The Google Play Store, formerly Android Market, is one of the most popular digital distribution service right now. Currently, it has over 2.56 million mobile apps at its disposal — about 700,000 more apps than Apple’s App Store. However, despite its quantity, its restrictiveness repels most Android users to use the service. Not to mention, the current U.S economic sanction for Huawei impacted millions of users globally, opting for Huawei users to find another alternative to digital distribution services to continue using their smartphones.
Thankfully, Android is an open-source operating system, has a lot of those alternatives online. In this article, we will be listing some of the most trusted digital distribution services that can replace the Google Play Stores. Note that while these application stores offer validated apps, some tampered and malicious apps may still appear on the site as most of them don’t have a security system Google implements for the Google Play Store.
When Amazon launched the Fire OS-powered Amazon Kindle Fire tablet in 2011, Amazon decided that it needs its own digital distribution service to complement Fire OS’s unique user interface. Since Fire OS devices don’t come preinstalled with Google Services, Fire OS users need to download apps directly from the Amazon Appstore. In 2014, Amazon announced a partnership with BlackBerry to include the Appstore on BlackBerry 10.3 onwards. From then, the Amazon Appstore has become available to other Android-running devices.
Also one of the most popular and trusted digital distribution services available for Android users. APKMirror is run by the same people who run Android Police, one of the biggest Android news websites around, so downloading apps from APKMirror is guaranteed safe and validated.
All the apps on APKMirror are manually examined and approved, hence, you won’t see any paid and “cracked” apps on the site other than the free to download apps from the Google Play Store. Note that upgrading apps from APKMirror requires that the original APK package is signed with the same key from the Google Play Store for extra protection. This means you can’t upgrade your current installed app unless it came from the Google Play Store. The workaround here is to uninstall the current app and download the latest one from the APKMirror instead.
Aptoide is a Portuguese company that also distributes Android apps outside Google Play Store. It so trusted that even the Chinese-giant, Huawei, once reported to have been working with the company to replace Google Play Store on all of its devices because of the ongoing economic tension between the United States and China.
Aptoide also worked with OPPO before to develop its own App Market which is also among the contenders in this list.
Samsung’s Galaxy Store comes preinstalled in all Galaxy and Gear devices. That means, this is a cross-platform app store available for both Android and Tizen-powered devices released by Samsung.
If you are a Samsung user, this store gives users some additional bonuses such as unique skins and rewards. For further customizations, the Galaxy Store also offers themes, wallpapers, and fonts. On top of that, the Galaxy Store partnered with some of the largest app developers to bring Samsung optimized apps such as Degoo, Adobe Premiere Rush, VSCO, Booking.com, and The Weather Channel.
If you own a Gear device, you can also access the store for a wide array of watch face options and Gear apps to further elevate your style.
When the United States trade ban blocked Huawei from using Google Mobile Services (GMS), the Chinese-giant Huawei was forced to develop its own digital distribution service. What came out of that effort is the Huawei AppGallery. The AppGallery is available for both Huawei and Honor devices, but you can also install it on your own Android smartphone. As of H1 2020, the App Gallery has reportedly reached 261 billion app downloads and had about 490 million active users in over 170 countries and regions.
APKPure is one of my favorites on this list. I have been using this service for the region locked or unavailable for download applications for a long time, and so far, it is a good experience. Like APKMirror, all the applications on APKPure is verified and using the same key from the Google Play Store.
The best thing about APKPure is that it features XAPK downloads. XAPK is a similar package to APK, except that it may contain other assets used by apps such as OBB files. That means, if you download Asphalt 9, you don’t need to download additional files upon opening the app as it is included in one package.
Opera Mobile Store
I am aware that Opera has its own app store before (J2ME), but I’m not aware that Opera carried it over to Android. To access Opera’s Mobile Store, you need to download an Opera Browser as it is a browser-based service. Just like the Galaxy Store, the Opera Mobile Store is a cross-platform service as it is also available in other operating systems such as iOS.
Over 86% of the apps on Opera Mobile Store can be downloaded free of charge, however, Opera also collects revenue in some premium apps.
OPPO App Market
This is one of the cleanest app markets on this list. Available for both OPPO and realme devices, App Market has over a thousand (if not millions) of apps at its disposal.
All the apps on the App Market are signed with the same key as the apps on Google Play Store so you can just easily update your apps through the site, provided the installed app came from the Play Store. The best thing about the App Market is that if you own an OPPO or realme device, some ColorOS or realme OS-specific apps can be easily updated here such as Sloop, and realme Community app.
As for added security, App Market boasts its Security Test (provided by Avast Software), and Manual Testing with the name of the tester and details and methods of testing right on the app listing. A good addition, perhaps.
F-Droid is a great software repository if you’re a developer or a tinkerer. It is one of the most trusted digital distribution services on this list, offering only free and open-source Android application.
Unlike the Google Play Store, you don’t need to register an account to use the service. You just need to download the F-Droid app and choose among its wide array of libraries. The best thing about F-Droid is that it also offers the source code of all the apps it hosts. Making it easier for developers and tinkerers to experiment with the app, and develop their own software based on the existing code.
Unlike the other app market on this list, Mobogenie provides applications from the Google Play Store and third-party options. That means this site contains apps that you can’t find on the Google Play Store, especially those that violate Google’s terms and conditions.
Mobogenie is available in over twenty languages including Hindi, Russian, Chinese, Portuguese, and many more. The store also extends to include services such as ringtones, and wallpapers, as well as contents like e-books, videos, and music.
Android is expanding every single day. While there have been changes with how we do things on our smartphones in the last 5 years or so, the only thing that remains with the operating system is the freedom and versatility, mainly due to its open-source nature.