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I've googled about application side-loading (i.e., installing an application on an Android device without having to go through an app store), and most instructions mention that the device might need to be rooted to do that.

I am looking for an Android tablet to host a custom-built application, but I don't want to root the device (for reasons of warranty, stability and support). Do most devices officially support sideloading of applications? I've tried googling but only found results related to particular devices.

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Lists like this are off-topic. I'm going to rewrite this to fit the answer, as it were, rather than close it. – Matthew Read Apr 12 '12 at 16:04
@MatthewRead: Thank you! – Heinzi Apr 12 '12 at 17:16
up vote 8 down vote accepted

Usually sideloading is not prevented by the manufacturer, but by the operator. All the tablets I've tried had no operator customizations and supported sideloading. Of course, this depends on your country and operator.

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Agree, prevention of side-loading is very rarely something done by the manufacturer, it is the phone network that will change settings to block side-loading. Due to this, you can fairly safely assume that wifi-only tablets allow side-loading as they are independent of the phone-network. – GAThrawn Apr 12 '12 at 10:36

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