Android comes with Google Play, but that isn’t the only app store you can use on Android. Android allows users to use third-party app stores, and Amazon has stepped up with a competitor of its own — the Amazon Appstore for Android. Once US-only, the Amazon Appstore is now available in nearly 200 countries around the world and is a true, global competitor to Google Play.
The Amazon Appstore for Android isn’t just a third-party app store for Android devices. It’s also the place to get apps for Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets and, perhaps, the rumored Amazon Kindle smartphone that may be released in the future.
There’s no getting around this — Google Play is included with your Android phone or tablet, while the Amazon Appstore must be installed from Amazon’s website. Adding the Amazon Appstore gives you a second app store with a different software-updating process. Having two app stores and two app-updating process is just less convenient than having a single one, so the Amazon Appstore has to offer compelling reasons to install and use it.
Winner: Google Play
To make itself attractive, the Amazon Appstore offers a “free app of the day” every day. These are paid apps available free for a single day. Grab a free app and you’ll even be able to install it for free in the future.
The free apps often vary from utilities you’d never use to little-known Android games. However, Amazon has also offered some popular apps, such as the paid versions of Cut The Rope Experiments and Fruit Ninja. Overall, it’s a mixed bag. It’s hard to argue with free apps, but this is fundamentally a way to get you opening the Amazon Appstore every day.
If you want an app, it often only costs $0.99 on Google Play or you may be able to get a free, ad-supported version. It may not be worth staking out the Amazon Appstore for, given that you may not be interested in the free app most days.
You can get notifications of the free Amazon app of the day with an app like the Free App Notifier For Amazon, which is amusingly only available on Google Play. If you’d like free apps on Google Play, try , which offers a free app every day along with steep discounts and giveaways for freemium apps.
Winner: Amazon Appstore
Quantity of Apps
There’s no getting around the app selection problem. According to the most recent available reports, Google Play has over 700,000 Android apps while the Amazon Appstore has about 75,000 — much, much fewer. If you’re looking for an app, you’ll have much more selection available to you in Google Play. The Amazon Appstore offers many big-name apps, but more niche apps — perhaps the app for your bank or less-popular utilities — will likely only be available in Google Play. Given that the Amazon Appstore was only available in the US for so long, it’s likely that apps for local services in countries outside the US will likely only be available in Google Play.
The Amazon appstore doesn’t really offer any exclusive apps — you’ll find paid, ad-free versions of the first few Angry Birds games on the Amazon Appstore but not on Google Play, but that’s about it.
Winner: Google Play
Google Play offers recommended apps based on the apps you’ve used, frequently updated curated lists of the best Android apps, and a more modern interface. The Amazon appstore offers no app recommendations or such curated lists, leaving you to search and view the most popular free and paid apps.
Google Play’s interface is far better for browsing the store and discovering new apps, although it’s a much larger store to browse while the Amazon Appstore’s is much smaller.
Winner: Google Play
Google Play is integrated with every popular Android device you might by, excluding the cheapest tablets and phones. Sign into an Android device and all your apps will be accessible from Google Play. They can even be automatically installed and restored onto your Android device when you factory-reset it or buy a new one.
If you opt for the Amazon Appstore, you’ll have to install the Amazon Appstore on each new Android device, sign in, and install your apps. This isn’t the most integrated experience.
However, if you have a Kindle Fire, you may prefer the Amazon Appstore anyway. Apps you purchase on the Amazon appstore can be used on both your Kindle Fire and Android smartphone, giving Amazon’s Appstore a leg up over Google Play.
Amazon is also rumored to be working on its own Kindle smartphone. If you can see yourself using an Amazon Kindle phone in the future, purchasing apps on the Amazon Appstore may be smart — you’ll probably be able to use them on your future Kindle phone, while apps purchased on Google Play will be more difficult to install.
There’s no clear winner here: If you’re an Android user first-and-foremost, you’ll want to stay in the Google Play ecosystem. If you’re a Kindle user first and foremost, you’ll get benefits from using the Amazon Appstore.
You can root your Kindle Fire and install Google Play, but that isn’t the most convenient experience.
Winner if you prefer Android Devices: Google Play
Winner if you prefer Kindle Devices: Amazon Appstore
Ultimately, the Amazon Appstore has some big disadvantages — less-convenient setup, far fewer available apps, and a worse interface for discovering new apps. Most people will probably prefer to use Google Play, simplifying their lives by sticking to the app store included with their Android devices.
However, the Amazon Appstore does have some advantages. Its free app of the day will appeal to bargain-conscious users who love snapping up free apps. Its integration with Amazon’s Kindle Fire will appeal to Kindle Fire owners and users dreaming of future Amazon smartphones and tablets, allowing them to use their apps across their Android and Kindle devices.
If you’re just looking for a convenient app store, you’ll be happy with Google Play. If you love grabbing free apps or prefer Amazon’s Kindle hardware, you may be better off purchasing apps on the Amazon Appstore. Prices are similar on both app stores, so that isn’t a factor.
If you do have one of the cheapest Android devices that doesn’t come with Google Play, you may want to install the Amazon Appstore and use it instead of Google Play. There are also workarounds that may allow you to install Google Play on your device, but this is much more complex. It’s much easier to install the Amazon Appstore.
If you’ve used both, what’s your take between Google Play vs Amazon Appstore? Which one do you prefer? Did we miss any advantages the Amazon Appstore has over Google Play? Leave a comment and let us know!