Be it users or developers, the array of a million plus apps on the Google Play store is overwhelming for everyone.
If you’re an Android app developer trying to make your mark then you’re probably facing that common problem – getting your app recognized. If you’re planning to develop a series of apps, or already have, you know it’s tough getting some visibility for your app. Apps are usually lost in the abyss of the ocean of other apps, unable to break through due to the immense surface tension built up by the apex companies promoting their apps through advertisements, and by getting posted at the top of the results. The alternative here would be to publish your app on other app stores which also cater to Android users, but don’t have as many apps as Google Play. This pushes up visibility potential.
What’s in It for the user?
From a user point of view – the idea of alternative app stores is a welcome bonus. You may wonder how other app stores are going to be benefical. Of course, there’s the question about them being secure, or if they pose a threat to your smartphone. I must inform you that your phone isn’t perfectly secure on the Google Play store either, although this is not really a reason to resort to another app store, now is it? The staggering number of apps might have you puzzled on which one is best suited for your needs. The other app stores are rather niche and makes life for users relatively simpler. The security level is greater in some app stores, while inferior in the others. It’s a matter of choice.
The main disadvantage to developers is that if they try to widen their reach by publishing on multiple app stores, then you may fall victim to piracy or plagiarism sooner. This fake version in turn maybe downloaded by a user, which poses a risk to the user’s phone. The same risk is rampant on the Google Play store as well, so publishing on the secure app stores is a well needed alternative for both users and developers.
1. Amazon App Store for Android:
The Amazon App Store is among the main competitors to the Play store – it’s been here since 2011. It has around 100,000 apps, and caters mainly to Android and Amazon Kindle devices. Amazon has much better quality apps and also maintains strict quality control, so users need not worry much about smartphone security here. Additionally, Amazon has two great features:
i) It makes one of the paid apps free for one day, and a user can try out the app for the next 24 hours.
ii) Amazon lets you pilot the app on your browser for free, which would give users a good a idea about the app.
2. Opera Mobile store:
Most users must be familiar with Opera’s browser. Opera went on to create its own app store in 2011, and has over 100,000 apps. They receive over 60 million visitors a month, and their app store serves Android, Windows phones, Symbian, iOS, BlackBerry and Java apps. Opera is also among the most popular app stores for Android.
3. Samsung Apps Mobile:
The Samsung App Store is amongst the most secure app stores there is, and has a stringent verification process. The intelligent S Suggest feature which comes inbuilt in Samsung devices, seeks out apps which would be of use to you. This makes it quite a contender to the Google Play store.
4. LG Smart World:
LG also has devised its own app store, which is a bit of a no brainer, since it has one of the highest growth rates in the smartphones category.
5. SlideMe Market:
SlideMe has some high best quality apps across many of the app stores, and is the best known individual competitor to the Play store. It has a meager 22,000 apps (approximately), but wins with quality over quantity apps.
For developers, this site is particularly lucrative, as they offer more than the standard 70% share of profits.
GetJar has been a rather well known name, even before the advent of smartphones. Many of us must have downloaded those ‘.jar’ files directly on our phones or via our computers, so that we can make our phones more entertaining, from GetJar, I remember downloading some fun games on my Sony Ericsson.
GetJar has 50 million plus users, and is a good platform for developers, to test their apps, before launching a paid version. Unlike Amazon, when GetJar offers an app for free, it doesn’t expire in 24 hours. They also have an algorithm to fetch you more accurate results, more suited for you.
1Mobile has around 60,000 apps, and is yet another leading appstore. They have categorised their apps, for faster navigation, and like GetJar, it too is capable of making relevant recommendations.
Mobango boasts apps from prestigious game studios like Disney, Halfbrick and Zeptolabs, which makes it one of the leading appstores as well. It has over 100,000 apps from over 40,000 developers that cater to their 8 million plus users across all platforms.
Another multi-OS app store – Nexva has apps for Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows, Symbian and Java. Here too the apps have been organised into categories and sub categories too, which is something of a great convenience to users. The website has also assigned QR codes to their apps, so that sharing is also made easy.
Soc.io is the smallest appstore on my list, with just 10,000 apps in its market place. Soc.io has an e-book store.
Mobile9, AppBrain, AppsFire, AppsZoom, AndroidPit, CNET and Handango.