The open-source nature of Android allows users to not only cut their dependence on Google but also download and install apps from a plethora of sources. There are plenty of alternative app stores that we have talked about previously. In this article, we will discuss the benefits and opportunities offered by alternative app discovery platforms to users as well as developers.
Viewing this from an end user’s perspective, one must mull over their dependence on Google’s services. One can start by switching to a different search engine or a different browser, but to really make a difference, switching to an alternative app store is a perfect way forward.
Google charges a hefty commission from app developers for every in-app purchase on their apps and this gets passed on to the users so the developer can recover these costs. Switching to an alternative app store would significantly help them earn more without increasing their prices. Additionally, you can get some fantastic apps and games on these alternative stores that are not available on the Play Store.
Google’s monopoly over the Android ecosystem is no secret as it does its best to milk all the stakeholders who need its platform, be it OEMs, app developers, or end-users. The primary beneficiary of its immense dominance in the smartphone market is Google itself. Many governments have taken note of this menacing dominance and tried to tighten their grip. However, the ground reality still remains the same due to unchallenging sanctions.
Perks of Using an Alternative App Store
If these benefits sound intriguing, wait till you hear all the perks of using an alternative app store. Here are the reasons why switching to an alternate app store can really change your smartphone experience.
Get apps in your native language
Numerous app stores customize their app library only to suit users’ needs from a specific area. This customized app library is a significant help in addressing the needs of one particular location and gives linguistic freedom to the users. Take India for example; the country has more than a hundred languages and a significant user base that prefers using apps in their language. The Play Store has some apps that offer more languages than just English, but the number is quite a letdown considering the massive user demand. Competing app stores such as the Indus App Bazaar support apps from more than 12 Indic languages and offer more Indic apps than any other app store in the region. There are similar app stores in different countries to suit the users’ needs.
In contrast, the Google Play Store serves a wide range of highly diverse countries in their culture and needs. It becomes challenging for one store to customize its experience for each country. Google simply cannot add apps according to the needs of a particular region, but alternative app stores can surely do the job.
Get apps customized to your needs
Many alternative app stores such as the Galaxy Store powered by India’s Indus App Bazaar stress a lot on the hyper-localization of apps. At Indus App Bazaar, the efforts go beyond just sorting apps by language. Instead, the app store uses a mix of artificial intelligence (AI) and moderation by human experts to serve apps in a contextual manner. This includes studying data trends about the demand and usage of the niche of apps per state or region.
Besides language, this data helps Indus App Bazaar to suggest and deliver apps to consumers who are most likely to download and use them. Further, endeavors like these allow consumers to find the right apps for their needs while helping developers reach a suitable audience for their apps.
Control your data
As a general rule of thumb, your data is always more secure with companies operating alternative app stores than with a tech giant which banking on its monopoly. Indus App Bazaar and other reputed stores will respect your privacy and won’t milk your data to show personalized ads, unlike Google, which has a significant chunk of its revenue model based on showing ads.
The policies of Big Tech companies such as Google are ambiguous when it comes to protecting user data. That’s a major reason why there is a movement around avoiding Google services. Others keep using Google services without creating a Google account, which helps them protect their data. However, this hack doesn’t work very well when you rely on the Play Store as Google makes it mandatory to have a Google account before accessing apps from the store.
Google makes it very clear when it comes to using the Play Store; either you surrender your data to the company or use an alternative to Play Store. If you also don’t want Google to be in charge of your data, you should consider using alternative app stores for your Android device. Not only do these stores provide some great functionality, but the trusted ones are also very cautious while collecting user data.
Get apps that developers mark as paid to recover their commission on the Play Store
Alternative app stores usually do not have these high commission rates, and numerous developers choose to release their apps for free on them as an alternative to the Google Play Store. The app’s creator also gets more profit when you download the same app through such a store. This marks a win-win for both users and developers.
As a user, you may or may not like the Play Store but ask app developers the same question, and you would get unanimous dislike towards the platform. That is because the Play Store crushes the developers’ incentives by charging a significant commission on every financial transaction.
Imagine the scenario from a developer’s point of view; they devote a long time building their app, and the app virtually makes no profit unless it is fully released. After building and testing the app using their resources, when it is finally time to make some money, Play Store comes in the way and takes a 30% — 15% in case of smaller developers — cut on in-app purchases.
That’s not it; Google also prohibits developers from adding other payment methods in the apps published on the Play Store. Because of the Play Store’s extensive audience base, developers can’t entirely switch to alternative app stores. But after deducting all the commissions, the final profits that the developer is supposed to earn takes a hit. To make up for these losses, some developers mark their apps as paid on the Play Store. The user has to pay to buy these apps on the Play Store and then pay more for the in-app purchases. In other words, the developers and the users share the burden of these high commission rates.
The gist is that an app that the developer thought of releasing for free becomes paid due to the high commission rates. The user pays significantly more for the same service, and the worst part is that the actual creators of the app don’t get the profits they deserve even after increasing the prices.
Download older versions
Apps keep changing with every iteration, and some of these iterations can downgrade the experience instead of upgrading it. While it is a general perception that apps bring in more features with every update, it is not always true. Sometimes apps also depreciate features or introduce bugs that worsen the user experience.
Tons of alternative app stores give you the ability to browse through every previous version of any particular app. You also get the details of the app version, along with its release date, and the changelog for every particular update. All this information is a significant help in finding your favorite app version and installing it without any hassle.
Imagine a situation where you upgrade your favorite app, hoping to get some fantastic upgrades and an enhanced feature set. However, the updated app doesn’t suit your taste, and you decide to roll back the update. If you plan to downgrade to an older version, you would only be able to roll back to the version you first installed on your device. Play Store only stores the latest versions of apps, and there is no way to download a specific older app version through the store.
Download modified apps
A significant benefit of using an alternative app store is the variety of apps you find on them. We have already discussed how alternative app stores are perfect for finding apps that are unavailable on the Play Store as well as the older app versions. Adding to the app diversity, alternative app stores also let you download mods to an app. Mods or modified apps are unofficial iterations of an app. Developers from the community go through the app’s code and find ways to modify it and make it more feature-rich. Such modifications can include adding a feature, eliminating bugs, adding dark mode, or even getting paid services for free.
If all these perks sound fun, you should definitely check out alternative app stores that feature app mods. However, it must also be noted that if a developer can penetrate an app’s code and modify it, they can also change it to spy on you or mine your data. That’s why it is essential to choose only the trusted app stores to download mod apps.
Bypass geographical restrictions on apps
Finding a geo-restricted app on an alternative app store is the best way to skirt around these restrictions. Alternative app stores, especially the smaller ones, are away from the stringent scrutiny of government agencies and get away with sharing geo-restricted apps. On the other hand, Play Store is the topmost priority of government agencies, and it undergoes constant scrutiny, making it virtually impossible to find any geo-restricted apps.
The Play Store surely has a massive app library, but there are chances that you might not find the desired application. One of the reasons for that might be your geographical location, as app availability in an area is subject to numerous factors. Many governments ban apps and services due to political reasons, and Google complies by removing them from the Play Store. The TikTok ban in India and the Facebook ban in China are some prime examples of the same. Sometimes the developers also decide to avoid a geographical area and make their apps unavailable in the location.
Perks of Alternate App Stores for Developers
We have already discussed the plight of developers after publishing their apps on Play Store. The astronomical commission rates and the prohibition of adding alternate payment methods are just the tip of the iceberg. Developers also face issues like a stringent security policy from Google.
You might argue that a strict security policy would eventually benefit the end-user as less malware ends up on their devices. While the argument is theoretically unbeatable, Google’s security policy has much more than just malware protection. The policy also prohibits any apps that hamper Google’s revenue model. For instance, Google recently banned all call recording apps from the Google Play Store citing privacy concerns but without removing the call recording option from its own dialer app.
In addition to asserting its dominance, Google also bans app mods and takes a long time to approve apps and updates before publishing them on the Play Store.
Almost every app developer publishes their apps to multiple app stores than just the Play Store. Here are a few perks that you as an app developer should expect while publishing your apps on an alternate store.
An obvious benefit of using multiple app stores instead of just one is increased visibility. Although the Play Store has the most extensive user base in the Android world, a great deal of users avoids using Play Store and rely on alternate stores for their app needs. Adding your apps to different app stores is a great way to get more app traffic without paying a penny.
Moreover, Play Store has a massive app library and covers apps from almost every genre. Getting recognition on such a large platform is a mammoth task than doing the same on an alternative app store. This factor is especially relevant for app developers who are not experienced in publishing apps and want quick traffic on their apps.
Developers can use their preferred payment method
The world has moved way ahead of cash. Money is no longer the only currency printed by a country’s central bank, and newer forms of financial tenders such as cryptocurrencies are being introduced worldwide. Alternative app stores have leaped forward in this regard too. A popular alternative app store, Aptoide, accepts crypto payments for paid apps available on the platform. Apart from being a significant feature, it is also a terrific way to attract crypto enthusiasts that want crypto payments on as many platforms as possible. If your app accepts crypto payments, it also shows your progressive mindset toward future technology as well as the ability to adapt to users’ demands.
In addition to fair opportunities for developers to earn, certain app stores such as the Indus App Bazaar also provide them with extra benefits including free AWS credits worth $25,000 and access to BreachTape’s Content Delivery Network (CDN) as an introductory perk.
The prohibition of using alternate payment methods on the Play Store is its major caveat, and Google uses this to get that desired commission rates on each purchase. However, most alternative app stores do not impose such monopolistic policies and allow developers to use their preferred methods for payments. You, as a developer, can make a substantial profit on each in-app purchase without having to worry about Google’s cut anymore.
Developers can reach niche audiences
Alternative app stores don’t have such large app libraries and have a more flexible algorithm. Try finding stores that serve a similar niche that you want to target. If you are a developer who wants to offer their app to an Indian user base in an Indic language, the Indus App Bazaar might just be your gateway to success. As mentioned above, the store has apps in 12 Indic languages, and numerous Indian developers are enjoying significant traffic from the platform.
This point is primarily for the developers that build apps for a niche audience. Making your apps rank in the search results is already tricky on the Play Store. This mammoth task becomes even more onerous for independent developers that target niche audiences. Play Store’s algorithm always prefers apps that serve a larger audience and are more general in their appeal. Both indie developers and audiences face the consequences as it becomes difficult to find each other; the developers can’t find their desired user base, and the target user can’t find the app they need.
Publishing apps is much easier
Buggy updates are almost inevitable, and as a developer, you can only release an update that fixes the bug. Imagine a situation where you have developed an update in response to a buggy iteration. As a developer, you want more people to get the update as soon as possible, but the sluggish Play Store approval policy can become a disaster as more people can encounter the bug while Play Store approves your update. Publishing the update on an alternate store can help the developer reach its audience quicker and send the update sooner.
Play Store is infamous for the waiting period before an app is approved and published. That’s a major reason why app updates are available on alternative stores before Play Store. App developers and users can benefit from quicker updates as new features can reach the end-user quicker. Moreover, a quick update can become a gamechanger in case of a buggy update and subsequent response.
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