The Android app store is the largest mobile store in the world, offering around 3 million apps and games. It has support for thousands of different devices and is an incredibly popular store with a diverse range of content. There is plenty of free content to choose from, lots of paid apps, and plenty that offer in-app purchases so, for the end-user it’s a great choice, right?
Well, yes but it isn’t the only choice. And what about the developers? The Play Store is a good platform for app developers, it offers a global distribution and is a decent revenue model but it doesn’t always work. Advertising isn’t that great, some apps need to be submitted several times before being accepted, and rarely do they get onto the recommended apps list, severely limiting their audience. And when you throw geo-restrictions into the mix, well, its a wonder these developers, especially the small, independent ones, stand any chance of selling their apps.
I mentioned choices – for both developers and end-users alike, there are now many alternative stores that offer another platform and another potential revenue stream. These alternatives offer lots of content, some free, some paid, and shortly we’ll be looking at some of them. First, let’s get some more info about alternatives.
Why Should You Use An Alternative?
At the end of the day, the Play Store is huge and it should cover everything but, sadly it doesn’t. There may be a few million apps and it may be relatively profitable for developers but it has its problems. For a start, there’s no unofficial content, something lots of users want without having to root their devices. Developers have to pay to submit their apps and it isn’t cheap, especially when there is little app promotion on offer and the geo-restrictions mean that not all apps will get to the widest audience possible.
Some of these alternatives only offer unofficial content, including modified apps, unlocked games, and more, and everything is offered for free and, another benefit for developers, app submissions are generally cheaper, if not free.
Advantages of an Alternative Android App Store
Alternative app stores offer several cool benefits for users and developers alike:
- Developers get cheaper or free app submission
- They get much better promotion and a chance of being on the recommended lists; plus there are some great deals on advertising to be had too
- Developers get to widen their audience and the potential for extra revenue in some cases
- Geo-restrictions are eliminated; all apps are available anywhere in the world. Developers benefit from a bigger audience and end-users can download apps that were otherwise out of reach for them
- Some app stores offer completely free content, modified, tweaked and unofficial and there’s no need to root an Android device to use any of it
Happy with the benefits? Then let’s look at some of the stores available today
Top 10 Android App Store Alternatives
One of the main issues with the official Android app store is that developers are facing a lot of tough competition when they submit their apps and it isn’t easy to make one app stand out above all others. When a developer has to submit their app over and over before it is accepted, it’s disheartening so it makes sense to look for alternative platforms. And the end-users get a great deal more choice of apps so here are just ten of the very best alternative Android app stores, in no specific order.
- Panda Helper
Panda Helper is totally different from the official Android store in that it only offers modded apps and games. But it doesn’t stop there. These apps are uploaded by the Panda Helper store developers and by members of the public. There are likely to be several different versions of many apps, each having a different type of modification and there are notes with each one to tell you what that mod is. Users download these apps, try them out, and rate/review them. Those with the best ratings are put at the top of the list so you know you are getting a safe, working app. Any app submission is scanned for viruses before it can be admitted and the store is completely free to download and use.
Nearly ten years old, AppsZoom is a popular testing platform and, over time, thousands of apps have made their way to it. It is a cross-platform store but it offers Android users plenty of free and paid apps to choose from, all scanned for viruses and checked for exploits before they are allowed in. For developers, it’s an excellent platform, especially if their app works on multiple platforms. Encryption secures downloads so users can be sure they are getting a safe app and, with thousands of developers and app reviews, it is one of the most comprehensive app stores, visited by over 4 million people a month.
- Amazon App Store
Everyone knows the name, Amazon. It is the largest, most comprehensive online marketplace in the world, with online stores catering to hundreds of countries. It offers books, music, movies, products, even groceries but not many people are aware that it also has an app store. And that app store has been proven, time and again, to be just as good, if not better than the official Android store. The app store was opened in 2011 and it has a great choice of apps and games, around 500,000, which may not be anywhere near what the official store has but it’s quality, not quantity, that counts. Some of these apps are free and some require payment. The app store is easy to use, and you even get to use a unique Amazon currency system for purchasing apps and in-app purchases.
ACMarket is the most comprehensive and popular unofficial app store in the world. It was one of the very first unofficial alternatives released, and it is completely free – that includes every app and game in the store. ACMarket offers users thousands of unofficial Android apps and games – modified stock apps, tweaked games, unlocked games, screen recorders, emulators, and so much more. Lots of these apps have been given extra features and the in-app bonuses and features are all unlocked for free.
Launched in 2009, AppBrain is a collaborative store between the developer, Mathjis Vogelzang, and AppTornado, a company based in Zurich. It is one of the most reliable; every day, there are more than 2 million installations and more than 100 million active users every month. It is one of the most global stores, reaching 236 countries and offering over 70,000 apps and games, with new stuff being added all the time. For the developers, there’s a decent app promotion model, competitive pricing, fraud detection, CPI pricing, and lots more. The app store also includes filters so users can find what they want easily.
Based in the USA, SlideMe opened in 2008 and soon rose to the number two slot, second only to the official app store. The developers focus on security, ensuring all apps are virus-scanned and tested for exploits before they are allowed into the store. With thousands of advisors and developers, end-users get a huge choice of apps and games, and developers get all the help they need to fix bugs, market and price their apps, and much more.
TutuApp isn’t so much of an app store; rather it helps you modify the apps you already use on your device. You can remove the ads, remove app restrictions, modify the games, remove license verification, and more. An in-built system cleaner keeps your device clean and you get an easy way to back your system up.
1Mobile offers developers a way of testing their apps and, once declared secure and free of viruses, it can be uploaded to the store for users to download and try it out. There is a decent app recommendation system, allowing developers every chance to get their app promoted, widening their audience, and increasing revenue. For the end-user, they get to try out free versions of premium apps and beta apps, and filters to make searches easier.
One of the first alternatives, Aptoide offers the best 4* and 5* apps on its independent platform. It is open-source and all content is categorized, including easy access to Recommended apps lists, Top Local downloads, and much more. With the categories, it is much easier for the app developers to get their apps to the right audience.
- Opera Mobile Store
Lastly, another cross-platform store. Opera Mobile Store has been in existence since 2011 and it offers a huge choice of apps and games for all platforms, including Android. It is a popular store and has over 100,000 visitors every month. With more than 7000 devices supported, its an excellent platform for developers to target their apps.
Give these alternatives a try; you never know, you might just find the best alternative to the official store for your needs. Share this with others and let us know if you can think of any other alternative stores.