Many people think that the Google Play Store is the only option Android users have for downloading apps, but there are actually quite a few quality alternatives out there.
If you’ve bought a device that isn’t authorized to run the Google Play Store, the process to get the Play Store functioning properly can be very difficult if not impossible. These app stores can help you make the most of your device even without the Play Store.
The first and most obvious alternative here is the Amazon Appstore. This is probably the biggest contender to the Play Store, as it is the default app store that ships on all Kindle Fire devices. You can download the official APK (installer) from Amazon’s Website and then simply run the file on your Android device to install it. We’ve compared the Play Store to the Amazon Appstore in the past, but Amazon’s option has been updated and grown a bit since then, so I’ll go over it briefly here.
The app features a modern interface with a set of options that slide out from the left when you tap the “a” logo in the upper left. From there you can look at different categories or your apps. If you remain on the homepage, you can scroll down to see featured apps and recommended apps, and swipe sideways to looks through them.
There are a few ways of sorting apps once you’ve search for something, shown above, and when looking at a particular app the Appstore makes recommendations for similar apps and also has a customer review system similar to the Play Store.
We’ve covered F-Droid in the past, but it is still a great option for ensuring you get good apps without any malware. For those with a heart for the free and open-source, this is the app store to have. Unfortunately, because of the strict requirements to get an app in this store, the selection is pretty limited.
The F-Droid app really couldn’t be any simpler, and that isn’t necessarily a good thing; it’s very basic. To find apps, all you can do is scroll through the Available tab or search for something. No categories or filters or anything. But for clean, free, open-source apps, it’s the best out there.
SlideME is the application store that ships on many devices that don’t have Google Play. The application you can download to your phone is called SAM, the SlideME Application Manager. With just over 20,000 apps available, this store is nowhere near the size of the Play Store’s 900,000, but the SlideME team does review each of the apps that comes in, so you can be assured they will be relatively high-quality apps.
The interface is easy enough to get used to, allowing you to swipe left or right to go through the different categories. There is no shortage of ways to discover new apps, which is a plus.
Selecting an app gives you a download button, description, screenshots, reviews, and a few more options down towards the bottom. It’s a fairly standard amount of options, similar to what you might find in the Play Store.
However, there is a thin banner advertisement that runs along the bottom of the app sometimes, which can be annoying if you accidentally press it. Overall, I wouldn’t use SlideME if I had access to Google Play, but for many of the same great apps, it’s a fine alternative.
With a large library of apps, Mobogenie Market is a viable alternative to SlideME. The interface is nice and modern, and the app even includes some extras like downloadable ringtones and the ability to download YouTube videos.
While the Lite app that is downloadable from the Play Store will only redirect you back to the Play Store for downloads, the free “premium” version, which can be downloaded through the pull-out menu to the left, allows for downloads without Google Play.
The interface when searching for and looking at apps remains clean, with apps shown on white cards over a grey background. It’s very user friendly, and also includes other features for managing your Android device that are accompanied by a Windows application.
With a large selection of apps, editor recommendations, and features not found in other app stores, you may want to consider Mobogenie.
I hope at least one of these app stores is able to quench your hunger for apps. And if you find any paid apps that you really like but can’t afford, you’ll want to try these Websites for finding solid free alternatives.
Which alternative app store is your favorite? Or do you tend to stick with the Play Store? Let us know in the comments.