**** NOTE HBO GO NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE FIRE FROM AMAZON
I'll leave this here because it shows the process of side-loading apps on to the fire.****
The Kindle Fire is a great little tablet. It has polish and sturdiness that you wouldn't expect for a $199 device.
For most people, I think it would more than take care of their tablet needs. iPad killer? Probably not, it lacks a few things that will probably prevent it from ever taking down the king.
So what is it missing? The obvious answers are screen size, camera, mic, and storage. The less obvious is apps. By default you can only get apps on the Fire from the amazon app store. And while there are tons of apps on there, it pales in comparison to the Google Android Market.
One thing missing from the Amazon app store HBO Go, which is a great streaming service for HBO subscribers. While you can get HBO Go in the android market, the Fire apparently is out of luck.
One other nice feature of the Fire is that you can "side-load" apps - meaning you can install programs without using the Amazon App Store. So here is how to install HBO Go on the Kindle Fire.
A couple of things to note. First, HBO Go displays at a rather crappy resolution. Don't expect the sharp awesome picture of an iPad's native HBO Go app. It isn't perfect but still beats the jitter fest that is HBO Go's flash site.
Second, this process requires you to have an android device that has access to Google's android market, and can run HBO Go.
Third, I use Astro, ES File Explorer, and a computer to perform this task. If you are savvy and want to use other methods, you probably don't need this "how to", and you already know that there are other ways to do this.
So now the process:
On the Fire: tap the settings gear (upper right corner of the display) and then click more. Select devices, then on "Allow Installation of Applications from unknown sources" select ON
Now, you will need to go to your android phone/device that has Android Market on it.
You will need to have both HBO Go, and another app: Astro installed on this device. Both should be available in the Android Market. If you don't see HBO Go there, it means your device is not capable of running it.
Once both are installed on your device, run Astro. This is a file browsing/backup utility. Tap the menu button on your device, and then select tools, then application backup. You will then be presented with a list of apps installed on the device. Select HBO Go, then press the menu button, then Backup.
Once completed, you now have an .apk file that you can install on another android device (like the Fire).
We now need to get this to the fire. I found the following way to be the simplest, but there are many ways to do this.
Connect your phone/device to your computer, and attach it as mass storage. Browse to the backups folder, then apps. inside you will see your .apk file copy this to your computer. The desktop or other scratch space should work.
Disconnect your phone. Now connect your Fire to the computer. Copy your .apk to the "Downloads" folder.
Once completed, you can disconnect the Fire. Go to the Amazon market and install the app "ES File Explorer"
Once that is done installing, open it, and browse to your "Downloads" folder. You should see your .apk file. touch it and install.
You can use this same process to install other apps not found in the Amazon App Store, For example I used it to install ESPN's Fantasy Football 2011 app. But not all apps will work on all devices, so you may have mixed results.