The Google Play Store is usually the go-to place for Android Apps, but it’s not the only place. Though Google doesn’t allow other apps stores to be downloaded from within Google Play itself, that doesn’t mean you can’t get them. Here are the best app store alternatives to the Play Store.
To install these apps you must first go into your settings menu, then to security, and finally tick the unknown sources box. This will now let you install apps (or APKs) from outside of Google Play.
Go here for a full explanation of what an APK file is and how to install them.
As a word of warning, enabling unknown settings means the apps installed do not have Google’s seal of approval. And it also means that the apps you download through these stores may not have Google’s seal of approval either.
We’ve done what we can to verify the apps stores recommended here, but be careful when downloading updates or any other apps.
1. Amazon Appstore for Android
When looking beyond Google Play, the Amazon App Store is the place to start. Here you can get thousands of free and paid apps, as well as paid apps for free.
Amazon gives away a paid app for free every day and using Amazon's dedicated app store is the only way to access them. Amazon also regularly offers free bundles of paid apps (good ones, too).
Aside from great free titles, the Amazon app store has a huge selection books, movies and songs -- often at lower prices than on Google Play. Download the Amazon app at the link, but be aware that you must have an Amazon account to use the service.
GetJar is an alternate app store app with a vast array of free apps to download. These can be filtered with the categories (and subcategories), which are mostly the same as in the Google Play Store, such as Productivity, Finance, Photos, among others.
GetJar isn’t just for Android phones either, it has cross-platform support (iOS, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile etc), and also employs user comments (likes and dislikes, and Facebook support).
Mobegenie market features many apps which can be found in the Play Store, but claims to have an “intelligent” recommendation system to suggest the best apps for your use.
It’s certainly a more sophisticated and professional looking store, and houses a file manager to organize downloads like ringtones, wallpapers, videos and more.
This combines with a desktop app for easy file management between your computer and smartphone/tablet. It’s easy to navigate, secure and also integrates a backup option.
SlideME offers a variety of free and paid Android apps which are also rated by users from the site’s large community. What's more, all apps in the database have been manually approved after testing.
SlideME's apps can be filtered, with options such as newest, updated, ratings, and categories like education, lifestyle, languages etc. The app is available in multiple languages and many currencies are accepted. The SlideME app can be installed for free from the SlideME website.
F-Droid can be installed from the official website, and it certainly presents refreshing idea. Unlike other app stores, F-Droid is funded by donations, and the apps themselves don’t have reviews or ratings. But all of the apps contained within there are FOSS (Free and Open Source Software).
It's an excellent app store for developers because anyone can access the code of these apps for free. You might find a particular app feature or functionality which you like and would want to use for your own app, and you can, just access the code and copy it.
The downside is that the apps are not always as "professional" as can be found in stores like Google Play and the Amazon app store. Still, for developers, it's highly recommended.
What do you think is the best alternative to the Google Play Store? Let us know in the comments below.