When talking about app stores, we immediately tend to think about Google Play and Apple App Store. These major distribution channels provide a big audience potential on a global scale. However, the competition in both platforms creates big challenges to get visibility for apps and developers. Nevertheless, there are a lot of options in the market worth exploring – alternative app stores.
Alternative app stores not only provide a better discoverability. They also provide higher profitability, a niche focused audience, access to new users and more. On this index you’ll find a complete guide of alternative app stores to thrive in this growing market. Let’s dive into it!
If you are seeking exclusively free Android apps, 1Mobile Market is a great option. The platform allows developers to test beta or free versions of their apps. However, if you want to integrate 1Mobile Market with in-app billing, you’ll need a specialized SDK.
- The platform operates on a revenue split of 70/30;
- Within two business days, apps are assessed and published.
Qihoo 360 has its own application store which you can download to your Android, the 360 Mobile Assistant. This Chinese alternative app store offers thousands of free apps.
The company has become popular by developing security and system management software for Android. Plus, it accounts for 15% of the China’s Android app market with 750 million monthly active users on average.
- 275 million active mobile and 457 million desktop users per month;
- 30 billion downloads.
9Apps is a global Android distribution platform owned by Alibaba Group. It’s present in India, Indonesia, Russia, Brazil, Southeast Asia, Middle East and other emerging markets. Moreover, since its launch in 2012, the service has accumulated 250 million users.
Plus, the company got over 26 million daily downloads and provides various paid games and apps for free.
- Over 250 million monthly active users;
- Completely safe and virus free platform.
Amazon App Store is a commercial app store that competes directly with Google Play Store. Specifically, it is the package app shop for Amazon’s Fire OS operating system, which is used on all Fire tablets. It does not have a website; instead, you must download and install the APK file onto your smartphone. Surprisingly, its user interface resembles that of Google Play’s previous version.
- Revenue split of 70/30;
- Available in more than 200 countries;
- It gives out one paid app for free everyday.
APK Mirror offers safe-to-download malware-free programs and does not have a specific native app. Instead, you must go to the company’s website to obtain any APK files. Therefore, allows you to explore top apps and access popularity charts on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
- Its homepage displays a selection of apps that match your preferences;
- It allows you to download and save APK files;
- It offers several different versions of the same app.
Indeed, APKPure is another good option since it makes available most Google Play apps through its website and app. None of the paid apps are modified or cracked by this platform. Alternatively, they provide APK downloads that do not require any extensions to work. Also, the platform includes an easy-to-use developer console.
- It offers paid games at a reduced price;
- The homepage is updated with the most popular apps from the last 24 hours;
- This platform allows you to access geo-restricted apps.
Definitely, Apptoko is a very good alternative app store. It comes with a huge catalog of apps, wallpapers, ringtones, and even comics. However with one exception: almost all the content on Apptoko is designed for Indonesians.
Unlike similar apps, Apptoko doesn’t require an user account. On top of all that, it’s easy to browse and each category has a list of trending apps. Plus, the store is available in various languages.
- Focused on the Indonesian market;
- No user account required.
AppVN is a Vietnamese Android app store. As a very easy-to-navigate store, it’s possible to download modified versions of various apps and even find apps not available in the leading stores.
Most importantly, the apps and games are free and available on multiple platforms – Android/iOS/PC.
- Automatic updates;
- Paid apps can be downloaded for free;
- The company publishes games like Minecraft even before the official release;
- You can download apps from its website, without the app.
As one of the earliest and most popular third-party Android app stores, Aptoide accounts for over 300 million users worldwide, 7 billion downloads and 1 million apps. Unlike Google Play, Aptoide does not have a single, centralized store. Instead, each user runs their own store.
Also, Aptoide has a big community around the globe. Particularly, Latin America, United States, Western Europe and Southeast Asia.
- In-store purchases through AppCoins cryptocurrency;
- Special promotions through its in-app purchase system;
- Many possibilities to feature your app;
- No geolocation restriction.
Aurora Store is a classic designed alternative app store. It’s widely known as a tracker-free alternative that does not track your downloads or update frequency. You can download and update apps, spoof your location, and much more.
- Minimalistic design;
- Users don’t need to login to make downloads.
Cafe Bazaar is a leading company in Iran, as well as a supplier of apps and a digital content marketplace. With a database of almost 40 million members, it aims largely for a Persian-speaking audience.
Moreover, Cafe Bazaar has a market share of 85% in Iran. Some of the platform’s features include video ads, search, and browse ads. The store allows apps to promote themselves and to better distribute with the platform.
- Persian-speaking audience focused;
- Largest Android market and platform in Iran.
From the alternative app stores realm, we need to mention Cherry Mobile. Indeed, Cherry Mobile is the leading smartphone manufacturer in the Philippines. The group has introduced the Cherry Mobile Pinoy Appshop in 2019 and it comes preloaded in its phones.
- Philippine market focused;
- Comes preloaded in Cherry Mobile phones.
F-Droid is one of the oldest app stores on the list and among the most trustworthy. It functions only with free and open source apps, which are made available in the project’s primary repository. Furthermore, without creating an account, users can browse, download, and install applications from the F-Droid website.
- Advertising, user tracking, or dependence on non-free software are highlighted in the app description.
Appota Group created the Gamota app store, and it’s a company that provides technology solutions and digital entertainment content in Vietnam. In addition, Gamota published more than 100 games and is present across 4 markets (Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand).
In 2015, became the top 3 game publisher in Vietnam and nowadays has over 55 million monthly active users. Also, has its own wallet with an electronic payment support solution.
- Big player in Vietnam;
- Own payment solution.
If you’re looking for an Indian app store, Gionee is a very good alternative. Since it’s in the top 15 global smartphone manufacturers, it’s one of India’s best-seller smartphone brands and it operates in the region. Besides, Gionee has its own app store, GStore, that is preloaded on its phones and offers a wide range of apps and games.
- Indian market focused.
Huawei developed its own app store, The AppGallery. The store was initially only available for Huawei and Honor devices. However, after the infamous Huawei ban, the company made its app store open to any Android devices. Many times the company releases new apps on its platforms first, before they reach Google Play.
- Own billing system;
- Rewards developers that upload their APKs straight to the platform.
Indus OS is an Android-based Indian app and content platform that unites users, app developers and smartphone manufacturers together on a single platform.
Plus, the platform is available in 12 Indian languages and offers app developers a variety of options for distribution and promotion. Besides, it offers as well data insights for targeting and performance analysis.
In India, Indus OS has over 100 million users, 1 billion downloads and over 400,000 apps.
- Indian market focused;
- AI-based personalization for easy discovery of apps for the Indian users.
Meizu started with MP3 players but in 2008 moved to smartphones. At the moment, it’s the 11th largest manufacturer in the world. Later, in 2020, Meizu exceeded 100 million monthly active users and it’s growing even more. Sony and Meizu are joining forces to bring “Flyme Apps” and new features to the “Xperia phone” in China.
- Partnership with Sony.
Mobango is an alternative app store that receives over a million visitors each year and provides thousands of downloads every day. Despite being a smaller alternative store, it can help developers rank their applications more quickly.
- Developers can submit their apps for free;
- It includes a section that highlights the week’s best games.
ONE Store was founded in 2016 by consolidating app stores of the biggest three telcos (SKT, KT, LG U+) and the biggest internet company (Naver). In addition, ONE store’s storefront is preinstalled on every Android device distributed by all telcos in Korea and provides 10 different types of billing options.
Also, this third-part app store provides 80% revenue for developers and it accounts for 15.4% of the Korean market.
- It comes pre Installed in telcos’ devices;
- Korean market focused.
Created for ColorOS devices, the OPPO App Market has more than 330 million monthly active users and more than 1.7 billion daily distributions. In addition, it’s a leading mobile phone brand in China, but also has a huge user base in India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Thailand and Europe.
Based on billion-level users, OPPO APP Market also provides developers with powerful distribution capabilities.
- Has a huge catalog of applications and video games;
- It’s developed for OPPO smartphones.
As the largest smartphone marketing brand in the Middle East, QMobile is a good way to go with alternative app stores for the Pakistan market. Additionally, QMobile has its own app store preloaded and it’s the number one player in Pakistan’s mobile phone market.
- Pakistan market focused.
Unlike the other platforms covered in this article, QooApp focuses on the more entertaining aspects of mobile apps, such as games and comics. Iit sends links to the Google Play Store, allowing users to download geo-restricted games without having to check their location.
- When you install an app, the APK is automatically removed;
- Over 6 million monthly active gamers around the world.
The Galaxy Store is Samgung’s original store. This app store supports over 12 native languages and is a safe bet because all apps are optimized by the vendor. Plus, several games were first released through the Galaxy Store before being released on Google Play.
- It has 100 million monthly users and over 100 million app downloads per month;
- Apps downloaded from the Galaxy Store operate better for Samsung users.
SlideMe is an alternative app store that provides easy-to-install and secure apps. The SlideMe market is used by over 140 Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) who follow the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). Besides, it offers both paid and free apps, as well as a quality assurance mechanism to assure maximum stability.
- All apps are screened for viruses and vulnerabilities.
With approximately 100 million monthly active users, 70 million downloads and available in 20 languages, Softonic provides display ads and a full catalog of services, such as trending apps.
Plus, after 20 years in the market perfecting the monetization of their own website, they are now bringing their expertise to the world as an alternative app store.
- Market expertise;
- EMEA Region.
TapTap is a mobile game sharing community that recommends high-quality mobile games. It was founded in China and became the largest gaming platform in the country. In the 2021 annual report, the company claims that they distributed 510 million copies of games. Over 9 million users have tried TapTap’s game streaming services, and 62.1% of them are 20 or younger.
- Robust community of developers.
As one of the biggest technology companies in China, Tencent created “Tencent My App”. At this moment, Tencent has 26% quota of China’s Android app market, along with 37,000 apps and 24,000 app publishers.
Additionaly, the company has 200 million monthly active users on average and for those who are looking to reach a larger audience, Tencent provides many tools and data to analyze and build campaigns to achieve high numbers.
- Largest independent app store in China;
- Has an open platform through which app developers can garner a large number of users.
Transsion is one of the major smartphone manufacturers with the largest user base in the Middle East and Africa, with over 100 million downloads in September 2020.
The company has a diversified promotion channel to quickly gain users and promote apps. It also has Carlcare App which went over 10 million monthly active users in November 2019.
- African market focused;
- Most popular phone maker that dominates the African market.
Uptodown is one of the industry’s oldest and most prominent alternative app stores and it has over a hundred million monthly active users. Although it won’t have the same selection of apps as Google Play, it’s possible to find some unpublished apps.
Indeed, Uptodown is a completely free platform where any developer can publish their apps.
- You can use the platform in 15 different languages;
- The platform’s contents are examined using 50 antivirus program;
- Any app’s earlier versions can be restored.
With over 75 million users worldwide, Vivo has developed distribution networks across countries around the world.
The app store is geared towards the Chinese audience, therefore the vast majority of apps are in the original language. The app store is currently available in over 50 countries.
- Chinese market focused.
As a official Xiaomi App Store, GetApps can be accessed by Redmi, Poco, and Mi devices. It has a similar user interface to Google Play and offers thousands of apps. Also, GetApps has a quality inspection team that will be on the lookout for negative apps.
- Provides a customized homepage based on users preferences;
- Allows you to highlight and gain visibility to your apps.
Definitely, alternative app stores are the way to go. The competition within the App Store and Google Play opened a big opportunity for users and developers. A realm of free apps and games, better margins, no geolocation restrictions, free of rigid rules and barriers, and full of creativity has a name – Alternative app stores.
With Catappult, you get access to 20+ alternative app stores herewith presented. A world of million users awaits your apps and games.
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