As well as installing applications from the Android Market, you can also install the applications manually, directly on your Android phone/device. Android applications come in the form of an APK file. Here are step-by-step instructions explaining how to install one manually:
First, copy the APK file to your Android device.
Plug your android device in to your PC with a USB cable. When you’ve done so, a “USB connected” notification alerts you on your device. Open the notifications area and select the “USB Connection” to copy files to your device from computer. A message box will pop up asking you if you want to “mount” the phone’s SD card — select “Mount”.
Having done this, you should be able to see your device’s SD card in a file explorer (on Windows, open an Explorer window). Copy the APK file to the device’s CD card (on Windows, drag and drop the file).
Once it’s copied, unmount your Android device before removing the USB cable. You must unmount the device now, or you won’t be able to install the application.
Tell your phone to allow 3rd-party applications.
On your device, go to the home screen and press MENU, go to Settings -> Applicaitons and turn on Unknown sources. You will have to accept a scary warning about how this makes your phone more vulnerable to attack.
The truth of this warning is debatable if you ask me. Anyone can get an account with Google and upload their applications to the Android Market. So in reality, there isn’t much difference. The only differences that I can see is that, in theory, Google could remove a malicious application from the Market and from your phone (remotely). In practice, the only time they’ve ever done this was to appease T-Mobile by removing a useful tethering application. Anyway…
Install the application.
The easiest way to do this is by downloading the Apps Installer application from the Android Market. This application just displays any APK files in the root of the device’s SD card and lets you install them. Another application that allows you to do this is the ASTRO file browser, also available form the Market.
Access the installed application from the applications menu.