Aptoide is a third party replacement for the traditional Google Play Store.
- A third party alternative to the Google Play Store
- Affiliate program allows users to create their own storefronts
- Badge program offers an added level of quality assurance
- Completely free to use
- Offers rare apps you won't find on Google Play
- Strong sense of community fostered by the Stores system
- Downloading apps without badges means running the risk of malware infection
- Download process is much slower than on Google Play
While the software ecosystems of laptop and desktop platforms are exceedingly robust, the world of mobile design has been anything but. When the first Androids launched, their app commerce model hewed closely to what had already been established by Apple's iPhones: a single, dedicated store that served as the only gateway to mobile software. In the years that have followed, that policy hasn't changed. The Google Play Store still remains as the only official way for downloading apps on Android device. On one hand, this means that all content is carefully curated by Google staff. On the other, it means that users don't have as much freedom as they otherwise might. Aptoide promotes an alternative model, presenting an alternative app store that more closely resembles an open marketplace bazaar than the carefully ordered by sanitized big box outlet of the Google Play Store. The main component of the Aptoide marketplace is Stores. Rather than having a single store split up into departments like the traditional Google Play Store, Aptoide relies on storefronts run by users. While the most popular store is far and away the official Aptoide store, there's certainly plenty of competition on hand. Many stores boast millions of downloads, and the result is a marketplace that resembles a social media platform as much as it does a traditional market. Store owners can set their own picture profiles and background images, and a comments section below allows users to engage with one another and the store owner. One of the first things you'll probably notice is how much the apps most prominently displayed on Aptoide represents the content on the Google Play Store. And while the Stores offer a nice way to find apps similar to the ones you love, the most popular Stores are often filled with the same flood of apps as one another. It begs the question of why one would use Aptoide instead of the first party store. For one, there's a sense of variety beyond what you'll find at the traditional store. Since Aptoide isn't confined by the rigid demands of Google policy, they can allow apps that aren't region locked, apps that have since been removed for the Google Play Store, and apps that are restricted. It's a more free wheeling marketplace with fewer limitations on what can be bought or sold. That doesn't mean that Aptoide neglects security. The systems they have in place, perhaps by necessity, are actually rather studious. Aptoide uses a system called "Trust Badges". Apps designated by a trust badge are thoroughly checked by anti-virus software and then subjected to signature authentication. After that, they go through further scrutiny via a malware examination. Apps tagged with badges are periodically rechecked to ensure that they're safe. Aptoide is a free service, and while they receive some financing through in-app purchases, the majority of their revenue comes through advertising.