Will an Android App That Is ‘Not Compatible’ with Your Device Still Work?

In a word, maybe. That was the determination I arrived at after setting out to experiment with this question. It all came about because of a weather app that gave me fits, thanks to a rather minor problem that simply proved too annoying to ignore. Here is the short version of the story — Since purchasing the Asus MeMO tablet sometime back, I have been using the Accuweather app. I like it just fine, but I wanted the Weather Channel app I use on my Galaxy Nexus. Sorry, incompatible. The one thing I did not like about Accuweather was the warnings of severe weather — a red exclamation point with no information regarding what this was about. Should I be looking for a tornado? Hurricane?

However when Google sent me the new Nexus 7, I noted that Weather Channel was available for it, perhaps due to its HD screen (the MeMO is SD). So, not tablet incompatible, not Android version incompatible (it only requires 2.2 or newer)…just Asus MeMO incompatible.

I went searching for an APK to test this out, and found one here. The app installed with no problem and works just fine, picking up my location automatically in mere seconds. When open, it also scales beautifully to the 7-inch screen, as you can see in the image below.

weather channel app

One drawback was the widgets are not scaled to the bigger screen, which is strange given that the app scaled. As you can see in the image below, the widget is a bit lost on the large tablet screen.

weather channel widget

With this said there are some considerations before you go adding APK files to your Android device for every app you want, but didn’t think you could have.

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First, you need to make sure your device is running a compatible version of the Android operating system. Many, but not all apps, have rather minimum requirements — frequently version 2.3 or newer. If your device doesn’t meet this then the app simply will not run.

Second, be warned that some apps simply are not going to scale up, or not do it very well, at least. This can result in a rather poor user experience.

Finally, you must always be careful when installing APK files, because you may not always get exactly what you are expecting. The stories of malware on the mobile platform are very true — bad apps are out there and APK files are the easiest way to spread them.

Conclusion

The bottom line is simply to use caution and don’t expect everything to work as you hope it will. There will be some failures, and perhaps more of them than successes, but if you are careful then it certainly can not hurt to try.

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