When developer redphx sent over his latest creation last night – a Chrome extension that would allow you to download .apk files directly from the Android Market to your desktop – we had two immediate thoughts. The first, “Wow, this is actually really cool and could be useful down the road.” The second was, “While it’s cool and all, how frowned upon by Google and developers is this going to be?” And the reason I asked myself that second question is because pulling an installed .apk file from your phone isn’t normally the simplest procedure (and probably for a few good reasons).
In most cases, a user needs to be rooted and have the understanding of where to look on their phone in order to accomplish the task. We would assume that this is made difficult to help stop piracy, protect users’ security, and to not let applications float freely around without control. This Chrome extension changes all of that. All you need to do is install the extension, give it a bit of device info and a legit Market login and you can start ripping .apks. Paid applications cannot be downloaded unless the Market login you gave had already purchased the app. So this isn’t a way to get paid apps for free, it’s just a way to get the .apk file without any fuss.
It’s not all bad though. How many times have we posted up a new app that was only available to select devices? Most of the time these apps can run on other phones, but the developer has only optimized them for a select few. This extension would give you to the opportunity to try out those apps even if the Market, your carrier, or developer has decided that you shouldn’t. Take Google Wallet for example. No need to use our browser trick if you have this extension installed.
So if this interests you, keep in mind that it asks for some bits of info that not everyone will be comfortable dishing out – like your device ID and Gmail login info. This is all apparently stored on a cookie that is only on your PC, but still, proceed with caution. You also have to tweak some Chrome security settings.
And yes, it works.
More Info: Apk Downloader Page