In March 2014 it will be two years since the introduction of Google Play, which replaced Android Market. It is the main source of applications for Android gadgets, but not the only one. There are several non-Google services, where you can download lots of apps without fear of catching viruses.
Unlike Apple, which completely blocks the ability to download the official application for iOS from any source other than its own App Store, Google did not applied such. Yes, the default options in your smartphone or tablet allow app installation only from the official store, but this can be easily disabled.
Apple’s position is known and understandable. To get into the App Store, the application must be tested by experts on the subject of how to follow the formal requirements to code and usability and their ethical views, and only after the approval it may be distributed through the official store. And it is quite an effective way, on the one hand, to sift technically incompetent and malicious products that can bring down the system.
Google takes a more liberal view and believe that the user has the right to choose which applications to install from any sources. Meanwhile, many people, even knowing about the possibility of installing programs not from Google Play, prefer not to risk although in reality the applications of this resource are not checked as hard as in App Store.
Becoming the most popular mobile operating system, Android has become the most attacked OS. Active users probably more than once faced the fact that some applications not only perform the claimed functions but also trying to get access to almost all critical features of the system. That is why many people are afraid to download mobile software from various sources.
There are, however, several full and completely safe alternatives to Google Play. Range of applications offered there is not as wide as in Google Play, but some apps that are not so widely promoted, but which are worthy programs, can be found there.
The first and most obvious alternative to Google Play is, of course, Amazon Appstore. Amazon Appstore is a default app market in Kindle Fire HD eBooks, which are known to be running Android 4 with a modified user interface.
To access the Amazon Appstore from other Android devices you need to install the appropriate application. The Appstore interface is quite intuitive. After touching the letter “A” in the upper left corner there will be a large menu with various app categories. As in Google Play, there is a “card” for each application, you can see user reviews and recommended programs.
Library of F-Droid is composed exclusively of free applications with open source and, unlike Google Play, the owners guarantee the absence of viruses and other malicious features in the downloadable software. Under the terms of the F-Droid use, the mobile developers are required to upload the source code for all hosted applications. As a result, service employees have the opportunity to explore this code before compiling and make sure that it works exactly as stated.
F-Droid application, which is used to access the service, also has an open code. But you can use the site through the web interface.
The interface of the application is very simple, but unfortunately, this is not the case when the simplicity can be considered an advantage: there are no filters, no categories to facilitate search for a suitable program. In addition, due to the strict requirements the software range is not too impressive.
App store SlideME is often preinstalled on devices without access to Google Play: ‘e-books’, children tablets with customized Android version. On the main page it is emphasized that all hosted applications are scanned for viruses and exploits, and then tested by the site editors.
Application to work with SlideME is called SAM, but, as in the case of the F-Droid, there is no need to install the app as there is a web interface. SAM interface is quite clear: it has categories, each app card contains a complete description, user ratings and recommended applications.
Despite the fact that this service has 20 thousand applications in total, their value is very high, since each of them passes through the hands of editorial reviewers.