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How do I deploy an Android app without publishing it in the marketplace?

Let me back up a minute. I have short release cycles (2-4 weeks or less), and I would like to release a partially complete, unpolished game on my website so people can try it out and give me feedback.

I believe with Android, I need to go through the "Marketplace" and some rigorous process to release my app (which is not something I would do for an in-development version anyways).

So how can I get my under-development version in the hands of players?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

For beta test, you can host your own APK on your webserver. Just send an email to your users with the link. That's the eaysiest way todo.

If you don't have a webserver, you can use Dropbox to host your APK and create a public url to download it.

If you want a private beta, you can use Dropbox to share with your trusted users.

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You're right, I just hosted the APK on my site. Easy breezy. – ashes999 May 8 '12 at 16:29

Twitter and QR codes could be your best friend for this. If you create a link directly to the apk, they should be able to download and install provided that they enable the installation of non-market apps. You could write a short tutorial on doing that and use DDMS for your screen captures.

I've written Android tutorials of IT matters for the very non-technical populous of my campus, they manage to get through it. Unless your audience is particularly deficient in their ability to follow simple directions, you should be ok.

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If they have to enable installation of non-market apps, I'm skeptical, but okay. – ashes999 Oct 18 '11 at 12:51
That's a security feature, so I doubt there'll be any way around it. – Kylotan Oct 18 '11 at 13:07
Even the Amazon AppStore needs that feature to be enabled. see here: – somehume Oct 18 '11 at 16:40

It looks like it's possible to do this by building the application and either hosting it on some local server you control (and then downloading it on the device in question) or manually copying the binary via a USB connection.

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Is there any other way? I'm not sure how tech savvy my users will be, so the simpler, the better. Two steps is admittedly not much. – ashes999 Oct 18 '11 at 1:41
No idea. My knowledge of this domain is limited. – Josh Petrie Oct 18 '11 at 1:41

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