There are many app stores for Android devices which are less popular, but sometimes more useful. Most commonly used Android app market is Play Market from Google. The reason that alternative app stores appeared and are in use now is the fact Play Market cannot satisfy needs of all Android devices owners appropriately.
More than that there are several meaningful disadvantages and limitations in Play Market. New alternative app stores for Android continue to grow and gain popularity among Android developers and mobile app users.
Why seek alternative Android app stores?
There are more than 2 billions of apps published in Google Play Market. There are only several dozens of apps in tops for each category, and only some of them can be fit to recommendations feed. As a result, there is a little chance for an app to appear at the category top and become visible to a large audience of users.
There would be even less chance if geographical preferences wouldn’t count when customizing category top section. Do to high competitions developers publish their apps in alternative stores. Although there is much less audience, there are much more chances to appear at the top of the category list.
List of app stores for Android (by features)
Some of these stores possess several meaningful features and can be fit to several groups. However, there is always the most meaningful feature that defines app stores. For example, Amazon App Stores can be fit to specialized stores as it was initially developed to offer media content for Kindle readers. However, due to the fact it is now expanded and pre-installed in Amazon mobile devices, it is more fit to the group of mobile device manufacturers app stores.
1. Specialized Android app stores
Some stores have a specialized core content. It allows the large audience and makes an app store more attractive for an app developer.
- WhiteApp – an app store where one can purchase rights on an app or use an existing app for construction or as a part of another app. Target Audience: developers. Advantages: loyal audience, high conversion rate
- Kongregate – contains flash-games mainly. The audience makes more than 6 millions of users all over the world. There are more than 120 000 android apps in the store base.
- Itch.io – this app store was a community for games developers previously. Now it is a web-site containing mainly free apps for Android. A big advantage of this store is the fact it has a big and loyal audience with common consumer preferences. Most of the users are fond of fantasy genre apps in particularly. Audience: fans of fantasy genre, indie-game enthusiasts, developers, game designers. Advantages: loyal audience, connections with large and active community of developers.
- Android Tapp –an app store where only apps with paid content or paid apps. There is a strict moderation in this store and only the best apps can pass it. There are more than 10 millions of visitors and 4 millions of downloads for today. Audience: users that pay for apps. Advantages: high conversion rate.
- Codengo – an app store aggregator. Once you published an app in Codengo, the service will automatically publish your app in other stores. It costs 99$.
- Cisco AppHQ – it is an app store developed by one of the largest business software manufacturers. So this store mainly contains apps developed to solve business issues. There are less than 1500 business apps in this store, however, it is not a disadvantage for a store as those are all developed for business users. Audience: business related users, companies. Advantages: loyal audience, low competition.
- Appolicious – it is a window-shop developed in partnership with Yahoo. Along with a catalog, there are many reviews on apps here. Advantages: high user involvement.
- Appbackr – the app store is in development at the moment. It has its own recommendation service and principles of app rating enforced.
- Exent – it is an app store for app store development. You can find tools and services here useful for those fond of running their own app stores.
- OpenAppMkt – it is an app for mobile devices based on HTML5.
2. Regional / Localized Android app stores
Most of the popular alternative app stores have huge audiences. There are lot of reasons of Chinese app stores to be so popular. First one is the fact Play Market was blocked on the territory of China in 2011. The second one is that it is tough for foreign developers to localize apps in Chinese, as well as develop apps fit for Asian audiences. Moreover, there are plenty of app stores developed by cell phone operators in countries where English is neither native or widespread language.
- Vodafone AppSelect – official app store of Vodafone cell phone operator from Britain. This Android app is for European users and BlackBerry/Symbian apps are localized for users from Africa. There is a free trial period enforced for developers. Vodafone has more than 450 millions of users all over the world. Advantages: free trial period, large potential audience.
- T-Mobile Mall – official app store of T-Mobile cell phone operator from Germany. This store is more shop-window than an app store as it mainly links to apps published in official app stores like BlackBerry AppWorld, Google Play, and Windows Marketplace. It has more than 152 millions of users all over the Europe.
- Russia: Yandex.Store – on the territory of former USSR countries Yandex.Store from Yandex search engine is rather popular. It offers promotion using Yandex services, search engine, billing, internal currency and integrated services for app developers. Most of the users are native Russian speakers, so Russian is the main language for apps published in Yandex.Store. The app store is not developing its services at the moment. However, there are still more than 100000 apps in the catalog.
- Netherlands: Apptown – it is a Dutch app store for Android, Blackberry, Symbian, Windows Mobile, WP7, Palm and iOS (jailbroken) devices.
- France: Appcity – French app store contains apps for BlackBerry, iOS, and Android.
- Portugal: Aptoide – is the largest independent app store for Android, and it allows users to create their own store. There are also several versions of the Aptoide app: aptoide for smartphones and tablets, Aptoide TV – an edition for smart TVs and STBs, and Aptoide Kids – developed for children devices. Recently, Aptoide launched a VR App Store. Aptoide also provides B2B solutions, allowing its partners to manage their own app store in an autonomous and customized way.
- Switzerland: Appvisor – app store developed by Swiss mobile operator Swisscom. These app are for English, Italian, and German languages.
- Italy: TIM Store – app store developed by Italian mobile operator Telecom Italia. App store contains apps for BlackBerry, Symbian, and Android.
- USA: Verizon App Store – an app store developed by American mobile operator Verizon. There are more than 100 millions of Verizon users in the USA. AT&T App Centre – an app store developed by American mobile operator AT&T. It has a special offer for mobile app developers – once one takes part in cooperation program with AT&, the company grants an aid in app promotion for this developer. The store contains apps for Android, Symbian, and BlackBerry devices. AT&T has more than 150 millions of users throughout the USA.
- Africa: MTNPlay – official app store for Android devices from South-African mobile operator MTN. It united users from all over the Africa and part of Asia. There is also plenty of media content in the store base (books, video, music, etc.).
- Asia: Djuzz – Asian recommendation service and window-shop from media holding BuzzCity. All apps are available for free. There are more than 100 thousand of hits per day.
- Turkey: Turkcell T-Market – official app store from Turkish mobile operator Turkcell. It contains apps both for Android and Symbian.
- Japan: NTT Docomo – is a mobile device manufacturer which operates on Japanese market mainly. The company’s app store is pre-installed on each device.
- South Korea: Appzill – one of the most popular app stores in South Korea. All applications are localized in the Korean language. SK T-store – this app store is the best place to start from for a foreign developer if there is a will to conquer Korean users. This app store offers standard financial conditions – 30% of income goes to the store and 70% is to arrive at the developer. There are more than 19 millions of users, 1.5 billions of downloads, 28 millions of downloads per month. T-store contains more than 100 thousands of apps.
- China: HiAPK – is a large Chinese app store for Android devices. There are more than 100 millions of downloads from this store. China Mobile – app store developed by the largest Chinese mobile operator. User base makes more than 500 million for the mobile operator. Camangi – it is the only one app store in China that contains apps mainly for tablets – mobile devices with a screen from 6 to 10 inches. MaoPao – one of the biggest Chinese app stores. There are published either Android, Symbian, and iOS applications. Liqucn – one of the fast growing app stores in China. There are apps for Android and iOS devices. AppChina – more than 30 millions of users in this app store and more than 600 thousands of downloads monthly. Eoemarket – fast-growing app market in China. 360 market – one of the biggest app stores in China developed by the 360 search engine. Baidu App Store – an app store developed by the largest and the most popular search engine in China.
- India: Aircell PocketApps – app store developed by Indian mobile operator Aircell. Therefore most of the users come from India. Aircell mobile operator has more than 350 millions of users. Airtel App Central – app store developed by Indian mobile operator Airtel. There are plenty of apps optimized for mobile devices manufactured by Airtel. Airtel mobile operator has more than 500 millions of users.
3. Manufacturer’s app stores
There are two main advantages you experience as a manufacturer when publishing apps in mobile device manufacturer’s app store. First one is the fact all manufacturers deliver mobile devices with already pre-installed app stores. The second one is the fact competition within app store is rather low comparing to Play Market.
- Xiaomi App Store – The Xiaomi mobile device manufacturer developed an app store which is pre-installed on mobile devices. It possesses its own billing system and demands verification from a developer who wants to publish an app.
- AppsLib – Android app store for devices not supported by Google’s Play Market. This is the main feature of the app store – here you can download apps not available for your device to download in Play Market. Financial conditions are similar to Play Market’s – 70/30 share of income between developer and app store.
- Samsung Galaxy Store – Due to the fact Galaxy line was first to compete with Apple smartphones and tablets, it is a good place to publish an app in. The store offers standard financial conditions 70/30 for developers.
- Tegra Store – app stores owned by Nvidia. Although Nvidia is not a mobile device manufacturer it is still a graphic processor manufacturer. So Tegra Store was developed to publish apps optimized for mobile devices with Nvidia Tegra graphic processor. An app store is not being pre-installed.
- Dell Mobile Application Store – there are more than 40000 apps optimized for Dell mobile devices in store base.
- LG Smart World – it contains Android-based applications and plenty of apps for Smart TV.
- Motorola Shop4Apps – app store developed by Motorola. Very low competition among developers and loyal and user-friendly support service.
- Lenovo App Store – apps for Lenovo mobile devices. Standard financial conditions for app developers – 70/30. The app store is featured with fast verification process and it also offers an aid in app promotion.
4. Android app stores with free apps only
The are Android app stores that only allow publishing free apps. Therefore publishing is free for developers as well. These app stores offer advanced monetization way on ads instead.
- 1 Mobile Market -only accept free apps. The recommendation system in the app store differs from the one implemented in Play Market. The main way of monetization – placing ads. Since the service was set up there were made more than 100 millions of downloads. Meanwhile, there are more than 800 thousand apps for Android.
- F-droid – apps published in this app store are free-to-download. However, the main catch of the app store is the fact that apps are also published with open source code. As a matter of a fact app store gained popularity among developers and app “modders”.
- Phoload – app store accepts free applications for Android devices only. There is an advanced recommendation serviced implemented in the app store.
5. Stores with recommendation service
There are app stores gaining popularity among users and developers due to strong recommendation service enforced. If your app is a real breakthrough and possesses strongly pronounced advantages compared to your competitors, these kinds of stores will make your app faster than others.
- Appoke – advanced recommendation service. Users can invite friends from social networks and recommend apps to download. Advantages: advanced user-to-user recommendation system, integration with social networks.
- Capitalism – an app store with well developed social features. There is a platform for communication and recommendations implemented. Advantages: advanced user recommendation system.
- Getjar – 30 millions of users, 70 thousands of downloads and advanced recommendation service. The app store has its own billing system based on service’s virtual currency – Getjar gold. Advantages: advanced recommendation system.
- Mobile9 – merely 40 millions of users, free publishing for developers and its own social network. Concerning recommendation service – it is one of the best ever implemented. Several positive reviews are enough to make an app popular. There are only 30 thousand developers and more than 200 millions of downloads monthly. Therefore competition in the app store is rather low. Advantages: low competition, advanced user recommendation system.
- Mobango – an app store offering free publishing for developers. There are more than 100 thousands of apps in the store base. It is in the list of markets with a large audience and a few developers competing for downloads. Advantages: low competition and large audience.
- Mobogenie – Android app store which allows a user to download app-files to the desktop computer and then install to the mobile device. User-friendly GUI allows conducting backup for apps in several clicks. App store offers good financial conditions for developers – 20% of income arrives at the app store, while 80% remains at developer’s balance.
- Soc.io Mall – new app store offering attractive conditions for developers – 20% of income arrives at the app store, while 80% remains at developer’s balance. There are only 10 thousands of apps in the app store. It is known for a support highly loyal and friendly to developers.
- SlideME – one of the best app stores concerning safety considerations. It is very strict moderation rules for apps. There are more beneficial financial conditions compared to Play Market’s – 20/80. Although it is one of the oldest app stores. There are only 40 thousands of apps. Only high-quality apps and there are no odd allowances for the app to request allowed. Advantage: strong reputation, loyal audience.
- Android Application online – very easy-to-use for developer app store. Easy moderation process, user-friendly admin panel. App store only takes 25% from income.
These app stores have no meaningful features that are enough to group them for. On the other hand, some these app stores have unique features.
- Quixey – it is stated to be a search engine for mobile apps, not an app store. The app can be searched by the developer, name or description.
- Carolina West Wireless – it is a small app store with a loyal user base of 100 thousands of users. It started as a community of gamers from the US.
- Appia – aggregator app store. There are more than 20 specialized app stores presented. It is stated to have an audience of more than 20 millions of users.
- AppBrain – app store was developed for advanced users. As a user you can see the space an app occupies, allowances requested and others. There implemented an advanced recommendation service and search engine. There are many filters you can use to find an app. App store possesses its own monetization system by placing ads offered by the store.
- Nexva App Store– has an own billing system, most of the apps are available in Play Market from Google.
- YAAM Market – simple and user-friendly client for downloading Android apps. There are more than 300 thousands of users all over the world.
- AppsZoom – one more app store both for Android and iOS devices. More than 7 thousands of apps are added to the store base annually.
Although there are already many app stores for Android devices on the stage – there will appear even more of them in the future. The reason why we need more app stores remains the same like in any other industry – competition. Play Market is a wonderful solution with plenty of apps in it.
However, it cannot satisfy all users and developers due to the fact it is big and less flexible than it needs to be. So we need many little stores each with its own features struggling for the audience and improving services on the daily basis.