By Ryan Chang
You’ve just written a great Android app and you’re ready to make some money from
it. The most common route is probably to pay $25 to get it listed on Google Play. However, there are many alternatives to Google Play, each with their own audience that can drive more downloads.
Some of these app stores are catered to a smaller audience while others are more localized. Most of them don’t charge you for listing your app on their store. It can therefore pay off to publish your app in several app stores.
1. Amazon Appstore
Meet one of Google’s greatest competitors, Amazon. Amazon offers the Kindle Fire and, more recently, the Fire Phone, Android powered devices that run a custom flavor of Android, Fire OS. Despite the custom operating system, a large chunk of Android apps will run fine on Fire OS. If yours doesn’t, then it will probably only take a few tweaks to get it up and running.
You can also publish HTML5 and web apps on the Amazon Appstore. It currently contains more than 240,000 apps and they have a free app of the day feature. Take a look at Amazon’s developer portal to get started.
One of the oldest Android app marketplaces, older than Google Play, SlideME is installed on more than half of Android devices without Google Play. SlideMe takes a fee of 20% and offers a wide range of payment options, including PayPal, which Google Play doesn’t offer. In some cases, putting your Android app for sale on SlideME can result in more downloads than you’d get on Google Play, so it’s definitely worth a try.
3. 1Mobile Market
1Mobile Market only accepts free apps, but that doesn’t mean you should discard it as an alternative to Google Play. Uploading apps is free, but there is an approval process your app has to pass through. This shouldn’t be an issue as long as your app doesn’t contain malware.
1Mobile Market claims to have more than 100 million installs with more than 800,000 apps listed. Users are offered recommendations based on their preferences, which is great to discover new apps.
4. Samsung Galaxy Apps
Samsung is the biggest manufacturer of Android phones and it also has it’s own app store, Samsung Galaxy Apps. It is installed on all Samsung Galaxy series devices and therefore has a large user base. The only downside is the fairly small number of apps available on the store, about 13,000 in 2011.
Mobile9 has more than 40 million active users, so it’s another option worth considering. Users can share and comment on the apps they have installer, similar to a social network for apps. Another upside is that publishing apps is free. With more than 200 million downloads per month and only 30,000 developers, it’s definitely worth a try.
6. Opera Mobile Store
Publishing apps is free on the Opera Mobile Store, but developers only get 70% of the revenue from paid apps. Opera has an agreement with Yandex, Russia’s biggest search engine, which allows Opera’s apps to be shown in the Yandex App Store and vice versa. There are around 200,000 apps and the store receives more than 100 million visitors per month with 2 million apps downloaded per day.
Publishing apps on Mobango is also free. With millions of users and top apps generating thousands of downloads every day, Mobango is a good choice for publishing your app. There are currently 100,000 apps in the Mobango app store.
8. Soc.io Mall
Soc.io Mall‘s tagline is “The Android Mall that Loves Developers”. It offers high revenue share, 80/20, and listing your app is free. It currently has less than 10,000 apps, but the marketplace isn’t limited to apps, users can also buy games, ebooks, and the offering will soon also include music, videos, and audiobooks. The number of active users isn’t as high as other app stores, but competition is also much lower.
F-droid contains only free and open source apps. You can download apps from the official website or through the official F-droid app. The F-droid app automatically updates every app you’ve installed through F-droid. The platform is maintained by volunteers and relies on donations to pay the bills. Every app on F-droid must have an Apache or GNU open source license. Apps that include paid add-ons or advertisements are allowed, but are not displayed by default.
GetJar has more than 30 million users and includes a recommendation service, similar to that of 1Mobile. It claims to have 3 million downloads a day, with 70,000 apps in its app store. It encourages developers to use a freemium model, displaying ads and using in-app currency instead of charging for the app.They also offer the largest virtual currency on Google Play, GetJar Gold, which is available to more than 100 million users.
There are many alternative app stores on which you can sell you Android application, with each store having its pros and cons. Although neither of these can replace the Google Play, they can certainly drive more downloads and expose your apps to more potential customers. And since you can list your apps for free in these stores, it doesn’t hurt to spend a bit of time to investigate these alternatives.