commonly install on FireTVs onto an FTP server and just bookmark the root of the folder that contains all the apks. I am already doing this with ES File explorer, but it does not have the feature of automatically installing. On that note, how does this program handle zipped apks? Does it unzip, then auto install??

  18. Gyges says:

    I just tested the app in combination with the official Fire TV Remote Control app.
    And I can happily confirm that address input via Fire TV app works fine, saving even more time.

  19. DGreenMon says:

    Hi there

    first of all good work really like what you have done here kept it simple so it gets passed

    can i make a suggestion couldnt be bothered to read through all the comments but i would suggest to have a built in file explorer but keep it simple again

    maybe even if under the address bar and download you have another tab call open es file explorer downloads

    or create your own file manager

  20. Chris Lucchesi says:

    has this been removed? Cant find it anywhere?

  21. tom42 says:

    You can use HFS to server files from PC to Fire TV

    http://www.rejetto.com/hfs/

    example http://192.168.1.2/somefile.apk

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