5 App Store Alternatives: Exploring the World Beyond Google Play and iOS App Store

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Recently, tech giant Google decided to remove several “popular” Indian apps from its Play Store, citing violations related to payment terms and policies.

The delisted apps included dating apps Truly Madly and QuackQuack, matrimony apps Bharat Matrimony, Telugu Matrimony, Tamil Matrimony, Marathi Matrimony as well as Matrimony.com’s Jodii and People Group’s Shaadi.com. Vernacular video-streaming platform Stage, Balaji Telefilms’ Altt and audio streaming and podcast app Kuku FM had also been removed from the Play Store. Info Edge’s flagship apps Naukri and 99acres were also taken down from the Play Store.

However, these apps have now been reinstated after the companies complied with the regulations laid down by Google.

Google Play Store is important for app developers and companies in India as Android dominates the smartphone market with over 90% market share and a spot on the Play Store not only means a chance to be seen but also access to a large user base.

The main disagreement between the developers and Google is because of the latter’s decision to increase the fees it charges for in-app purchases. The tech giant Google raised the fee from 11% to 26%, which many Indian app developers disagreed with. This change came after the Competition Commission of India (CCI) told Google to revise its fee structures, which previously ranged from 15% to 30%.

Google said in its blogpost on Friday, “…for an extended period of time, 10 companies, including many well-established ones, have chosen to not pay for the immense value they receive on Google Play by securing interim protections from court. These developers comply with payment policies of other app stores.”

When app developers challenged these new fees in court, both the Madras High Court and the Supreme Court didn’t grant them any relief, leading Google to remove the apps from the Play Store until the companies complied with the new payment terms.

Following the removal of the apps from the Play Store, the Indian government stepped in. IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw engaged with Google to address the concerns surrounding the delisted apps and a meeting was scheduled between Vaishnaw, Google representatives, and the affected app developers to discuss and hopefully resolve the issue.

Meanwhile, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) is closely monitoring the situation as the Supreme Court is set to hear the matter on March 19. Additionally, regulatory bodies in the UK, Japan, South Korea, and Indonesia are also keeping an eye on Google’s practices with Google Play.

If you’re looking for alternatives to Google Play Store, here are 5 options to consider:

On February 21, the Walmart-owned PhonePe launched the Indus Appstore which aims to support healthy competition and help in setting up a localized mobile app ecosystem within India. One highlight of the app is its support for third-party billing systems, where the app developers on Indus will not be required to display Google’s billing system nor will they need to pay any commission to Indus for in-app purchases. This stands in a huge difference compared to Google’s commission fees, which usually range from 6 to 30 percent, regardless of the billing system chosen by the user.

In the future, Indus plans to introduce its own in-app billing system, although this will remain optional for app developers, i.e. allowing developers to choose the billing solutions that best suit their needs and business models.

Moreover, developers can list their apps on the platform for free during the first year, after which a small annual fee will apply. The app aims to assist developers in reaching a wider audience through its multilingual app discovery feature that is available in 12 languages.

What makes it different
Indus Appstore stands out with its user-friendly features, such as mobile number-based login, perfect for a market where many users lack email accounts.

Additionally, developers also enjoy cohort-based release management where they can release new versions of an app to specific groups of users instead of releasing the updated app to all users at once based on geographical location, device type, and other factors.

The app store also provides AI-driven real-time monitoring of app performance and access to real-time analytics and competitor insights. The users can expect intelligent and speedy app updates, ensuring they always have the latest version at their fingertips.

Website: Link

mSeva AppStore, India’s own app platform, has quickly become a favorite with over 9.1 crore downloads so far. Developed by the Indian government’s C-DAC team, it’s a homegrown app alternative to big app stores like Google Play and Apple App Store. C-DAC is working closely with startups, holding workshops for the National App Store and Single Sign-On project, part of India’s Atma Nirbhar Bharat Mission.

A unique feature of mSeva is its ability to host apps like Citizen Shopping Mobile, promoting local businesses and ensuring our data stays safe. mSeva is also sparking creativity with a national app competition, welcoming entries in five different categories.

What makes it different-

One of the highlight features is the government’s decision to allow private firms to host their apps for free. Moreover, companies can freely choose any billing system they prefer to charge their customers.

To improve user experience, new features such as feedback and rating systems are also being added. This decision came after a clash between Google and Indian startups over the former’s plans to impose a 30% commission on subscription-based apps, now reduced to 15%. Taking into consideration that Google has control over 98% of India’s smartphone ecosystem, this move has raised concerns.

With apps like DigiLocker, mSeva AppStore currently hosts over 960 government apps with close to 85 crore downloads, the app can be easily installed on Android and iOS phones.

Website: Link

The Amazon App Store was launched on March 22, 2011, and was made available in nearly 200 countries. In the app, developers are paid 70% of the list price of the app or in-app purchases. One of the many notable features at the launch included the “Free App of the Day” promotion and “Test Drive,” which allowed users to demo apps in a web browser.

App alternatives

In September 2011, Amazon introduced the Amazon Fire tablet, with the Appstore as its main source of apps, and before its official release, the Appstore was updated with parental controls, a subscription manager, and UI updates for the Fire’s Android interface.

The Test Drive feature was removed in April 2015 due to declining use and the rise of free-to-play models. Throughout its journey, the Amazon Appstore has been a hub of innovation, offering users a variety of apps and good deals.

What makes it different-

What makes the Amazon App Store stand out in the app market is its focus on tablets, particularly Amazon’s Kindle devices, making sure that the user has a smooth experience. The store also maintains strict guidelines, offering users a safe and curated selection of apps free from offensive content. Each app listing is packed with keywords, videos, and screenshots, helping users discover new favorites easily.

Moreover, it also offers special promotions like the “Free App of the Day” and discounts on services. For developers, the Appstore’s revenue-sharing model allocates 70% of the app’s price to them.

Website: Link

Uptodown is a Spanish-based company, that has been active since 2002, specializing in Android for over a decade. The company aims to provide an app alternative to Google Play, giving users and developers the freedom to choose where to get their apps and games. Their app distribution system allows any developer to register on their Developers Console, from which they can easily publish their software on their marketplace.

Uptodown offers a straightforward solution with a direct browser experience for users. Moreover, the platform also does not require account creation or payment information upfront, making user privacy better. The platform allows users to access content from any device, anywhere in the world, without limitations. Additionally, users do not need Google Play or any other third-party services to download apps.

Uptodown allows developers to easily monetize their apps by distributing APKs through the browser. The platform has a large user base of over 130 million monthly active users and provides its own editorial content to improve SEO and visibility for apps. Additionally, Uptodown has 450 million monthly downloads distributed worldwide, with high-volume countries in Europe, Asia, and America with all contents on Uptodown undergoing strict scanning by VirusTotal, using over 60 antiviruses.

What makes it different-

Unlike official app stores like Google Play, users do not need to use any store (including Uptodown’s) or rely on third-party services to download apps. Through partnerships such as the Unity Distribution Portal, Uptodown offers developers another platform to distribute their games. Moreover, any developer can register on their Developers Console, giving them the flexibility to easily publish their software on the marketplace.

Uptodown continues to adapt to trends and user preferences, focusing on improving the user experience. Users can access Uptodown’s vast selection of apps and games from any device, regardless of their location in the world.

Website: Link

APK Mirror is recognized as one of the most trusted sites for downloading APK files and is a trusted app alternative for Google Play and Apple App Store. The platform was founded by the same person behind Android Police, a news and review website in the Android community.

The website offers an easy-to-use interface with straightforward download options and helps users to easily navigate the site to find the latest APKs or search for specific apps by name or category. On the homepage, users can find the most recently uploaded APK files available on the site allowing users to quickly discover and access the latest updates for their favorite apps.

APK Mirror verifies all uploaded APKs before adding them to the platform, making sure that all the APKs available on the website are authentic. Users have the option to download older versions of apps as each APK version is labeled with a date and version number, making it easy for users to choose the desired version.

What makes it different-

APK Mirror offers only apps that are freely available on the Google Play Store. Unlike some other APK download sites, APK Mirror does not provide paid apps for free or modified (modded) versions of apps, focusing on legitimate apps to ensure that users are downloading safe and authentic applications.

The website keeps security and user trust as a priority by thoroughly scanning all APK files for malware or security threats. Users can feel confident that the apps available on APK Mirror are safe to download and use on their Android devices.

Website: Link

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