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I am looking for an alternative app store to Google's Play Store.

Recommendations to Front-ends to the Play Store are also welcome.

Here is the desired feature set (and why):

  1. An effective search. It's amazing that Google is known for their search engine, yet the search in Google's Play Store is a joke. Even searching directly for an exact app name will not always display that app in the top listings.
  2. Valuable reviews. Ever since Google required users to login to their Google+ social network to post a review, the reviews on the Google Play Store have become worthless. Many of them seem to be written by young children trying to scribble their first words.
  3. No ads or minimal ads. Google recently started added advertisements to the Google Play Store and the search results in it. I would prefer an app store without ads or that has ads that can be easily blocked.
  • 1
    Are you looking for an alternative store – or for an alternative frontend to the Google Playstore? I could at least help you solving items 1+3. I hate #2 also for other reasons: Since G+ was enforced for that, I've not written a single review. I won't create some asocial account just for that reason, sorry. – Izzy Nov 21 '15 at 22:01
  • I agree completely. Yes, recommendations that meet at least some of the desired feature set are quite welcome. Thanks! – RockPaperLizard Nov 21 '15 at 22:44
  • Anytime – and there you go :) – Izzy Nov 22 '15 at 0:05
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On the premise of being incomplete, here are some of my recommendations:

  1. use the main Google search (via web), not the one of the store. My trick:
    intitle:<app_name> site:www.appbrain.com
  2. no idea
  3. Oh, #1 contained a spoiler: For ages (since the "tile store" launch, to be precise) I'm using Appbrain's website. It's pretty similar to what Playstore looked like before the "Windows-8 redesign", loads faster, less overhead, less noise.

With that comes my app recommendation: AppBrain App Market is a much cleaner front-end to Google's playstore (right: it's not a separate market, just a different front-end). With this, you can even disable update check in Google's Playstore app and leave that to Appbrain – which let's you skip single updates (so you only get notified again with the next), or exclude apps completely from update check.

AppBrain AppBrain

The app works with your Google Account. Installs/updates are re-directed to the Google PS app, so the original Google app is still required (which is why I can no longer use this). Another goodie: using their Ad Detector alongside, you get warned about ads and trackers in apps before you install them.

There are more Playstore Supplements available, and also Alternative Markets with their apps. My favorite in the latter group is F-Droid: very clean interface, easy to deal with, no messy ads (even not in their apps). Just the pool of apps there is a bit smaller – but everything is free and open-source.1


1: for those not aware of it: my app lists link to different sources, wherever an app is available: Playstore/AppBrain, F-Droid, Aptoide "Apps" repo (the "safe one"), Xposed Repo. This should help you get an idea. According to my stats, about 5% of the apps are available at F-Droid, 22% at Aptoide, 2% at Xposed, and 93% at Playstore. You can see: none of the store has "all the apps" ;)

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Aptoide is an alternative marketplace for mobile applications which runs on the Android operating system. In Aptoide, unlike the default Google Play Store, there is not a unique and centralized store; instead, each user manages their own store.

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Amazon AppMarket

This comes standard on Amazon's Android devices including the Kindle Fire range of devices. It offers most of the most popular apps (including Jetpack Joyride, Minecraft, WhatsApp, Facebook and Skype) and you can install it on your Android device for a perfectly functional alternative to the Play Store.

  1. From personal experience, the search is acceptable and will search for matches in the title as well as app description. If you've ever used Amazon.com, the search engine appears to to be the same.

terraria

  1. Reviews on the platform are limited but because creating an Amazon account is a barrier to many toddlers. On a more serious note, don't expect the quality of a professional industry specialist in review-writing. In reading the reviews, you get a sense of the quality of the game and a lot about how stable it is on multiple devices.
  2. Advertisements here come in the form of a featured page and occasional recommendations which is perfectly acceptable in my opinion. Monetisation is done through tying you down to Amazon's platform as a whole to increase your propensity towards shopping with Amazon so advertisements aren't overboard. This is a personal preference so your mileage may vary.

Installing the store will probably be the most challenging. Fortunately, Amazon offers an easy to follow guide which I summarise here:

  1. Enable the installation of apps from Unknown Sources in the Security or Applications tab in your device Settings.
  2. Visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/mas/get/androidapp/ on your device to download the apk.
  3. Install the apk once downloaded.

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