Android Central Sideload Wonder Machine v. 1.2
Read all of this. There may be a quiz.
Android Central Sideload Wonder Machine
The Android Central Sideload Wonder Machine (SWM) was designed to allow you to sideload applications to your Android device, without the need to install the Android SDK, or to use cumbersome command prompt commands. While specifically designed for phones where the ability to install from "Unknown Sources" has been disabled, this program will work with any Android device.
This program only uses standard adb commands (Google approved) and isn't doing anything that will hurt your phone. It's also built using standard Windows tools and controls, and using the standard Windows api, so it isn't doing anything that will hurt your computer. It has been virus checked by Microsoft Security Essentials, with the latest definitions as of 04/11/2011.
That being said, if you use the Sideload Wonder Machine, it's at your own risk. Nobody is forcing it on you, and nobody is responsible for anything that happens. Especially me.
tl;dr -- Use at your own risk, but it really shouldn't be able to hurt anything.
What is 'sideloading'?
Sideloading refers to the practice of installing applications on your Android device that have not been downloaded from the official Android Market. Android developers may choose to have their application hosted elsewhere, and via a direct download and sideloading the applications can be used like any other application you have downloaded from the official Market. Normally, this can be done directly on the device, but this has been disabled on some Android phones.
- An Android phone.
- A computer running Microsoft Windows XP or later.
- The Microsoft .Net 40 framework. Get that right here.
- The USB driver from your device manufacturer.
Setting up your phone
USB driver download links for popular devices:
You will need to enable USB debugging in order for the SWM to communicate with your phone.
Open the development settings by pressing menu, then settings, applications, and finally development. Check the box marked USB debugging.
Installing the program
If you currently have the SWM installed, you'll need to uninstall it by renaming or removing the C:\AC_SWM folder.
You now have two methods to install the Sideload Wonder Machine. There is an easy Windows installer, which places all the files just where they need to be, and creates a shortcut in your start menu and desktop. Download that version right here: SWM Installer
To use, simply run the downloaded file and the magic will happen.
There is also a standard zip file, which you can extract and place the AC_SWM folder in the root of your C:\ drive. Download that version right here: Zip file version
If you do not extract and copy the entire AC_SWM folder to the root of the C drive, the program will not work. And small children will point and laugh at you.
The VS2010 source code is available here: AC_SWM 1.2 source
- Plug your phone into a powered USB port on your computer, best to use ports on the back of computer. Using a hub may not work.
- Ensure that your phone is set to "charge only" in the USB connections settings. See the documentation that came with your phone if you have any question.
- Download an Android app to somewhere on your computer, like the desktop. Make sure this app is for the version of Android your phone is running.
- Launch the SWM
- When the program loads, click the button labeled "Choose APK". The standard Windows file chooser will open -- browse to the app you have downloaded, and click the "Open" button to choose it.
- A small dialog will open to tell you the file is ready to install. Read it, and click "OK"
Now it's time to use your noggin. If the app you're installing is an update to something you already have installed on your phone, you need to check the box marked "Update existing app". If it's not, don't check it.
- Click the button marked "Install". Yes, it used to be disabled. You have to pick a file before you can use it.
- A command line window will open. It may say things like "service not running". It's starting the parts we are using from the Android SDK to load your app. When it's done working, look and see what the output was. If there was an error, it will tell you (then you need to see the next section). If it doesn't tell you, there was no error.
The error messages the SWM returns are from the adb application, provided by Google. Sometimes they are helpful, sometimes not. So we added some troubleshooting functions to the app. Use them. Even if you can't fix what happened, you'll know what needs fixing. Then tell us, and we'll help you fix it.
Click to test USB driver status
When you click this button, the program launches the ADB program, and it looks to see if it can communicate with your phone. If it can it will tell you by displaying your phone's serial number. It doesn't matter what the number is, only if one is there. If it is, all is well. If one is not displayed, your phone isn't communicating with your computer. There's three reasons why this may be:
- You did not turn USB debugging on
- Your USB driver is not configured correctly
- You have a hardware issue. Either you're not using a full powered primary USB port, the USB "subsystem" on your computer is malfunctioning, or your cable is bad
If you jump phones a lot, and have several manufacturers USB drivers installed, your USB ports can stop working. Always uninstall old Android hardware drivers. Especially if they are some sort of "Driver Suite" bloatware.
Click to test file locations
This will open an command window, and run a small script that checks to see if the essential files exist. If they do not, (you guessed it) you'll get an error. This is done via a shell script versus programmaticly (is that a word?) so you can run this even if the program won't load. If you don't get any errors, all the tasty bits are where they are supposed to be.
Click here to flush the SWM cache
Chances are you should never be using this button. If you follow the directions to choose and install files, you won't ever need it. It cleans up the SWM's cache when you've tried to install a file with a bad signature, and didn't overwrite it properly using the "Choose APK" button. This doesn't happen to everybody who copies files the wrong way, but it happens enough it needed addressed, especially since users of some computers actually CAUSE a bad signature if they copy files manually.
If and when you click this button, a second warning box will pop up asking if you're sure. Read it, and choose wisely. If you do flush it all clean, one of three things will happen:
- Nothing -- the window will disappear and you'll be back at the program. This means you really DID need to use it, and things work normally. you're good to go.
- Nothing -- the window closes, you're back at the SWM, but nothing about it works. You DIDN'T need to use it, and as a penalty you'll have to restart your computer. I could tell you a way to get things working, but restarting is much easier, and fixes it all.
- You get a crash dialog. You DIDN'T need to flush things, and you made the SWM cry. Choose to quit everything, and when you restart the SWM all will be well.
This not done via a shell script. It's a very nasty and not recommended way to destroy data forever, without asking for a second chance. There's no way to add error handling either, so I have to let the program crash if it wants to crash. If you don't understand any of this, please don't use this button unless someone else tells you to.
About, and getting help
In the program is an About button. Click that, read the gpl stuff if that matters to you. But be sure to click the links at the bottom and thank those folks. There's also some handy link buttons at the top.
The Help button is there, too. It tells you the same things I explain above, in case you forgot something. There's a link to the SWM page, which will always have a link to the current thread. That could be useful too.
I'm a sneaky old cuss. The download links are plainly marked in the appropriate place in this post. You'll have to find them, by reading it. Told you there may be a quiz.