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The Google Play Store is the default app store for most Android phones and tablets. It’s fast, convenient, and usually comes pre-installed.

It’s so ubiquitous, most users probably don’t even realize alternatives are available. But there are alternatives Google Play Alternatives For Downloading Android Apps Without Fuss Google Play Alternatives For Downloading Android Apps Without Fuss 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. Read More  — the most well-known and widely-used of which is the Amazon Appstore.

So, how does the Amazon offering compare with the default Google Play Store? Is it worth installing? What unique features does it offer?

Keep reading to find out which of the two stores is better.

What is the Amazon Appstore?

Before diving into the specifics, let’s take a moment to clarify what the Amazon Appstore is.

The store launched in 2011 and is Amazon’s primary way of distributing apps for the Kindle Fire tablet, phone, and streaming box. It comes pre-loaded on those devices.

Because Amazon’s gadgets rely on the Android operating system, the Amazon Appstore also works on Android-based phones and tablets from other manufacturers. It’s not available through the Google Play Store (more on that later), though if you’ve bought an Android phone on the Verizon network in the United States, you might find the Amazon Appstore pre-installed.

Number of Apps

The first thing to consider when comparing any two stores is the number of apps available. You can have the best user experience in the world, but it’s no good if you can’t download the content you want.

The Google Play Store is the clear winner. Estimates suggest the number of apps in the Amazon Appstore hovers around 600,000. In comparison, the Google store has nearly three million potential downloads.

Image source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/276623/number-of-apps-available-in-leading-app-stores/

Of course, a huge amount of those three million apps are junk that you’d never want to download, but on raw numbers alone, there’s no contest.

Verdict: An easy and indisputable victory for Google.

Which Apps Are Available?

Many of the most common apps The Best Android Apps The Best Android Apps Looking for the best apps for your Android phone or tablet? This is our comprehensive, hand-picked list of the best apps for Android. Read More are accessible on both platforms. These include Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Evernote, LastPass, Trello, Netflix, Spotify, VLC, and countless more. Sadly, YouTube and most other Google apps are not available in the Amazon Appstore.

However, the biggest drawback of the Amazon Appstore is the lack of Google Play Services. For those who aren’t aware, Play Services underpins everything from user authentication and data syncing to privacy settings 8 Ways to Stay Private While Using an Android Smartphone 8 Ways to Stay Private While Using an Android Smartphone Smartphones are made to give away a ton of data about you, but you can tweak your smartphone to make it much more private -- and you should. Read More and location services.

Because the Amazon Appstore doesn’t have access to it, most users will not be able to solely rely on the Amazon Appstore on standard Android devices. If you’re using an Amazon Fire device, the problem isn’t as significant; Amazon offers several of its own APIs that provide similar functionality.

Verdict: A narrow victory for the Google Play Store. If you’re happy to leave the Play Store installed on your device merely for access to Play Services, you could argue it’s a draw.

Other Media

The Google Play Store is about more than just apps. It also offers an extensive book, movie, and music library.

You can buy the books, music, and movies from directly within the Play Store. No additional memberships are required, and in a few clicks you can be enjoying your new media on your device. The Amazon Appstore has a link to the Amazon Video store, but you need a Prime membership Monthly vs. Annual: Which Amazon Prime Membership Should You Buy? Monthly vs. Annual: Which Amazon Prime Membership Should You Buy? Should you sign up for a monthly or annual subscription to Amazon Prime? We break it down so you make the best choice for your situation. Read More to be able to watch the content.

Verdict: If you want a one-stop app for all your entertainment needs, Google trumps Amazon — but Amazon has a vast array of content for Prime subscribers.

Ease of Installation

As mentioned at the start of the article, the Google Play Store comes pre-installed on most non-Amazon devices. The Amazon Appstore is pre-installed on the company’s own hardware.

If you want to install the Amazon Appstore on a standard Android device, there’s a fiddly process to work through.

How to Install the Amazon Appstore

To access the Amazon Appstore on an Android phone, you need to install the Amazon Underground app. To do this, you can either have a link emailed to you, or you can download it directly to your device.

If you’d like to download it directly, visit this page on your Android phone or this page on your Android tablet.

If you would like to have it emailed to your device, visit this page and enter your email address. You’ll be sent a download link.

Now download the app’s APK file using the link in the email.

Now that you have the APK file, you’ll need to make some changes on your device Is It Safe to Install Android Apps from Unknown Sources? Is It Safe to Install Android Apps from Unknown Sources? The Google Play Store isn't your only source of apps, but is it safe to search elsewhere? Read More before you can install it. Go to Settings > Security and make sure the toggle next to Allow Installation of Apps from Unknown Sources is turned on.

You’ll find the file in your phone’s Downloads folder (which you can find using a file manager The 7 Best Free File Explorers for Android The 7 Best Free File Explorers for Android There are a bunch of file management and file exploring apps out there for Android, but these are the best. Read More ). Tap on the file to begin the installation process, confirming your choices where appropriate.

When the installation is finished, launch the newly installed app and sign in using your Amazon account.

Verdict: Another win for Google. While the installation process for the Appstore isn’t complicated for technically-savvy users, less experienced people might find the steps daunting.

Free Content

The Appstore gives its users more than $20,000 of apps, games, and in-app items for free. The promotion replaced the previously popular “App of the Day” where Amazon would offer a different paid app for free every day.

The free content isn’t just niche stuff that nobody wants. It includes heavily downloaded apps such as Office Suite Pro 8, Monument Valley, DuckTales, and Castle of Illusion. For apps that are already free — like Angry Birds or Star Wars Rebels — all the in-app purchases are free.

On its website, Amazon uses the example of the Jetpack Joyride Game to illustrate this. The company claims the entire game would cost you $41.15 on Google Play. You can see the breakdown of the comparison below:

The free content is easy to spot — just look for the “Actually Free” banner in the top left-hand corner of the app’s thumbnail. The free content is available in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and France.

Verdict: An overwhelming win for Amazon. The free content alone makes the Appstore worth installing on your device.

Amazon Alexa?

Although the Appstore doesn’t quite provide a one-stop shop for all your entertainment needs, it does offer voice-activated commands Alexa, How Does Siri Work? Voice Control Explained Alexa, How Does Siri Work? Voice Control Explained The world is moving towards voice commands for everything, but how exactly does voice control work? Why is it so glitchy and restricted? Here's what you need to know as a layman user. Read More for the main Amazon catalog.

For example, you can tap the microphone icon in the app and say “track my last order” or “where is my camera?” to get a status update on your pending orders. You can even say something simple like “reorder paper towels” or “buy more batteries,” and the item will show up at your door the next day.

This feature is a key selling point of Amazon Alexa on the Echo 7 Creative Uses for Amazon Echo and Alexa 7 Creative Uses for Amazon Echo and Alexa You’ve seen the ads starring Alec Baldwin, but you're still not sure what Amazon Echo does or whether you need one in your home. We’re about to find out. Read More , possibly paving the way for more Alexa features to come to Android in the future.

Verdict: Using your voice means fewer taps and less time, both of which are good things. A win for Amazon.

Things to Consider

If you’ve decided you want to start downloading all your apps from the Amazon Appstore, there are two final points you need to consider.

Firstly, smaller developers don’t have the capacity to push updates to all the various app stores at the same time. Some might favor the Play Store, others might favor Amazon. From a user standpoint, it means on some occasions you might be waiting longer for bug fixes and security patches if you use the Amazon service to download your apps.

Secondly, it can become confusing to manage multiple apps from multiple sources on your device. It’s not easy to remember which store you downloaded an app from several months after installing it. If you switch to a new device, it can be a pain to work through two different libraries to get yourself up and running.

The Final Verdict

I’m going to give a narrow win to the Google Play Store. While Amazon offers some cool features and can save you some money, the sheer convenience of the Play Store trumps everything else. My best advice, however, is to have both app stores installed on your device.

Of course, that’s just my opinion — you might disagree. Now I want you to tell me your verdict. Which is the best app store in your view? More importantly, why is it the best store?

You can leave all your feedback, input, and opinions in the comments below.

Originally written on June 14th, 2013 by Chris Hoffman.

Image credit: Denys Koltovskyi via Shutterstock.com

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  1. None
    May 5, 2016 at 1:26 am

    Amazon app store is a bait and switch application. It tells you that you can download a free app and sends you to the Underground amazon app and that doesn't have the app for free.

    BAIT and Switch!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Don't know how they can get away with this but this is America... If you have enough money then you can get away with murder or better yet.... BAIT AND SWITCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Gabriel Jones
      April 24, 2017 at 1:28 pm

      Which apps? I've personally never experienced this.

    • Acasia
      April 30, 2017 at 7:10 pm

      I received the Amazon Fire for chirstmas and have not come across ANY apps that needed to be purchased. Literally everything is free in the Underground app. I am curious as to which apps you were checking and the kind of phone you have.

  2. Anonymous
    March 11, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    I agree with you on this. Google Play reviews are generally short and incoherent and written by people with some unspecified complaint about the app.

  3. safa
    March 9, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    In the last week I have ran into two apps that are not up to date. There are newer versions in the google play store, but not on amazon app store. This has been an on going problem but has never affected me so much before. The two apps in question are star command and GTA: vice city. I am running a nexus 7 2013 LTE with android 5.0.2. Both apps need the newest update from the developer and amazon store is way behind. Until I see improvements in the app versions, I will not be making further purchases. Please provide up to date apps.

  4. jim
    February 20, 2015 at 1:01 am

    I have installed several apps from Amazon appstore. Now whenever I try opening one of theses games I get error "you do notoenthis app". VERY irritated with this!!!!! I will NEVER use amazon appstore again!!!

    • Shane
      February 25, 2016 at 12:32 am

      I had an app that did that and found out I had to be logged into Amazon for it to work.

  5. Dan Owens
    January 9, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    the Amazon app store only advantage is that you get a free app of a day but like the reviewer said its a crap app most of the time. I have found that with any device I have had weather be low end or high end devices Google just works all of their apps seem to work flawlessly and seem to have features paid apps don't and they're free. Google itself has apps for just about anything you would need to do personally. With the Amazon App Store you cannot download any Google Apps and if you decide you do not want to have the Amazon app store you cannot use the apps installed from said app store. and besides just about every paid app has a free app on Google Play.
    Google play all the way

  6. Myra R
    December 30, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    i have a question say i were playing a game i had downloaded from the google play store (Myvegas) then i made an in app purchase with a google play gift card then once that purchase went through and i got what i payed for added to my game (Myvegas) what if i uninstalled the game app (Myvegas) and reinstalled it from the amazon app store will the things i purchased carry over?? also this game connects via your facebook account so i am thinking it will stick with me but i dont wanna spend any money without being sure?? cause i dont have a credit card or anything and no where around where i live sells amazon gift cards but they sell google play store cards so i was thinking this might work?? i googled around trying to find the answer but its unconventional so i thought maybe you would be able to help? the reason why i would want to uninstall the google option and switch to amazon is because the game has better features through amazon then through the google play store. thanks for your time!!

    • Dan Owens
      January 9, 2015 at 4:09 pm

      some games will if you have to login inside the game with your Facebook account on your Google Play account then yes it will safe and you should get whatever you had on your new device. But this is not the case with all games I would suggest contacting the developer and asking them this way you get a thorough answer.

  7. Menamcore
    December 22, 2014 at 10:02 am

    I cant use my apps offline on amazon total rubbish uninstalled

  8. Richard Lloyd
    September 25, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    The issue here is choice - you really want a device that lets you install multiple stores so you can gain benefits from each of them. Unless you are willing to root and/or ROM a Kindle Fire device, I'd avoid them for their lack of multiple stores.

    Bad points about the Amazon Appstore: Clunky horizontal scrolling interface that's hard to nav, too regularly asks for your username/pass, sends purchase e-mail to you even if it's a free app, must have Appstore app installed to run any downloaded app, list of my apps seem to be in alpha order only - date order would be much better.

    Amazon annoyingly premieres everything in the US first (Kindle Fire tablets, Amazon Appstore app, Free App of the Day and the Web version of the Appstore) and then waits a full *year* before releasing them outside the US! This is completely and utterly unaceptable and made the first Kindle Fire tablet to hit UK shores a bit of a joke because its specs were a year out of date.

    Now the XHD range has been announced, will Amazon bother to release it in the UK before Xmas 2013? Mind you, where's Google Chromecast for UK users? Big hoo-hah in UK press when it had its US-only launch and a deathly silence from the same in the months afterwards!

  9. Aivee S
    August 19, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    I can't get any app from amazon due to the location restrictions so.... Google Play it is.

  10. Caroline W
    August 17, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Hi, from your review it's not making me want to rush out and get the Amazon app. The best use I have found regarding Amazon is the Kindle Reader with the ability to get e-books cheaply or for free. If there was a huge variety of apps - not just Angry Birds - I'd consider a look-in but as I said, it's not sounding too appealing :)

  11. Ian K
    July 29, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    I looked at Amazon's app store... Somehow I felt the app reviews on their appstore are more meaningful. For me, the ability to read the reviews is critical to making the decision about whether to buy the app or not

    • Jason Luck
      July 30, 2013 at 10:58 am

      I agree with you on this. Google Play reviews are generally short and incoherent and written by people with some unspecified complaint about the app. But in general across all stores most people give either one or five stars rather than a more realistic score.

      • Ian K
        August 9, 2013 at 9:08 am

        I suppose it is not a bad thing to have polarised scores (ie. either one or five stars) - it gives a clear indicator of whether the app is good.

        Appsfire for the Apple Appstore gives a rating out of 100 which is interesting. Anything between 60 and 80 is considered "Promising", above 80 is "Super". Between 50 and 60 is "Hmm".

      • Ian K
        August 9, 2013 at 9:23 am

        Some other points which you did not discuss in your review which I think are relevant about app stores. These are lessons learned from iphone/ipad users in the apple app store

        - Is the appstore split by country? How easy is it to change country? Alot of Apple users lost a lot of apps when they swapped countries and lost their upgrade/update paths. With employment mobility now, it is very common for people to move to different countries and change appstores.

        - How quickly do reviews get updated into the appstore? Are the reviews accessible globally or by country/location?

        - Buying and using ebook readers and ebooks. What is Google Play's policy on ebooks? I think Amazon exited from selling ebooks on iOS because Apple required them to pay royalties to Apple.

  12. Chris G
    July 27, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    A big thing you are missing here for those of us who are not single is that Amazon will allow a husband and wife to install the same app on different devices tied to the same Amazon account. If one were to do that on Google since Google has so many free tools each spouse would have access to the whole Google experience (Gmail, Contacts, Google Voice etc) just to share an app. I for one love this feature since it allows me and my wife to just share a purchased app instead of buying it twice under separate accounts or opening up the whole google world tied to 1 google account onto his and her devices and the mess that entails.

    • k1darkknight
      August 30, 2013 at 8:15 am

      Actually, Google Play DOES allow you to share apps across devices, as long as you have the same gmail account tied to each one's store. I don't use gmail for ANYTHING except activating my android devices and having a Play Store account. You can even have multiple gmail accounts tied to the same device, you just have to switch to whichever account was used to purchase a given app.
      Actually, Chris G, I only use gmail for activating devices or things that specifically require a gmail address. I never even check my mail on that account. The only place I use "Contacts" is on my phone, and I don't use Google Voice at all.
      Adding a new account and switching between them in the Play Store is actually pretty easy. You CAN switch from the app's settings, but it's even quicker to go to your "my apps" screen (the button at the top, that looks like a download icon). Once there, on the "All" tab, it should show your gmail address. Just tap on that, and it gives you the option to add a new account. If you've already done this, you also have the option to switch to any account you've added, just by tapping on it.
      Also, I'm pretty sure that switching accounts is isolated to the Play Store, so you won't be automatically getting stuck with all your wife's contacts, just because you forgot to switch back, in the Store. And since the Play Store doesn't "phone home", all apps installed will work just fine, regardless of which account was used to purchase them, or which is currently selected in the store app.

  13. Giemel
    July 7, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Blackmart is better everything is free :D

  14. Doc
    June 16, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    There *is* a Free App of the Day app on Amazon. The only downside I experienced with Amazon App Store is that, for my Velocity Micro Cruz T301 tablet, many of the apps that were "compatible" with it would not install (the Cruz T301 has a MIPS CPU, and only Dalvik Java-based apps would work with it unless they were specifically written for it).

  15. David Ward
    June 16, 2013 at 1:25 am

    If you travel via air and want to use your phone or tablet with apps bought with Amazon the apps do you no good because if you are not connected to the internet and amazon app store you cannot use the apps bought in Amazon app store. With Google Play Store you can use the apps not connected to the internet. You add $17 a day on a plane so you can get internet [ if even available ] those FREE apps are not so free.

  16. Chris
    June 15, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    Also, when you uninstall Amazon AppStore, you can't play any of the games that you have downloaded with it.

    Basically, if you paid for an app with Amazon, you are stuck using their service. You'll have to pay for it twice if you want to switch to Google Play.

    I know Amazon offers 1 free app a day but there are google play alternative apps to this such as AppGratis. I just got Cerberus for free.

  17. likefunbutnot
    June 15, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    The advantages are situational, but I generally come down on the side of using the Play Store for apps. I do own a Fire, but also I own 13 other Android devices that directly support Google's app store.

    Google Apps administration means that I have remote wipe authority over devices on my account. That's a big point in Google's favor, albeit only indirectly related to app purchases.

    As an End user and as an Apps administrator, I can push apps out to devices from the web, even to multiple devices. This makes setting up new devices very fast and straightforward. Amazon can also install apps from the web, but only once the Amazon App store has been installed.

    The Amazon App store is missing some pretty freaking critical apps. My Kindle Fire ultimately had to be rooted. I wasn't going to have an Android device that didn't support the licensed Gmail, Calendar and Youtube apps. Not just because they're the "official" tools but because I did not want to have software on one device that behaved differently from all my others.

    On the other hand, the Amazon App store works on crappy devices where the Play Store isn't licensed, like those $60 tablets that show up at Big Lots and K-Mart. This for me is the biggest argument in favor of Amazon.

    It's also a good idea to comparison shop App Stores if you're buying an expensive app. QuickOffice Pro for example is 50% off on Amazon.

    Amazon kind-of supports App Gifting. Google does not. Which is great for the vanishingly small number of devices that can be assumed to have Amazon App Store support installed.

  18. Abdelmalek Dhif
    June 15, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Even tough am not a big fan of Amazon app but i heard that Amazon App Store provides 3X revenue compared to Google Play !!

  19. macwitty
    June 15, 2013 at 8:17 am

    A problem with Amazon is the country restriction - Free app is not available in Sweden. The same with a lot of paid apps. The good thing is you can use gift cards - esp good for kids who do not have a card. Bad thing with Google Play is the lack of gift cards outside USA.

  20. Rudi Pittman
    June 15, 2013 at 4:58 am

    Amazon is known to modify some of their apps to check to make sure amazon appstore is installed and not run if it's not present....and not just the free apps..I purchased grooveip from amazon because it was a dollar cheaper only to find it won't run unless the appstore is present.......but then you have the fact google arbitrarily decides to remove apps such as adaway....f-droid.org is an open source repo that is another alternative and it's currently where all the ad blocking software went to.

  21. Leland Whitlock
    June 14, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    You did not include other alternate app stores like GetJar. That said I agree with your assessment mostly. You leave out one detail in that Amazon apps have to phone home regularly to continue to be usable. If you happen to be traveling with no network connection like on a plane you might not be able to use your app again until you reach your destination. To me this was the biggest negative. I loved the free apps but ultimately if I use the app a lot I will go Google Play for this one reason alone.

    • Chris Hoffman
      June 27, 2013 at 5:50 pm

      Yup, I wanted to focus on the big app stores.

      I had no idea that Amazon apps had to phone home -- that's pretty bad. I'll definitely be sticking with Google Play.

  22. huskey69aa
    June 14, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    I like Amazon better because I always have Amazon gift cards, so I can get all my apps for free even if they are not actually free.

  23. Chris Atkins
    June 14, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    The reviewer may have thought that Google Play was the winner, but I have both and 95% of the time I buy my apps through the Amazon App. They have about 2 great free apps a week which makes me go there everyday. I also find the Amazon app store cleaner. When I go to Google play store it is a mess with everything they sell jammed into one screen. If you don't have the amazon app store you may want to try it. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

    • Doc
      June 16, 2013 at 3:11 pm

      Both app stores have a Web-based storefront, as well, making it easier to browse and find apps, and both will let you buy an app and have it "pushed" to your devices.

    • Chris Hoffman
      June 27, 2013 at 5:50 pm

      Thanks for the perspective. I tried to focus on the advantages each has -- I suppose some people will be happier with Amazon's interface for other reasons. Some people may also just be more comfortable purchasing things from Amazon.

    • Geovane M
      September 23, 2013 at 4:43 am

      I own a Kindle and a Nexus phone. I installed the Amazon app store on my Nexus, I actually prefer the amazon App store, the interface is simplified and the Free App of the Day is great because sometimes you find some really useful stuff.

      Best thing is, once you can an app in the Amazon app store you can install it on every single device that you're using. All you have to do is log in to your amazon account. Pretty bad ass. But Google Play wins by far with the number of Apps, but a lot of big names apps are in the Amazon store too, more than Microsoft's pathetic attempt.