Google Not Against Alternative App Stores, & Neither Am I [OPINION]


Alternative app stores and markets for Android are nothing new. GetJar’s long been a provider of downloads, SlideMe is a classic offering that everyone from the original G1 days should remember, and countless more are out and about. No one’s really made noise about this sect of the ecosystem, however, until folks like Verizon, Amazon, and Best Buy have been rumored to launch their own stores. Their names obviously add a lot of attention to their ventures, but we all know what it’s really about: policy.

At  least for Verizon and Amazon, a lot of what they want to do with their own separate app stores resemble what we all hate about Apple’s walled garden.  None of their plans are confirmed yet, but going based on the leaked distribution agreement for Amazon and details from emails sent to developers, the amount of control they are looking to have over anyone doing business with them is enough to leave a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths. I don’t think we should be angry at these companies for wanting to carry out their own strategies using Android as the peddler.


For Amazon’s case, their app store looks to accompany a supposed tablet that could be headed our way (or at least announced) as early as the end of this month. We all want a bulging tablet market to take off, but up until now Google hasn’t made it easygoing for any manufacturers to get into. Archos led the way earlier on and Samsung’s taken the challenge on quite well, but whatever’s working for them doesn’t seem to work for everyone else. Amazon likely wants to maintain a level of quality and control over their tablet experience to make it more valuable in the eyes of users and developers alike.

Who are we to say that they can’t provide (and excuse me for this line that sounds like it came straight from the mouth of a public relations representative) the best possible hardware and software experience for the end user? Why should they be forced to comply with Google’s terms to include the Android market when that’s not the sort of thing they want to do with their tablet? And even if they did comply, they probably wouldn’t be OK with something like this:


No offense to Samsung, of course. But the point is they don’t feel that the Android market fits with what they want to do, and they want to take a different approach. Are we really ready to throw them to the wolves because of that? As consumers, voting with our wallets is the only thing we can do to express our distaste with something a company’s doing. I don’t mean to echo sentiments that have been echoed since the beginning of time, but if you don’t like it then don’t buy it. It’s not hurting you to know that other app markets out there might exist.

And as long as Google doesn’t mind and as long as they keep the Android market going just as comfortably as it has been, then what’s the issue? It’s not like these third party vendors are bidding on replacing the Android market – there is no replacement for the Android market. At least for the smartphone sector, there’s nothing to be sour about. For tablets, it’s something Google has to work on and it’s something they’ve acknowledged they’re working on. Until then, let the carriers and the manufacturers do what they need to do and just go on about your business.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Android is all about open, which is great.

    WP7 won’t allow side-loading, just like the Apple app store, which is truly stupid.

    As long as Android market exists, and I can side-load apps, I’m okay with it.

  2. Yeah, I think Google have hit the right balance between user control and corporate control. They still have the ability to remove apps from all phones remotely and update the Market application automatically, but they’ve never intruded.

  3. A major problem is that no Android Market means no push notifications for third party apps. Many apps are finally getting away from continuously polling for updates.


  4. Are you sure Google can remove apps from all phones? I mean, even if I download from Amazons store can Google wipe those apps. This doesn’t seem correct….I don’t want any company intruding in on what I have or havn’t been downloading. Wil they refund not only my app but the time I may have spent in configuring/using the apps?

  5. I think having a consolidated App market is best. Especially when you’re looking at people uploading stuff to carrier specific app stores/device specific app stores. Then it’s just stupid and is destined to fail. I understand carriers having their own app stores, gotta get that crappy VZ navigator service somehow.

  6. Your in favor of this because your not a developper. I have 6 email on my inbox for different appstores that want to publish my app, all of them require a username and a password to publish and everything… My app is free and I dont wanna go throught posting my app to ten different site everytime there is an update. The time I’m developping is already given for free to all or you guys, I think thats is enough.

  7. The main problem I have with these app stores is that they contribute to the blurring of what it means to be an Android device, and that when shopping for future devices I won’t be able to make ANY assumptions about the features or compatibility of Android devices.

  8. Why would Google be against making more money? They are not. :-) It’s nice to see a progressive company like Google.

  9. steve, if you don’t want to put your app in multiple locations there’s an easy solution – don’t.

    problem solved.

    if you think logging into a site is too much trouble to distribute your goods to retail outlets, try getting real-world goods distributed some time.

    i’d expect most other developers to favor the existence of multiple app stores. as the stores compete things like distribution agreements, pricing, availability, marketing, etc. as a whole will improve across the android ecosystem.

  10. If cities can have several supermarkets, why shouldn’t Android have several application markets?

    Openness and choice are good. Android is awesome.

  11. And Android continues to fragment. This sucks with a hundred different app stores, manufacturers covering the stock interface with their crap, and carriers filling up memory with bloatware. Sounds like Windows Mobile of the past decade, doesn’t it? Looks like Google will be making the same mistakes that killed Winmo. You’d think they would have watched MS, and not be making the same mistakes……

  12. several appstores is not a bad idea. Appstores that dont do well will be ignored by everybody and the best ones will rise to the top.

  13. just like in darwinian evolution.

  14. Agree. Been using Mikandi app store for a while now. ;)

  15. Amazon and Best Buy see tablets as a content delivery device.

    They want to control all the content transactions (books, movies, music, television, etc…) so it makes sense for them to own the app transactions and integrate them into their overall “store” too.

    The goal for Amazon and BB is that Joe Average will buy all his content thru the Amazon Store and not even know that there are other options.

    I don’t see a need for more than one app store any more than I see a need for my city to have more than one gas station or grocery store.
    The last thing I need is to worry about which grocery store has diet coke. Even worse I don’t want to be worrying about which gas station sells gasoline.
    Why would we want multiple app stores competing for (paid) developers? This will ultimately only lead to app stores offering developers better terms and rates. If Apple has taught us anything it is that while developers are unfortunately a necessary evil, they are also a disposable resource to be thrown away or blocked from selling the apps they have invested in developing. It is these same evil people who make it possible for others to (gasp!) jailbreak their devices.
    If Microsoft has taught us anything it is that there should never be any competition. On that thought, Android needs to follow Apple’s lead on having the ONE true device made by only ONE company and sold on ONE network, and only ONE app store.

  17. @Paul: Are you a developer? I am, and I’m with Steve on this one. I have free and paid versions of my app, and although I want to maximize my revenue I’m only a one man shop here – part time. Sure, the idea of reaching more users through multiple markets is a good one, but it would require me to spend more time distributing and less time developing. This is not a big deal for big companies but for guys like me it’s a pain in the butt.

  18. Alex,

    I am sure most of the people have in any case a minimum of 5 user accounts in the real world. A google account, a facebook account, a twitter account, a linkedin account and an office account.

  19. I’m okay with it as long as they don’t remove the android market from any devices. I love choice

  20. I like comments #9 & 16. Very good points.

  21. Well, I AM a developer, and the more app stores the better – I’m willing to place it on them. However, they better give me some return and if not, I’ll remove it from the ones that don’t. Simple as that.


  22. Google should be concerned. It not only dilutes the market but makes it confusing to the layman consumer. I also think it is more work for the developer where if there is an update they have to update every market rather than one. This is why the itunes store works so well.

    Also, case and point after what happened this week with Rovio who all of the sudden decided to snub the Market and put it on some back alley market brought confusion and their whole server down.

  23. People seriously do not see the humour in wanting to prevent multiple app stores on Android?

    “Confusing to the layman”?

    Itunes, frankly, does not ‘work well’ and limits/controls the apps. It has more being the first true app store, but more does not = better.

    More choice creates competition which = better consumer choice.

    One unified app store = Itunes bully tactics and non-competition.

    Hopefully if a device had multiple app stores though you would have the choice to remove the stores or a store from the device.

  24. Hello, I appreciate the discussion around this topic. Our startup, BloomWorlds is developing the “family friendly” option for Android applications.

    We are very niche focused app store and believe we can deliver value to both developers looking to monetize their apps, and parents in the market to buy apps for their children.

    If you have any questions please feel free to ask. We would love some additional feedback from the Android community.

    Thank you,

    Todd R. Levy
    Co-founder BloomWorlds

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