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The Top 5 Alternatives to the Android Market

Google’s Android Market isn’t the only place you can get Android apps. Whether you’re looking for free paid apps, social recommendations or an app store to replace a missing Android Market, you have a lot of choice.

Each app store is completely legit — the ones that offer free apps pay the developer for the privilege. You may even have an alternative app store on your device already if you’re an Opera user.

Allowing Non-Market Apps

By default, Android blocks you from installing apps from anywhere that isn’t the Android Market. To use any of these alternative app stores, you’ll have to enable the “Unknown Sources” option in the Applications settings screen. Check out our article on installing non-Market apps for more detailed information.

Amazon Appstore

Amazon’s app store is probably the most well-known alternative to the Android Market. It’s included by default on the Kindle Fire . The big drawback to this app store is that it’s only available in the US.

If you are in the USA, the Amazon App Store is a great alternative to the Android Market. Not only is it chock-full of paid apps and free apps, it gives away a new paid app every day. Visit it each day to check out the new free app — these apps are only free for a 24-hour period.

GetJar

GetJar isn’t as well-known, but it’s available everywhere. GetJar also gives away paid apps for free.

Unlike Amazon’s app giveaways, GetJar’s paid app giveaways don’t expire. GetJar adds new paid apps to its free “Gold Apps” section every week.

AppBrain

AppBrain takes a different, more social approach to an app store. It sells itself as an app recommendation system. With its social features, you can friend people and view your friends’ favorite apps. You can also see the apps that are currently hot, site-wide.

AppBrain’s recommendation engine scans your device and, based on what you currently have installed, gives you personalized app recommendations.

SlideME

You may not have heard of SlideME, but it claims to be the top alternative app store worldwide. It’s preloaded on a variety of devices, particularly in regions where the Android Market isn’t available.

SlideME provides a large collection of both paid and free apps. When you buy an app on SlideME, SlideME gives a higher percentage of the revenue to the developer than Google does for the Android Market.

Opera App Store

If you’re a fan of the Opera web browser, you may be surprised to know that you already have Opera’s app store on your device. You’ll find a link to it on Opera Mobile’s default speed dial page.

Opera acquired its app store though a purchase of Handster in 2011. The store contains Android apps, in addition to apps for other platforms. You can access it through a browser on your device, or use a browser on your PC and download app APK files to your computer.


There are many other app stores that aren’t included here. With so many alternatives, access to the Android Market is becoming less important with each passing day.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

  • Published 02/21/12

Comments (17)

  1. koundeenya

    awesome research work and well executed. keep the work going. I like this blog very much. will definitely subscribe.

  2. kenedy12345

    Good to know about the The Top 5 Alternatives to the Android Market.

  3. El Achèche ANIS

    There’s also the Tunisian project Yassmine Market: http://www.yasminemarket.com/
    Frankly I have not tested it ..

  4. Allen

    Android Apps are interesting and fun .They are very useful for e-learning also

  5. YB

    I like 1Mobile as it actually saves the apk file to your actual phone/tablet, but Getjar and Amazon Appstore are good as well. I hate the Android marketplace.

  6. Srishti Dubey

    Ok that is good. At least its not yet another software for yet another hardware prompting people to switch and upgrade.

    With technology changing so fast, even if the hardware and software are able to keep pace with each other, can we as users keep up with it?

    Is it practically possible to change your phone or upgrade your device 2 times a year or even once a year?

    Also what about those who are looking to learn how to program on Android or other mobile platforms like iPhone apps. As if just wondering whether to go iPhone or Android way was tough, now we also have to wonder if it possible to have a course like http://www.wiziq.com/course/2792-develop-android-applications and ever finish learning?

    I guess community and life long learning is the only way forward.

  7. Tyler F

    Top 5 alternatives to the Apple App Store.

    *tumble weed*

    This is why yet another reason Android is better, choice.

  8. Thane

    Any advice on which of these markets screen most effectively (if at all) for malware?

  9. brandido2002

    anyone know how I can save the .apk files from appbrain, jetjar, and/or the amazon app market? I dont have an android phone. instead I use the Bluestacks gadget for windows. To install apps on it I need to save the .apk files to my computer first.

  10. Doc

    I’ve got to tell you, ever since the last update to the Amazon AppStore, I’ve had nothing but problems with it. Stalled downloads taking literally a *week* or more to finish, apps reinstalling themselves over and over again, the wrong app downloading…I’ve removed almost all of my Amazon apps and replaced them with the Android Market version, and am considering removing *all* Amazon apps, paid or otherwise.

  11. SarahC

    Another great resource for Android apps, particularly for kids and parents is famigo.com. Also check out their Famigo Sandbox (http://bit.ly/ruFRkl), which brings personalized app recommendations right to your phone.

  12. Chris Hoffman

    @Thane

    Good question. The Android Market doesn’t have the best reputation, but Google scans it for malware and has the capability to remotely remove malicious apps from your Android, if they’re found.

    Other stores can’t really do that. I’m not aware that other stores have a more careful screening process.

    @Doc

    To be honest, from what I’ve heard (I’m not American, so I can’t use the Amazon App Store), the only real reason to use Amazon’s AppStore or GetJar is for the free, paid apps.

    That’s assuming your device has access to the Market. If you don’t, it’s a good thing there are alternatives!

  13. temarc

    You can add f-droid.org to that mix

    “About

    F-Droid is a bearded robot with a passion for Free and Open Source (FOSS) software on the Android platform. On this site you’ll find a repository of FOSS apps, along with an Android client to perform installations and updates, and news, reviews and other features covering all things Android and software-freedom related.”

  14. Chris Hoffman

    Wow, an FOSS app store! Thanks for sharing, temarc.

  15. Zip

    i am personally a fan of the app store “Applanet” However it needs to be downloaded from their website, Applanet.net

  16. Walid

    Hi. I invite you to tray the new market for android Apps Yasmine Market : http://www.YasmineMarket.com.

  17. hossein

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