- Posted by Kateryna Bozhenko
- On November 15, 2017
- 1 Comments
- alternative android marketplace, alternative apps store, android app stores, app stores for android, google play alternatives, other android app stores
In the last five years, Android OS has become the most popular operating system in the world. It’s initially installed on the smartphones, tablets, e-books, smart watches, smart TVs and generally “smart electronics”. Nowadays it’s even spreading to the laptop-market and may soon defy the authority of the Leviathan – Microsoft and its ubiquitous Windows.
If we take a look at the amount of devices running the operating systems mentioned above, it will be rather obvious that “the green robot” is already ahead: about 1 billion Android-devices are getting on the market every year which basically equals the general amount of Windows-powered devices!
App stores as an integral part of the Android ecosystem
It’s not a secret that Android’s app store named Google Play (previously known as Android Market) is one of the biggest reasons for its success.Google Play Store seems to be exactly the thing to make Android so attractive for the users. The huge app choice, lots of which are free, and a big market, where everyone can find the right pick, ensure that Android remains popular. It’s not just about games and programs anymore: you can buy music, books and even films you like. But it’s hard to argue that exactly the apps are needed the most since there are about 2 millions of them available at the moment.
It’s about 2 times more than what Apple App Store has. But not every user can get the access to that huge store: for example, it’s not available on Kindle. No access to Google Play doesn’t automatically mean no apps for your device, though. Google has decided to let their users choose if they want to use their store or another e-shop, unlike Apple who provide no alternative for the App Store. So, Google Play is the official market app for Android, but it certainly isn’t the only one.
Installing applications for Android from other sources than Google Play is easy. All you need to do is to allow installing of “Apps From Unknown Sources” in the settings (it’s usually located under Settings -> Security) and get to one of the countless alternative stores (where they’ll probably want you to install their own proprietary app, which is used to manage their apps).
There are loads of such stores, but to count the most popular ones we’ll only need ten fingers. In the list below there’s a fresh top-10 list with a detailed description for each one.
So, why look for alternatives in the first place?
The question that you would be absolutely right to ask is why would you even need something like this when not a single one of the alternative stores comes even close to Google’s one in regard to apps amount. We’ll try to explain it.
You just finished working on your big Android app and are ready to make some profit with it? Wonder how to do this? The easiest way is probably to pay $25, get developer account at Google Play and add your app there. But there are alternatives, each of which has its own audience that could give you lots of downloads.
Some of those app stores have started as local ones, for quite a little amount of people. Most of them don’t demand any money for adding the app, so we get the cheap possibility to gain some publicity, new installs, and feedback for your app.
We can give you at least four other reasons to use alternative app sources:
- First, there are great offers — you can often find some huge discounts or local sales which the publishers use to gain new customers. You can grab some quality apps there for a small price or even for free.
- The second reason is the buying experience: 2.5 millions of apps in Google Play make a giant mess. You can sort it however you want and from time to time it’ll still be almost impossible to find something useful there. The popular apps are always on the top and the new ones are so hard to find.
- Third, although Google is always talking about its progressive views about how to manage the store, they block and restrict quite a lot of apps. For example, some apps aren’t available in certain countries, ad blockers aren’t welcome anymore, adult content is under huge pressure too. Lots of apps aren’t even on the market: first of all those that aren’t fit for their policy. You can’t download or buy apps that allow you to download YouTube videos, there are apps that couldn’t be downloaded in certain countries because of sanctions made by governments.
- And last but not least, letting the apps in almost without any quality checks, Google has made it possible for some absolute scam apps to get inside of its store (which is somewhat illogical given that the apps can get removed for no reason). Sometimes those apps are simply useless, but from time to time they even try to inflict some damage: there were incidents when the programs from Google Play could steal your personal data or even secretly spy on you.
It’s almost certainly not the full list of reasons, but we believe it’s already enough to be said about the alternatives to Google Play. If you don’t want to lose out on any content, it’s worth it to try to use something along with Google Play. We’ll list ten options that let you download the apps.
SlideME is one of the oldest app stores for Android, it’s even older than Google Play. More than the half of devices without Google Play on board have this app installed. SlideME takes 20% of the publisher’s income as the commission and offers a wide variety of ways to pay, including PayPal, which Google Play doesn’t support. Sometimes SlideME can get your Android app even more downloads than Google Play, so it’s something that you certainly have to try it out.
- Amazon Appstore
One of the biggest Google rivals is Amazon, and their Appstore takes the second spot on our chart. Amazon has its own mobile devices, for example, Kindle Fire or Fire Phone (based on Android modification called Fire OS). However, most Android apps available at this service work correctly with most Android devices. And if they do, it takes just a couple of changes to make them function.
You can also publish your HTML5 and web apps on Amazon Appstore. There are more than 240000 apps on the market now, and this amount grows steadily. All the info you can find on Amazon developers portal.
- Samsung Galaxy Apps
Samsung is the biggest Android-phones manufacturer, so it’s pretty natural that they have their own app store. It’s pre-installed on all their Samsung Galaxy devices which provides a consistent user base. The problem is that their app base isn’t nearly as big — only about 20 000 apps.
- Opera Mobile Store
Apps can be launched for free on Opera Mobile Store, but you only get 70% of the income the app generates. Opera has a contract with the biggest Russian search engine Yandex, which helps them promote their store in this country. Stats on this marketplace read the following: about 200 000 apps, 100 million visitors per month and 2 million downloads daily.
- 1Mobile Market
1Mobile Market only takes free apps, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider it as the alternative to Google Play. The publishing process is free, but your app should get validated first. It won’t be a problem as long as it doesn’t have any content that threatens the safety of other user’s devices. The developers insist that they have more than 100 million installs and 800 000 apps. There’s a recommendations system, which helps you find something new basing on what you liked or didn’t like.
- Soc.io Mall
Soc.io Mall’s slogan is “Android store that loves developers”. They offer 80% of income and let you get an app published for free. There are just about 10000 apps right now, but their market doesn’t stop on apps — you can buy games, books and soon also music, video, and audiobooks. The active user base is not as big as we’ve seen earlier, but that also means fewer rivals.
MOBANGO is the store with free publishing opportunities and about 100 000 apps on the market. The audience is about two millions users that download thousands of apps daily. All of this makes it quite attractive for developers.
F-droid only works with free apps. You can download them through official site or a special F-droid app. The platform will automatically update your apps. This platform was launched as a Kickstarter project. Every app should be registered under a GNU license. Apps with ads or paid content are available, but can be found only through search and won’t be listed at the front page.
GetJar is a recommendation service like iMobile with about 30 million users, 3 million downloads per day and 70000 apps in their base. GetJar supports the Freemium app model (free app with paid content) instead of taking the commission. They also offer their own virtual currency — GetJar Gold.
Mobile9 has more than 40 million of active users, so it’s another option you should consider. People can exchange the apps and the feedback on them, all of this makes a huge social network for mobile applications. One more advantage is the free app publication. 200+ million downloads per month and only 30 000 developers: it’s an attractive platform for new publishers.
If you already tried everything above, it’s time for local app stores from China (AppChina, nDuo, 360.cn, Wandoujia). That step can bring you loads of success in the new market, but you’ll need to learn about their laws first and probably find some local company that will be able to push your product there to a whole new market.
Google Play is not available in this country, and neither is any of the services mentioned above because of extremely harsh internet regulation, so you will most likely need assistance of a local publisher to get to the audience. However, it is most certainly worth the effort because the mobile area is booming in China. The citizens of this land make an average of 3 purchases per day with their mobile phones, and it’s up to you to claim your market share.
There’s a lot of alternative app stores where you can sell your app as well as find something interesting, and every single one of them has its own advantages and disadvantages. Although none of them could possibly replace Google Play they can be a source of additional downloads and potential clients. Most of them don’t demand additional investments, so there’s no reason to refrain from these opportunities.
There are also numerous other ways to get to the audience. For instance, you can include your app info Humble Bundle. Forums like XDA are also a great source of feedback.
If you are looking for an expert help in app development and promotion, you’ve come to the right place. Feel free to contact us and send your questions! We are ready to start working with you today.