10 Alternatives to the Android Market
It is given that Google Play, formerly known as Android Market is the place to look for app if you own an Android device. It is the official app store for the Android operating system, allowing users to browse and download applications developed with the Android SDK and published through Google, and by far is the largest Android app store with more than 1,300,000 apps on the market.
However, Google’s Android Market is not the only place you can get Android apps. Whether you are looking for free or paid apps, social recommendations or an app store to replace a missing Android Market, you have more than one choice. Each app store is completely legit, and the ones that offer free apps does pay the developer for the privilege.
Also, not all android developers are willing to pay an annual fee to Google Play store to list their apps, so they might choose to upload them in alternative markets.
Allowing Non-Market Apps
By default, Android blocks you from installing apps from anywhere that isn’t the Google Play. To use any of these alternative stores, you have to first enable the option by going into Settings – Security. Then under Device Administration, enable the Unknown sources option as shown in the screenshot below.
The prime alternative to Google Play is definitely the Amazon Appstore, which opened up its doors in 2011 mainly to cater for Amazon’s Kindle line of tablets with approximately 240,000 apps in its marketplace. Although Amazon offers a smaller selection of apps and games, you will find higher quality apps as everything has to pass Amazon’s quality control standards.
There are two obvious advantages to using Amazon Appstore. Amazon features one paid app as a free download per day which has some good premium apps. There is also a Test Drive feature to try out apps in the browser before purchasing.
GetJar which is downloadable from Google Play offers users paid apps at no charge in its Gold Apps section every week. Through the GetJar Gold system and the GetJar rewards app, you can discover apps tailored for your requirements. Developers can integrate in-app currency with the option to target new users, and it has 50 million users. Unlike Amazon’s app giveaways, GetJar’s app giveaways do not expire.
Similar to Amazon Appstore, SlideME offers free and premium apps that passes through a quality control process. While SlideME store has just about 30,000 apps at the time of this writing, users would be pleased to know that they only get high quality apps as there are more than 60 percent rejection of apps submitted to SlideME.
The main attraction for users is availability globally and SlideME supports various payment options including PayPal. It is also easy to filter your searches as there are good app descriptions. SlideME Market comes pre-installed on a variety of devices in 140 OEMs, particularly in regions where the Android Market is not available. When users buy an app on SlideME, the developer gets a higher percentage of the revenue than the standard 70 percent as in most places.
F-Droid is focused on free and open source software (FOSS). Users will find a big selection of free apps and they all feature no ads, no tracking, and no dependencies. If you support the open source movement, it is worth checking out the free apps.
AppsLib is an alternative Android market that caters for Android devices that could not get Google certification. It comes pre-installed mainly on tablets from smaller manufacturers. There are more than 38,000 apps available in this market at the time of writing ranging from free to paid apps. AppsLib supports PayPal as a payment option as well. Developers can target devices beyond the reach of the Play Store with AppsLib.
Baidu App Store
Baidu, the Chinese search giant also features an app store for Android users. Users can find custom apps made by Baidu as well as collections from other companies, and there might be some interesting apps for Android to be found here.
Opera Mobile Store
The Opera Mobile Store which was launched in 2011 is a popular alternative among Android users, with over 60 million monthly visitors. There are many useful and unique apps falling within different categories to be found here. Opera Mobile Store does not only serve Android, but also iOS, Windows Phone, Symbian, BlackBerry, Java, and HTML 5 as well.
AppsZoom lists most of the famous apps that is available in Google Play as well as some other useful and unique Android apps. The apps are categorized and sub-categorized for easy searching, and there are also options to list by top apps and today’s picks for easy browsing.
PandaApp is another market which lists apps for free. There are many interesting and useful apps here for you to populate your Android device without burning a hole in your wallet. However, do make a point to read the description and reviews before downloading so that you are downloading the right app for your device.
MIUI refers to the Xiaomi OS. Apart from having their own OS for Android devices, there are also many unique apps not found anywhere else. Android users can browse to the MIUI website to browse and download the galore of useful apps for their Android, and while you are there, do have a look at their tips and tricks for the most common Android issues.