A List of Alternative App Stores for Distributing your App or Mobile Game

Alternative App Store Logos

The Google Play Store for Android and the Apple App Store for iOS are the two largest distribution channels for mobile apps, offering almost global coverage to a huge potential audience. However, as competition on the two major stores has grown, developers have found it increasingly difficult to achieve visibility on them. At the same time, a host of new alternative app stores have proliferated, driven by the open nature of the Android platform (which allows third party app distribution) and growth of the Chinese app market, where Google Play is not available. These new app store environments offer a number of benefits for developers and can form an important part of an app marketing and distribution strategy.

Exclusive Bonus:  Download the PDF report on Alternative App Stores

To start with these different app stores may cater to a niche audience. Knowing what audience an app store caters to means developers can upload their app with confidence – there will be users that are interested in that type of app. For example, an alternative app store may focus on a specific app genre (e.g. games, utilities, business or one type of user segment). Alternative app stores also allow targeting of national audiences – for example Wandoujia (China), and the SK T-Store (Korea) would be key channels for Western developers and publishers seeking to access those markets. In fact, when targeting the Chinese market, there’s no choice but to use one of the maybe 200 ‘alternative’ stores that exist there.

Alternative app stores may also offer a revenue share model that is more favourable to developers than the standard 70/30 split offered by Apple and Google Play. For example, Soc.io Mall offers a 80/20 split in favour of the developer. Some app stores may not be as generous with their revenue share model, but do offer the ability to pay for a certain amount of downloads to increase an app’s popularity, or even to buy ‘featured’ placement. This ability to access additional promotional tools is one of the key advantages of using different app stores for independent developers who may find the tight editorial control of the major stores difficult to penetrate.

To some extent, alternative app stores are becoming too big for developers to ignore. Data from the One Platform Foundation suggests that a developer who submits their app to multiple alternative app stores will increase their expected downloads by 200% when compared to the Google Play Store. One thing is clear, alternative app stores can deliver increasingly impressive levels of downloads and user numbers:

  • AppChina has 30 million users
  • Tencent App Gem has 80 million users
  • Anzhi has 25 million users
  • The Amazon Appstore has 25 million apps downloaded every month
  • The Opera Mobile Store has 30 million apps downloaded every month
  • AppChina has 600 million apps downloaded every month
  • Wandoujia, China’s largest alternative app store, has a staggering 200 million users with over 30 million apps downloaded every day 500,000 new users are acquired every day
  • Samsung Apps is preinstalled on more than 100 million Galaxy smartphones

App Store User base Breakdown

The chart below shows the number of users from some of the biggest alternative app stores. Wandoujia is clearly emerging as the leader in terms of users with over 200m in total – a figure that is likely to grow significantly following its recent fundraising round of £120m. However, a number of other Chinese stores also deliver user bases in the 10s of millions as does the SK Telecom store in South Korea.

App Store User Bases 2013 (m) 

App Store Users

Source: One Platform FoundationCrunchBaseTechinAsia

App Store Downloads Breakdown

The chart below shows the number of app store app downloads each month. Again, the major Chinese stores are pushing 1bn downloads per month whilst some of the Western based players are still relatively small in scale with volumes in the 10s rather than 100s of millions. This reflects the fact that in China, the ‘alternative’ stores are the main route to market, whereas elsewhere they remain an additional channel to iOS and Google Play.

 App Store App Download Volumes Per Month (m)

App Store Downloads

Source: One Platform FoundationCrunchBaseTechinAsia 

 

The List of Alternative App Stores:

With some of the advantages of alternative app stores listed above then, the next stage is knowing the specifics of each store. Our guide below has the key information on these alternative distribution channels. If you have any suggestions for other app stores that we may have missed, do not hesitate to get in contact with us.

 

SlideMe

SlideMe

SlideMe is an alternative app store that was founded in 2008 and is based in Seattle. Serving as a marketplace (and featuring a growing community within this), it hosts a variety of Android apps catered to specific audiences. The company says their philosophy is defined on the basis that “one Application Store can’t reach everyone, everywhere with the applications they want.” They are ranked second to Google Play when speaking in terms of global reach for Android apps – an impressive milestone.

The company provides an “on-device” Application Store for device vendors, and delivers the apps themselves to niche markets through variables such as: geographical location, the device being utilised, the payment method and apps that users can’t find in a more conventional manner; SlideMe allows developers to sell their new app globally. In essence, the company is positioned as the place that distributes developers’ apps to users who do not have Google Play enabled devices available to them – many of these devices have SlideMe preloaded instead. They also offer custom distribution channels, they have no country restrictions across different Android device types and there is no setup fee for developers.

 

SlideMe Breakdown

  • Platforms: Android
  • Countries: Global
  • Developer Services: Promotional tools, distribution platform, (no setup fee)
  • Key stats: Preloaded on handsets of over 140 manufacturers; features on more than 20 million Android devices

SlideMe Store Releases

 

Amazon Appstore

Amazon App Store Logo

Amazon launched their own alternative app store for Android developers in 2011 and being a well-known brand has helped the company attract quite a lot of attention to it. The store features a smaller number of apps than some of the other competing stores, this is partly due to their moderation process which has to meet certain quality standards. They offer a free paid app or game every day which can generate a significant amount of exposure for the app developer, and personalised recommendations, customer reviews and 1-Click payment options mean users can find and install a developer’s app quickly and easily.

Amazon provides useful services for developers using their app store, such as: an app compatibility test that detects problems for developers automatically – the test will let developers know if their app is suitable for publishing or not; a cross-platform analytics service that analyses user engagement through active devices, sessions and retention; a reward program for developers called the Appstore Developer Select which offers free ad impressions, boosts customer acquisition through Amazon “coins” and offers 25% credit back when purchasing Amazon Web Services products. The company is positioned as one of the largest third-party alternative app stores and they allow for the distribution of developers’ apps in over 200 countries in online and mobile store formats.

 

Amazon Appstore Breakdown

  • Platforms: Android
  • Countries: Global
  • Developer Services: Developer select program, cross-platform analytics
  • Key stats: 80,000 apps on the store; 25 million apps downloaded every month

Amazon Appstore Free Apps Demo

 

GetJar

GetJar Logo

Founded in 2004 by Ilja Laurs and based in California, GetJar has had over 2 billion apps downloaded since its inception; 3 million apps are downloaded every day. Additionally, over 395,000 developers have registered with the company to distribute their apps. The supported app platforms for developers are Android, the older Windows Mobile, and even iOS, (although Android is predominant here). Users can find a developer’s app through a series of categories and top and newer apps are displayed on the front page of the website-store.

On the developer side of things, there is no upfront cost and the requirements to get an app published are minimal. Developers have the ability to target any phone or platform as well, so there is a high degree of flexibility here. Specifically for developers looking to publish Android apps, there is the ability to grow in-app revenue through GetJar’s Offerwall system and the option of displaying App deals within an app and offering in-app discounts to re-engage existing users or acquire new ones. GetJar claims to reach over 200 million Android users too – developers can target this audience with free cross-promotion and the company’s proprietary Behavioral Targeting technology. They are positioned as one of the largest alternative app stores out there at the time of writing.

 

GetJar Breakdown

  • Platforms: Android, BlackBerry, Java, Symbian, Windows Mobile
  • Countries: Global
  • Developer Services: Promotional tools, cross-platform analytics, distribution platform, (no setup fee)
  • Key stats: 3 million apps downloaded every day; reaches over 200 million Android users

IDCEE 2013: Official Interview with Ilja Laurs, the Founder and Chairman of GetJar

 

Opera Mobile Store

Opera Mobile Store

The Opera Mobile Store was launched in 2011 and followed the success of Opera Mobile that launched long ago in 2000. The company’s popular store boasts support for multiple app formats: Android, Java, iOS, Windows Mobile and provides 170,000 apps and games for 6,000 different mobile phone models. The front of the website-store features the most popular apps, new paid and free software that has just been released and software that has been updated recently. The apps are split into key categories like Business and Finance, Games, Multimedia, Communication and more.

App or game developers can sign up for a developer account which allows them to publish their apps to multiple different formats; a promotional platform is also part of this free account. The store’s large range of supported app formats coupled with the fact a developer’s app can be distributed to 230 countries, means the platform is positioned as one of the leading places for a developer to reach specific local markets – this is ideal then for a developer who has created an app with a definite market in mind. A new blog has also launched on the store that offers guidance, insight and rewards for new developers with interviews, app reviews, contests and more.

 

Opera Mobile Store Breakdown

  • Platforms: Android, Java, Symbian, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, iOS
  • Countries: Global
  • Developer Services: Free promotional platform, distribution platform
  • Key stats: 100,000,000 users per month; 1,800,000 apps are downloaded per day; apps are published in 230 countries

 Opera Mobile Advertising – Promotion of Mobile apps and Games

AppsLib

AppsLib

AppsLib is a specialised marketplace that was launched in 2009 by the creators of Archos tablets. The store’s apps are designed for Andorid devices with larger screens, predominantly Android tablets; the store is present on over 2 million Android tablets. There are roughly 40,000 apps on the store itself and they are approved individually for different tablet devices which is indicated by a stamp – the apps come in paid and free varieties as well. Users are required to choose their tablet device and create an account before they can download apps.

Developers can target a wide range of users with AppsLib and the platform offers a high amount of specificity: developers have the option to choose which exact tablet devices their apps will appear on. The manufacturers of these devices are given tools to test a developer’s app, which, if successful, results in the aforementioned approved stamp that users see when browsing the store. Payment to developers is provided via PayPal, and the revenue share model is the standard: 70% goes to the app’s developer and 30% goes to the company to cover the costs. AppsLib actually comes installed on many of the Android tablet devices the apps are created for, meaning it has a high amount of availability to users, and consequently, a greater amount of exposure for the developer. The company’s store is positioned as one of the dominant marketplaces for Android tablet apps.

 

AppsLib Breakdown

  • Platforms: Android (mainly tablets)
  • Countries: Global
  • Developer Services: App certification, developer account for downloads and sales data, payments via PayPal
  • Key stats: 40,000 apps on the store; present on over 2 million Android tablets

Restoring AppsLib Store on an Archos 32 Tablet using Wi-Fi

 

AppBrain

AppBrain

AppBrain is an online Android market browser store with the ability to enable installations directly to a user’s phone. The store was founded by Mathijs Vogelzang and the Zürich-based company AppTornado in 2009. The company has launched an impressive 35 Android apps, which when combined, total 50 million downloads – these apps are published by Swiss Codemonkeys. The store displays the Android apps via search, categories and rankings, and sections such as hot today, all-time popular, top rated and the popularity in a certain country, which help users to locate Android apps more efficiently – at the time of writing there are 1036815 apps available on the Android market.

AppBrain gives app developers the option of advertising their app through a pay-per-install based promotion system to acquire new users and expand their business. The option for app developers to monetise their app is carried out through the use of the AppLift SDK by AppBrain. The AppLift network offerwall behind this gives users the chance to download and install free apps to their device – each time one of these free apps is downloaded, the developer generates revenue from it. Developers can create further installs through the AppBrain network which is effective for launch campaigns. A free app can also be downloaded so users can manage their apps on their device as well, meaning there is a higher level of availability. Users can share their favourite apps installed on their device with other friends – for the developer then, this helps to drive revenue. AppBrain is positioned as one of the leading ways to discover Android apps, so it’s worth considering by developers looking to distribute their app to an large alternative store.

 

AppBrain Breakdown

  • Platforms: Android
  • Countries: Global
  • Developer Services: AppLift SDK tools (monetisation service), promotion system, real time tracking
  • Key stats: Launched 35 self-developed Android apps that total over 50 million downloads

AppBrain Fast Web Installer Tutorial

 

Anzhi

Anzhi

Anzhi, once named GoAPK, is one of the oldest Chinese Android markets out there launching way back in 2008. The popular store was backed by Chinese games giant Shanda, which has enabled Anzhi to deliver millions of app downloads over time. The store often comes pre-installed on mobile devices, as the Google Play store is extremely difficult to access in China. There is an app available to get Anzhi on mobile devices which allows users to access the store and browse through the various categories the apps fall into. The apps are divided into the following categories: featured, new, must have and topic.

Anzhi is driven primarily by its very large community where users can discuss the apps they have downloaded – this is central in dictating whether an app is successful or not for the developers. If an app is positively spoken about in the forum, then it is likely that it will be a continuing success for the developer. If users have not enjoyed the app however, an app developer may have difficulty being found and appreciated on the store. It is worth mentioning that the number of malware apps on the Anzhi store can be a hindrance to both users and developers alike, (a common problem with the alternative Chinese app stores). Anzhi is positioned as one of the most popular Android app stores in China.

 

Anzhi Breakdown

  • Platforms: Android
  • Countries: China
  • Developer Services: Promotional tools, free account setup, app distribution
  • Key stats: 25 million active users

Anzhi App Store Review

 

Aptoide

Aptoide

Founded in 2011, Aptoide differs from many of the alternative Android app stores out there because any user can also create their own store within its marketplace. The benefit of having such a unique system means there is a significant diversity of apps available on the growing platform. Apps can be downloaded from the website after installing a client and they are split into two distinct categories for users to browse through: applications, and then a separate section for games. Like most of the alternative app stores, Aptoide can be browsed through on both the website and via mobile devices.

On the developer side of things, Aptoide offers a Certified Publishers Program which is free to use – Aptoide claim there are no limitations for its free use. Once a developer is certified, they are entitled to certain benefits such as being marked as a trusted developer to users by a visible stamp and having access to a larger userbase. A certified developer also has priority in Aptoide’s search results, with access to app statistics which allows them to analyse the different variables, and the ability to manage app distribution across multiple stores. Developers are assigned a member of the Aptoide team for help with other issues they may face. The revenue sharing conditions include in-app advertisement and in-app billing. Aptoide is positioned as one of the key and rising alternative app stores due to its unique multi-store approach.

 

Aptoide Breakdown

  • Platforms: Android
  • Countries: Global
  • Developer Services: Certified publishers program, app statistics, multiple-store app distribution platform
  • Key stats: Used by 3.5 million active monthly users

Aptoide’s Partner Program

 

Yandex

Yandex

Founded in 1997, Yandex is a Russian internet technologies company and serves as the leading search provider in Russia. Since their rapid growth, the giant company has also launched its own separate alternative app store for Android devices; the Yandex store comes pre-installed on Jolla handsets since a deal was successfully made between the two companies. The store features automatic app updates, Kaspersky anti-virus protection and mobile billing functionality. Apps and games are stylishly displayed within the Yandex store across categories such as featured, top in the charts, and games. The APK for the store can be downloaded for free straight to Android devices and access is granted after a simple and standard account setup process.

Developers can find a host of new distribution options that allow them to publish their new app quickly and across all of Yandex’s partner stores. The Yandex store supports payment by credit cards and mobile billing on the developers side of things as well. Once a developer has signed up to the Yandex store, they can add their app by going to the developer console and following the process – a new app will only be approved by Yandex once it has passed the antivirus check. In terms of the revenue share model, developers who sell their app on the store will follow the standard 70/30 split found in many other alternative app stores. Yandex is positioned as the store that is becoming a very serious contender for Google’s own store.

 

Yandex App Store Breakdown

  • Platforms: Android
  • Countries: Global
  • Developer Services: Distribution through partner stores, payment via credit cards, mobile billing
  • Key stats: App store features over 85,000 apps; store is preinstalled by 6 OEMs

Publishing to Multiple App Stores Simplified

 

Mobango

Mobango

Founded in 2006, Mobango is a community-driven alternative app store that offers a free online and mobile service platform. Mobango allows users to create and share a wide variety of mobile content, not just apps and games. The free online and mobile service is used by 8 million registered mobile user across 150 different countries. Android and Java are the biggest supported formats on the store, while others such as Windows Mobile, Symbian and BlackBerry feature a limited selection of apps. As the store provides a host of other mobile content, applications and games are split into two separate sections. Within these two sections there are further categories like Education or Business for the apps section and Action or Adventure for games.

Developers can publish their mobile apps and games for free by registering with Mobango. Distribution and the promotion of these apps or games happens from the self-serve platform – developers may also track the progress of their app here. While promoting their app on Mobango, developers pay per each individual completed download. A developer’s app is promoted in premium areas of the store, that in turn help to drive the downloads and installs. Mobango does not offer a form of monetisation for developers, instead the promotion and subsequent downloads of their app is the incentive to publish. Mobango is positioned as the largest mobile web community in the world, and with its continued growth, the number of app developers jumping aboard is rising.

 

Mobango Breakdown

  • Platforms: Android, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, Java, Symbian
  • Countries: Global
  • Developer Services: Self-serve platform for distribution and promotion
  • Key stats: 100,000 apps across all platforms; 1bn total downloads globally; 40,000 developers signed up; 8mn users

Mobango Apps Store

 

AppsZoom

AppsZoom

Founded in 2009, AppsZoom is an alternative app store that features apps and games for both the Android and iOS formats. Thousands of apps and games are reviewed every year by the editorial team to ensure there is a quality selection for users to browse through. Making sure there is a healthy selection of apps for users is so central to AppsZoom that they recently won the “Best Mobile App Review Site” as part of their growing success. The apps on the website are displayed in various categories along with a dedicated section for both Android and iOS. A community feature is another aspect that AppsZoom can boast – users have the ability to find out what others are installing through activity feeds that help promote exciting new apps on the rise. A blog is also independently managed by the team at AppsZoom which provides important updates on the mobile app industry.

Developers are not left out either, with AppsZoom providing a host of tools to make app distribution as easy as possible. Fitting in with the overall image of the store, developers are rewarded for their quality apps. A developer’s app has the option of being reviewed by a member of the team, which if acclaimed, means: a reviewed app is downloaded four times more than one without a review, developers can share their credible reference and their app is featured in an exclusive “latest reviews” section. There is also an app analysis section for developers which recommends what needs to be improved on an individual app – there is a fee for using this service. AppsZoom can handle the promotion side of things too, with Geotargeting, CPI/CPC /CPM options, Campaign schedules and Campaign reports being part of the service. Lastly, APK downloads allow users who don’t have Google Play to download a developer’s app. AppsZoom is positioned as a growing alternative app store that is focused on alerting users to new, exciting and quality apps, while providing ways for developers to get discovered as well.

 

AppsZoom Breakdown

  • Platforms: Android, iOS
  • Countries: Global
  • Developer Services: Promotional tools (Geotargeting, CPI, CPC and CPM), distribution tools, app analysis, APK downloads
  • Key stats: AppsZoom Apps Discoverer app downloaded 125,000 times

AppsZoom Social Features Demonstration

 

Baidu

baidu

Baidu, China’s leading search engine, decided to join in the mobile apps industry by launching their own alternative app store for Android devices. The Baidu store aggregates apps from other third-party stores in an aim to ensure there is a comprehensive library available to users – a mobile app is available for users who prefer to browse on the go rather than on a computer. Apps are displayed on the web page in columns, and a star rating indicates the popularity of an app to the user. At the top of the page some apps are featured with a large image advertising them; a great way for developers to get their app noticed on the giant store. A search bar feature allows users to find apps they were looking for, or to discover new ones they might not have known about.

One of the major advantages of signing up to develop at Baidu is that a developer’s apps are displayed through the search results of many of Baidu’s biggest services. The search engine itself is one of these services, and as Baidu comfortably leads in this area, the chances of a developer’s app getting noticed is greatly increased. One of the key problems for some developers has been that the opportunity to distribute apps in Baidu’s store is hindered by the language barrier – Baidu has since launched an English language website for developers who want to take part in the huge and foreign app market. The website serves as an introduction to Baidu’s developer tools, such as: the in-App ad service, an analytics platform, PCE (Personal Cloud Storage), BCE, (Baidu Cloud Environment), and more. The website also offers news updates on the mobile apps industry. Baidu has said it plans to significantly expand the website so any developer who wants to tackle the foreign market can do so. Baidu is positioned as the leading search engine in China, and their alternative app store is becoming one many developers want to sign up to.

 

Baidu App Store Breakdown

  • Platforms: Android
  • Countries: China
  • Developer Services: Promotional tools, analytics service, in-app updates, MTC centre
  • Key stats: 69 million daily native apps are distributed through the store

Baidu Company Overview

Baidu from Nanor

 

Samsung Apps

Samsung Apps

Samsung launched its alternative app store in 2009 with the aim of providing a place where users could download apps across Samsung’s extensive mobile product range this includes tablets of course. The apps are specially catered to Android Samsung devices and there is a range of free and paid applications for users to browse through. The left side of the store displays the categories of apps that are available, with health and fitness to social networking to pure entertainment apps – top paid, top free and top new sections also feature prominently on the store. At the very top of the store is a premium choice section recognising some of the best apps on the store. Apps can also be displayed via the user inputting what device they have.

Developers have access to development tools such as the Samsung Mobile SDK, an in-app purchase system, and the AdHub SDK. The Samsung Mobile SDK consists of ten independent packages with their own features to help developers during the creation process – these packages range from gesture, media control, motion, image filters and more. The Samsung in-app purchase system allows developers to sell additional content with their Android apps – it also means they can provide a variety of items to the users. The Samsung AdHub SDK allows developers (and advertisers) to generate revenue through their apps by using Real-time-bidding functionality as their advertising solution. Samsung is the number one leading mobile phone manufacturer, so it comes as no surprise that their Android app store carries some significant force behind it.

 

Samsung Apps Breakdown

  • Platforms: Android
  • Countries: Global
  • Developer Services: Samsung Mobile SDK, promotional tools, in-app purchase system, real-time bidding
  • Key stats: Samsung distributes its apps in 125 different countries

Samsung Apps Web Tutorial

 

1Mobile

1Mobile Market

1Mobile is an alternative app store that provides a collection of mobile apps, games and videos. Multiple mobile formats are catered to on the website, but Google’s Android format features the largest library of applications. The apps are displayed in a variety of ways on the website: there is a “Games of the Week” feature at the top that lists the best new apps and games to appear on Google Play within the last week, an editor’s choice section where the editors list their favourite 50 games and apps, the top trends of recent times and more. A section of the website is also home to the 1Mobile Market APK – the dedicated 1Mobile store app for mobile devices that allows users to browse, download and install over 60,000 apps wherever they are.

Developers have to go through a standard registration procedure before they can start publishing apps on 1Mobile. Once they have registered for an account, developers submit their app to 1Mobile for an “AppReview” – if the developer’s app is judged to be of a high enough quality to be published, it will appear on 1Mobile within 2 business days. If the app doesn’t meet the certain requirements, then the developer will have to respond to the feedback and fix any present errors – it’s part of 1Mobile being a store that focuses on providing a selection of quality apps to its users. The revenue share model for 1Mobile is the standard 70/30 split – a special SDK is required for the purpose of in-app billing. 1Mobile is positioned as an app store that is focused on becoming the leading alternative choice for app store sales and distribution.

 

1Mobile Breakdown

  • Platforms: Android
  • Countries: Global
  • Developer Services: Distribution platform, promotional tools, SDK required (for in-app billing)
  • Key stats: There are over 500,000 Android apps on the 1Mobile market

1Mobile App Demonstration

 

AppChina

AppChina

AppChina (formerly Qiuqiu), is an alternative app store that was founded in 2011. With 30 million users installing the store’s mobile client, and a completed A-round funding worth $6.35 million, AppChina aims to become the leading Chinese app store in the mobile apps industry – no easy task with multiple competitors that are determined to do the same. A unique feature of AppChina is that it is the only app store in China to pay back double any loss resulting from virus-infected apps to its users. There is also a host of different ways to download the apps on the store: users can download the APK files to their computer, they can use use the Peapod Client separately to download the apps, they can get a download link through a text message, or they can use the official and dedicated app from AppChina.

Developers have to register for an account on AppChina, and once this is completed, they can upload and update any apps that are being distributed. AppChina reviews every app submitted to them within 1-3 business days, and any app that doesn’t meet the requirements will be sent back to the developer for changes. Developers from countries other than China, that want to distribute their apps to the store, may find it difficult as there is very little in the way of help at the time of writing. AppChina is positioned as one of the rapidly growing alternative Chinese app stores fighting for first place in the evergrowing mobile apps industry – with huge funding backing them and new features appearing frequently, they may well take the top spot.

 

AppChina Breakdown

  • Platforms: Android
  • Countries: China
  • Developer Services: Distribution platform and promotional services
  • Key stats: There are 120,000 apps available on the store; on average, each app is downloaded 5,000 times

AppChina Store Demonstration

 

AndroidPit

AndroidPit

The young Berlin-based company AndroidPit launched their own alternative app store in in 2009. The company’s growing Android platform is now home to over 1 million registered users who are catered to on a daily basis. Features such as a news feed that is updated frequently, a friendly and vibrant forum, and fair and detailed application reviews have been at the core of acquiring their userbase. Apps can be installed from the AndroidPit website itself or the dedicated app that can be found here. The free app features most of the content that is found on the website, from app reviews, app recommendations, news articles, hot topics, the ability to leave a comment and more.

Registering to develop with AndroidPit has benefits such as the ability for developers to reach AndroidPit’s partner stores upon app distribution (GMX, 1&1, Smartbook, Telefunken and more), and the fact that the app will be delivered to the respective Android device automatically. The revenue share model is the standard for most app stores: for developers this is the 70/30 split. Paypal and Click&Buy are also supported by AndroidPit meaning there is more choice for developers. Every download and install is tracked for developers and can be found on the developer profile page – there is also a purchase notification feature that informs developers about each purchase and return of their app, with the ability to automatically send a notification e-mail to the purchaser if desired. AndroidPit is positioned as the largest independent Android platform on a global scale.

 

AndroidPit Breakdown

  • Platforms: Android
  • Countries: Global
  • Developer Services: App distribution platform (partner stores included), app statistics service, Paypal and Click&Buy support
  • Key stats: There are 5.4 million unique users per month; there are 14,871 developers registered at the time of writing

AndroidPit 2.0 App

 

Soc.io Mall

soc.io mall

Soc.io Mall serves as both a small alternative Android app store that is dedicated to apps and games, while also providing an extensive range of eBooks, with music and video support also to come at a later date. Soc.io Mall aims to make each person’s experience unique by catering to their individual tastes – the vision is that everything a user would need that is Android related can be found on the store. Apps and games are separated into the categories of new releases, top rated, top downloaded, all apps, and all games. There is also a number of large image panels that advertise the most popular and latest apps right at the top of the site – ideal for a new developer looking to get some exposure.

Developers that want to sign up and submit an app to Soc.io Mall can do so for free. Soc.io Mall has also developed a “Licensing Library” for developers who are worried about the possibility of piracy. The Licensing Library ensures that paid apps or games are run only on devices of the users who actually purchased them – developers will have to embed the licensing mechanism within there app to take advantage of it. Other major benefits for developers looking to get involved include the ability for their app to be distributed everywhere, and the high revenue share model offered: an 80/20 split for developers. While Soc.io Mall is still very much in its infancy, there is undoubtedly a huge amount of potential here – with eBooks, apps, games and the promise of more in the future, Soc.io Mall could become the definitive place for Android-related entertainment.

 

Soc.io Mall Breakdown

  • Platforms: Android
  • Countries: Global
  • Developer Services: Distribution market, Licensing Library
  • Key stats: The store is pre-installed on 5 million devices worldwide; a total of 40,000 products are available on the store

Soc.io Mall Demonstration

 

PandaApp

PandaApp

PandaApp is an alternative app store that provides apps and game downloads for the Android, iOS and Windows Phone formats. There is a healthy selection of additional content to be found on the website as well: news stories and app reviews are updated on a frequent basis for all three formats, and the website also features video, ringtone and wallpaper libraries for users to browse and download. Once users have joined PandaApp they can participate in a number of different activities too, from earning PandaApp gold, setting up their own VIP accounts, and winning free promo-codes. A collection of images at the top of the website showcases top 10 lists, new games, and the most popular apps on the store. There is also a dedicated app for the PandaApp store on Android that features the following: app management services, the ability to sync files, a backup and restore function, and the ability to see trending apps with “trendy resources”. The app can be downloaded here.

Submitting an app to the PandaApp store requires a developer to sign up and fill in their details – the whole sign up process is free as standard. Once they have signed up developers can submit their app to PandaApp for approval. While PandaApp handles the promotion side of things, the developer takes charge of the game content update, customer service and publishing. The revenue share model is not a generous as some of the other stores out there, with a 40/60 split in PandaApp’s favour – there is the option to pay for downloads to increase an app’s popularity. PandaApp is positioned as a multi-format alternative app store on the rise, with a dedicated collection of mobile content and a growing community to back its ambitions.

 

PandaApp Breakdown

  • Platforms: Android, iOS, Windows Phone
  • Countries: China
  • Developer Services: Free account sign up, promotion, distribution services
  • Key stats: There are over 3 million and a half users

PandaApp Interview with Gameloft Eric Tan

 

Tencent App Gem

Tencent

Tencent serves as one of China’s largest and most used internet service portals and is continually updating and improving its internet, mobile and telecom services and online advertising. Like Baidu, search engine provider Tencent also has an alternative app store, Tencent App Gem, that aims to provide users with a host of Android apps via its website and dedicated app. The store is in direct competition with the other emerging third-party Chinese app stores. The website and the dedicated app includes apps for both mobile phone devices and tablets – the Android app itself features: a clean and simple interface, enhanced sharing functionality, data backup options and additional mobile content available to download such as videos, wallpapers, and more.

As ever, western developers looking to get involved in the huge app store have to contend with the language barrier problem. A developer is required to sign up to submit an app to the Tencent App Gem store which is free – the chance of getting featured on the store can be low, but Tencent has begun to reach out to app developers looking to jump aboard by forming new partnerships. A key boast of being featured on the Tencent App Gem store for developers is of course having the chance to access a massive userbase across multiple devices. Helped by the fact that Tencent itself is the powerhouse provider behind Tencent QQ, the Tencent App Gem store is securely positioned as one of the largest Chinese alternative app stores out there at the moment.

 

Tencent App Gem Breakdown

  • Platforms: Android
  • Countries: China
  • Developer Services: Distribution platform to multiple devices
  • Key stats: The store is used by more than 80 million active monthly users; there are over 100,000 Android apps on the store

Wandoujia

Wandoujia

Wandoujia is China’s largest alternative app store. Launched in 2010 originally as a PC suite for mobile management, the store offers a huge collection of Android apps for users to browse through and download at their leisure. The apps are not actually hosted on Wandoujia, rather the store aggregates the Android apps from other sources. The global version of Wandoujia is known as SnapPea – SnapPea has to be downloaded to a user’s computer (on a Windows operating system) before it can used to sync across photos, download apps and talk to contacts via text messages.

Developers wishing to sign up will need to visit the developer centre here – from there, Wandoujia will review the pending account within two working days, and if approved, a developer’s APK files can then be submitted to the store for review. Wandoujia states that foreign developers are a big focus of their overall vision, with existing partners such as Flipboard, Evernote Sketch, Evernote Food, Path, Pocket, and Line proving to be highly successful for them. The store has a payment SDK for in-app purchases and billing is carried out via Alipay – revenue reports are shared with a developer on a monthly basis. The revenue share model for app developers is the following: 40% goes to the developer, the mobile carrier will take 30% (generally a developer will integrate a mobile carrier’s SDK into their app), and Wandoujia takes 30% of the revenue for promotion purposes. Wandoujia is positioned as the leading Chinese alternative app store.

 

Wandoujia Breakdown

  • Platforms: Android
  • Countries: China
  • Developer Services: Statistics and revenue reports, in-app purchases and billing via Alipay (Payment SDK)
  • Key stats: Over 200 million users; Over 30 million apps downloaded every day.

The Wandoujia Story

HiAPK

HIAPK

HiAPK is another one of China’s big alternative app stores that is competing for the top spot against a serious group of rivals. Purchased by NetDragon, a Chinese online game developer and operator, the store features an expanding userbase. The website is effective at targeting users who are searching for suggestions and app information for their Android-enabled mobile devices. The website splits its content into the following categories: mobile games, apps that come under the title software, and specific games and apps for a specific type of phone model. The dedicated Android app itself features the ability to download, share and discover apps together with other people, recommends the hottest apps on the store, and even features a form of micro-blogging which allows for a discussion on anything app-related.

Western developers that want to get involved with HiAPK will face similar problems to the other Chinese alternative app stores, namely the issue of the language barrier. As with the other stores, overcoming this can lead to a developer’s app getting distributed to a huge userbase – app developer Punchbox claims the store brought them 3.5 million app downloads. Developers can sign up and register here, and if they are approved, will gain access to a developer portal to start submitting their apps. The alternative app store is positioned as another significant and growing force in the Chinese mobile apps industry.

 

HiAPK Breakdown

  • Platforms: Android
  • Countries: China
  • Developer Services: Free sign up, distribution platform
  • Key stats: The store has acquired 100 million users; there are over 290 million app downloads every month

China’s Android App Market for Foreign Developers

 

SK T-Store

T Store

The SK T-Store was founded in October 2011 by SK planet, a subsidiary of SK telecom. The Korean alternative app store has a large userbase and millions of apps are downloaded every month – the store distributes apps to Android devices in the South Korean market. In the future, the alternative app store is focusing on an increased level of diversity and further content, with plans to expand the eBooks, videos, and other multimedia applications available to Android mobile users. Apps and games are displayed on the store in various tabs at the top, and the ability to download the dedicated Android app is available on the website.

Developers that want to jump into the Korean app store market will need to sign up and register in the standard procedure. Of course, as with most of the foreign app markets, the language barrier is big problem for developers looking to distribute their app in new areas. The SK T-Store uses the standard revenue model for app stores, with developers deciding on their app prices and taking 70% percent of the total revenue, the other 30% goes to the company – each developer’s app has to individually be approved. The app store offers developers the ability to use an analytics service provided by Flurry Analytics – the process requires developers to install the Flurry SDK which then enables them to see reports, revenue metrics, app engagement, app retention, and more. The SK T-Store is positioned as a dominant force in the South Korean mobile apps market.

 

SK T-Store Breakdown

  • Platforms: Android
  • Countries: Korea
  • Developer Services: Analytics service, distribution platform
  • Key stats: There are over 18 million users on the store; there have been over 1.5 billion app downloads; 28 million downloads every month; there are 100,000 apps on the store

SK T-Store Overview

D.cn Games Center

D.cn

The alternative app store D.cn Games Center, also known as Downjoy, was founded in 2004 by CEO Harry Xiao – the store was also an official partner of Rovio Mobile in 2011. The store, as the name would suggest, specialises in mobile gaming, but there is a large selection of other apps featured on there as well. The mobile games and apps are distributed to a variety of mobile platforms from Android to Windows Phone. The store’s community has been building for over 10 years, and Downjoy says its users are willing to spend more on games because of this fact – they claim to drive one of the highest ARPUs (Average revenue per user) in the mobile gaming industry. The website-store also features a set of independent web pages that are dedicated to each of the key mobile platforms.

App developers looking to get involved and signed up with the D.cn Games Center have a host of advantages for doing so – especially if mobile gaming is their forte. Downjoy, via its Games Center, provides game recommendations, a user community and data information services to help developers. Developers are also helped by the alternative store in three ways: Downjoy can be the exclusive distributor of a developer’s app; they may serve as a business incubator by conducting a host of business, management and marketing training for the developer; they may also provide small bridge loans to the app developers that need some extra financial aid. Downjoy claims its top mobile games developers generate high revenues, with some earning over 5mn RMB monthly. D.cn Games Center is positioned as the largest mobile gaming platform in China, and they continue to build in strength.

 

D.cn Games Center Breakdown

  • Platforms: Android, iOS, Symbian, Windows Phone
  • Countries: China
  • Developer Services: Distribution platform, financial support, developer training, data information services
  • Key stats: Over 80 million users on the store; 50 million daily unique users; 10 million app downloads a day

 

Final thoughts

There you have it, a list of some of the biggest and fastest growing alternative app stores for developers to distribute their app or mobile game to. With such a large number of specialist stores to choose from, it may well be hard for developers to decide which to use.

One option for developers seeking to take advantage of multiple app stores is to use one of the app store submission platforms that are popping up. For example, Codengo provides distribution to over 20 app stores from a single form fill, whilst the mobile ad network Inmobi has recently acquired and developed a similar system called App Publish. The onepf organisation is also attempting to create a standard for independent app stores to make it easier for developers to submit and maintain apps on multiple stores. As an alternative to distributing over a wide variety of app stores, developers should take the time to think about where they want their app to go and should submit to a smaller number of stores. The right store depends on the target market and the type of app or game that is being offered. We hope that this research will be useful to anyone seeking to navigate this sector of the app market and that they find new sources of distribution and growth.