Best App Store Alternatives To Google Play Store
Yes, we know. We always start our Android security talk with the dangers of downloading non Play Store apps and encourage you to stick to trusted resources, whenever you can.
And that advice still stands.
However, if you take the necessary precautions and stay alert, you can also safely explore alternative options for downloading apps and there may be several reasons why you would want to do that.
First (and maybe even foremost), it’s curiosity. You may be simply interested to see what else is out there and who are we to blame you? Despite the common knowledge that “curiosity killed the cat”, you may discover lots of upsides of exploration and be rewarded for your risk.
Second, you may be tempted by financial benefits. Third party app stores, having to compete with a loveable giant like Google Play Store, often offer promotions, discounts or even free apps to attract more users. So you may get a great deal on a premium app or try a paid launcher you’ve always wanted to.
Third, a number of stores go the extra mile and offer free advice and reviews of the applications they offer. This is quite helpful when you are not very versed in the Android world or are just looking for something new to try. Surely, you can always find reviews online, but having the option of getting it all in one spot is convenient and time-saving.
Fourth, you may be looking for something more specific than a larger selection of apps on Google Play. Whether it’s a specific type of app, age group or country – you may be able to find a store that caters to your precise requirement. And even thought the app selection may be smaller that you are used to, it will be all centered around what you want.
Before you venture out on your exploratory trip of Android application stores, let’s go over a few security tips one more time.
First, if you want to download apps from elsewhere than Google Play Store, you will need to start by going to Settings>Security and enable downloads from Unknown Sources.
Second, you will need to download top of the line Android Security app, that will keep your phone safe in case anything goes wrong. The fact that you will download an app from a different place than Google Play Store does not mean by itself that the app may contain malware. Actually, most stores have strict security policies, just as Google Play. But these policies will differ from store to store and you will have no way of knowing for sure what to expect.
Third, if you do download an app and discover that it’s misbehaving or giving you any kind of trouble – uninstall it and move on.
So let’s get down to it. Here are a few alternative Android App Stores.
The second big name in app shopping is surely Amazon and many users put it on the same shelf with Google Play Store – as a safe and credible place to go for a new application. So with Amazon, your safety is …safe – and that’s a big plus.
The selection of apps is quite extensive, with a number of Amazon-exclusive options that are not to be found elsewhere.
True, there may not be as many applications available as o Google Play, but you will probably be able to find most of the things you are looking for. As an extra benefit, Amazon offers a “paid app for free” every day – so it may be a great place for bargain hunting.
GetJar is not a new player on the market and already has its own loyal group of users. What’s special about this store is lots and lots of free stuff: from free apps to free upgrades to premium versions. How does GetJar do that? They offer free stuff to get traffic and then charge for advertising – which opens up into probably the only negative about the store – sponsored recommendations (which, in GeJar’s defense, are clearly marked as such). The store also features GetJar Gold System, allowing you to gather Rewards and then exchange them for free apps and upgrades. All in all, a great choice when you are on the lookout for free content.
SlideMe’s main selling point is the interface. Just as the name implies, this store is super-easy to navigate and searching for new applications will be a piece of cake. For your convenience, the store will bring up the popular apps up front, so that you can quickly see what’s trending.
SlideMe offers both and free and premium applications and is available globally – so you can download the apps in the store no matter where you are.
If you are looking for quality, safety as well as comprehensive app rating – go with CNET. All available applications are carefully tested and then assigned a rating, which helps you make a better choice and also significantly brings down the chances of getting a bad app. You many not get a large selection of apps, as with other stores, but you will be assured that what you are downloading is safe and malware free.
When you want to go off the beaten track and look for something outside the box – try Mobango. This store offers a great selection of less known applications and if you search long enough, you may come across some hidden jewels and get a few nice additions to your app collection. The store is a true find when it comes to gaming and, among less familiar developers, you will also find big names, like Disney and Zeptolabs. Mobango is a quite popular store and can boast having over 8 million users.
AndroidPit is another store you go to when looking for quality. The store takes great care to make sure the listed apps go through all the malware checks and will do exactly what they are supposed to without causing you trouble or spamming you to death. There may not be as many apps on offer as in the previous stores and you may not find anything too special or different about this store – but it’s a reliable and stable alternative for good quality products.
F-Droid is a free store with a simple interface that focuses on open source applications, or FOSS (Free and Open Source Software). Basically, the applications you download from F-Droid are open for modification and enhancement and, as we have already mentioned, are free. In addition to being free, the apps have no tracking, ads or any tie-ins. The app surely caters to niche users, but if you are interested or already support the open source movement – you will want to give it a try.
What makes AppsLib different is the fact that it is mostly tablet-oriented and focuses on reaching out to Android devices that didn’t get Google Certification. There are around 40, 000 applications to choose from with each one being compatible with a particular range of devices. You can do a quick search for the app you want or browse through categories and pay for it with PayPal.