7 Jan 2016

Say Goodbye to Google Play Store, Welcome FOSS Alternatives

Getting rid of Google on Android isn’t easy and convenient but it is possible. If you had read one of my previous posts, you must be knowing how you can replace Google Contact sync and Google Drive with OwnCloud. Sure, that costs you a little but it is worth what you wish to achieve by removing Google from Android. Now that you don’t have Google contact sync and Google Drive, our next app to be removed is the Google Play Store.

I’m not sure how many of you know about Google Play Store alternatives. Yes, most of you know about the Amazon App Store, GetJar, AppBrain and what not. But again, it does not make sense to remove the Play Store to use these marketplaces because these apps are again managed behind a closed system – a system we have no access to. All we need is Free & Open Source Software (FOSS) alternatives to the Play Store. We did figure out two such marketplaces that are free and open source – Aptoide and F-Droid.


With Aptoide, developers have the authority to distribute their apps via their own app stores. On the server side, developers have the option to create their own stores which can be customized the way they wish to. Developers can then upload the apps on their store.
One the client side (the user end), you can download apps from the server directly by accessing the stores created by developers. Only the app developers know how many times their app has been downloaded and the data isn’t visible to anyone else.
Aptoide is the 1st Android Independent Marketplace, considering the number of different apps. Aptoide distributes over 100,000 different Apps, through over 50,000 independent stores, having reached over 250 Million downloads and 600 Million page views.


F-Droid is a catalog of free and open source applications for the Android platform. It is much simpler than Aptoide where the developers don’t create their own app stores but they can submit their apps to the repository. The repository contains various versions of the apps. You may install the F-Droid client on your Android device or go ahead and download the APK directly from the repository.

The license of these apps can be seen right next to their listing on the client. It has separate tabs for the apps that you have installed and the updates that are available for the existing apps.

The Downsides

Open Source software runs by donations so you don’t expect them to be as good as the Play Store. There are no options to automatically add widgets to the home screen or auto-update the apps when connected via WiFi. These open source marketplaces get updated periodically to fix bugs so you need to make sure you have the latest version installed. There might be no OTAs available. Also, not all apps can be found in these marketplaces. Developers and companies rely on Google to track down the users installing their apps via the Play Store and aren’t happy publishing their apps to unmanaged marketplaces. To get such apps, you really need to grab the APK from somewhere. You now know where you should head over to.
Is there any other Open source alternative to the Google Play Store? If you know about any, do lets us know in the comments section.


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