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. The problem is that the competition on these two major app stores has grown considerably too. App developers have found it increasingly difficult to achieve visibility on them.
At the same time, a host of new 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.
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 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 the 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.
One thing is clear, app stores beyond the big two are more important than ever and can deliver increasingly impressive levels of downloads and user numbers, for example:
- 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
So with the importance of app stores highlighted, here’s our ultimate list of mobile app stores. We’ve assembled as many of the app stores out there as we could find and broken them down into the following four key areas to make it easier to identify each of them:
- Chinese App Stores – As the name implies, Chinese app stores that are useful for western developers trying to crack the behemoth country.
- Android App Stores – App Stores that are available on the Android OS, and host Android apps.
- Device Manufacturers App Stores – These are app stores that are created by device manufacturers, such as Amazon and LG.
- Other App Stores – Any other app stores we thought didn’t belong in any of the three above categories. More than just Android app stores, these feature iOS as well as other apps.
Chinese App Stores
The sheer size of the market in this country combined with its general inaccessibility for most Western developers means many are left scrambling for a way to get in. Cue the Chinese app stores below.
Anzhi – Formerly called GoAPK. Very popular Chinese app store.
Camangi – Camangi focuses on large screen (6” to 10”) Android devices.
China Mobile – The app store of China’s biggest mobile operator. Offers apps across Android and Symbian platforms.
MaoPao – One of China’s biggest app stores, distributing apps across iPhone, Android and Symbian platforms.
360 Market – Has over 115,000 apps and comes bundled with China’s most popular free mobile security app.
91 HiAPK – 91 HiAPK implements pre-installs on smartphones. They recently announced their 100 millionth user for the platform.
Xiaomi – Xiaomi is one of the most successful handset manufactures in China with 7.19 million Chinese users.
D.cn – D.cn is recommended for all OS smartphone apps.
GFan – GFan has more than than 12,000,000 registered on the platform in addition to a variety of partnerships with local OEMs.
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.
Tencent App Gem – Like Baidu, search engine provider Tencent also has an app store, Tencent App Gem, that aims to provide users with a host of Android apps via its website and dedicated app.
Wandoujia – Former Android phone management suite for PCs, expanded to provide app downloads
AppChina – AppChina has over 30 million users installing the store’s mobile client. It’s 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.
Liqucn – A Chinese app market with an expanding library of apps for Android, iOS and more.
Eoemarket – Hosts most of China’s most popular apps.
91Market – 91Market are one of the largest independent app stores out there.
Android App Stores
There’s a lot of choice when it comes to Android app stores. But why would you want to use alternative Android app stores? The answer is because most of the alternative Android app stores out there offer something to set themselves apart, like a smaller more focused list of apps or that they cater to a niche audience. Definitely worth exploring.
1Mobile – A collection of more than 500,000 free android apps.
Android Pit – Apps published on AndroidPit are also distributed through their premium partners including 1&1, GMX, Telefunken, Smartbook and more.
Android Tapp – Android Tapp focuses solely on quality paid Android Apps Paid Android apps only.
AndroidFreeware.net – A site for free Android apps.
AppBrain – AppBrain is a website for discovering Android apps. Users of Android phones can download the apps they chose by simply clicking an install button on the site.
AppsLib – Appslib is present on over 2 million Android tablets from a range of Manufacturers including Archos, Arnova and Naxa among many others.
Codengo – Submit to over 20 appstores from a single form fill.
SlideMe – SlideMe is preloaded on the handsets of over 120 OEMs around the world making it second only to Android Market in terms of global reach.
Google Play – Google Play is the largest marketplace for distributing Android Apps. With over 1.5 billion downloads per month, Google Play offers massive scale to app developers.
mobile9 – Mobile9 boasts over 40 million users. They make app discovery both local and social.
mobiles24.com – mobiles24.com has their own app with free ringtones and wallpaper for Android. In addition, they operate a listing site (using Google Play) for free Android apps.
MyLifeOnline – MyLifeOnline aims to help Android developers to more effectively crack the Chinese market.
T-Store – Content store from South Korean carrier SK Telecom. Distributes apps to Android devices in the South Korean market.
Tegra Store – An app store run by graphics chip company Nvidia. Highlights videogames that are designed for use with Nvidia’s Tegra smartphone chip.
MiKandi – Focuses purely on adult content.
MatchFuel– Not quite an app store, but provides daily app videogame recommendations to Android users via a storefront.
Aptoide – With Aptoide, any user can also create their own store within its marketplace. Apps can be downloaded from the website after installing a client.
Device Manufacturers App Stores
Device Manufacturers App Stores such as Amazon’s Appstore or Samsung Apps should not be overlooked. Clearly with the respective power behind each of them, they are a great way for app developers to get their mobile game or app into the wild.
Amazon Appstore – Amazon’s big take on the appstore. Amazon pays developers 70% of the list price for all sales including in-app sales.
Dell Mobile Application Store – Dell now has over 40,000 apps in its app store and supports multiple platforms.
LG Smart World – LG focuses not only on phones, but also on Smart TVs. LG supports Android and Java for their phones, and have their own platform for TV.
Motorola – Shop4Apps Focusing on Android, Motorola’s Shop4Apps makes it easy for users to discover, download and enjoy free and paid applications on their Motorola Android-based handset.
Samsung Apps – Samsung Apps offers mobile and TV apps for Samsung devices. Currently the store supports Bada and Android platforms.
Lenovo App Store – Chinese manufacturer Lenovo’s official app store for smartphones and tablets, running Android.
DoCoMo Market – The official Android app market for Japanese manufacturer Docomo.
Cisco AppHQ – Cisco’s AppHQ focuses mainly on business/productivity type of apps.
Other App Stores
The key difference with these other app stores is that they host different apps for multiple OS’s, along with dedicated app communities and other national audiences.
Aircell PocketApps – Official app store of Indian operator Aircel, focuses exclusively on the Indian market.
Airtel app central – India’s mobile operator Airtel operates the app central and targets Feature Phones.
Airtel App Central – Official app store of Indian operator Airtel, focuses exclusively on the Indian market.
Airtel Sri Lanka – Their data plans are low priced and – a way to get people to download apps.
Alternative.to – Features apps from Windows Market Place, the App Store and Google Play.
Appbackr – A way for developers to possibly sell their app wholesale or to an app store, even before they are done with development.
appcity.com – French app store. Distributes apps across iPhone, Android and BlackBerry platforms.
Appia – The Appia Developer Program offers a one-stop shop for distribution of your free and paid apps.
Appitalism – Appitalism combines a social community with an online store to help consumers quickly and easily discover, discuss and download digital content.
Appolicious – Appolicious is a community based site focusing on app search and discovery.
Apptown – AppTown offers apps for Android, Blackberry, Symbian, Windows Mobile, WP7, Palm and even Jailbroken iOS. Distribute products on Apptown for free.
Appvisor – Swiss mobile operator Swisscom’s app store.
AppZone – Official app store from Indonesian operator Telkomsel.
AT&T – App Center US mobile operator AT&T’s app store.
bbNation – Operated by Motek Mobile, bbNATION is the place for the hottest BlackBerry apps, themes, games and more.
Biskero – Mobile content store that focuses on distributing Flash games and apps to mobile devices. Works primarily across Android and Nokia handsets.
BlueVia – BlueVia is a joint initiative between Telenor and Telefonica. Jointly they operate a number of app stores across the globe.
Quixey – Less of an app store this one, it’s more a platform to find apps.
Butterscotch – Butterscotch.com, which is a division of download portal Tucows, helps busy, on-the-go people to understand and live the mobile lifestyle.
Carolina West Wireless – A smaller regional carrier in the Eastern USA CWW has a very loyal customer base of around 100 K users.
Chillingo – Chillingo is the premier publisher of games and apps focused on digital distribution.
CNET – CNET’s app store. Features a 70/30 split on revenue share.
Crackberry – A site dedicated to CrackBerry users and abusers featuring news coverage, how to guides, forums and BlackBerry software, themes and accessories.
Djuzz – Djuzz, by BuzzCity, is a FREE ad-supported free mobile portal at m.djuzz.com that offers a variety of entertainment to mobile users
Exent – Exent is a value added service provider providing software and solutions to run app stores.
GetJar – GetJar is the world’s largest free app store. Established in 2004 they currently see 3 million downloads per day and have had over 3.1 billion downloads to date.
m1appshop – Singapore based m1appshop M1 AppShop supports applications that run on Java, Symbian, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and iPhone.
Mobango – Mobango aims to become the largest mobile web community in the world. With over 8 million users they possess over 100k apps and have seen over 1 billion downloads.
MTN Congo – MTN Congo is market leader in this West African country. There are 3 million subscribers and about 1 million smart phones.
MTN Nigeria – MTN Nigeria is the leader in their country with 47 million subscribers. MTN has about 10 million smart phones but that number is growing quickly.
Nduoa – N-Duo market is another newcomer but unlike the multinational, billion dollar set up that is the Taobao App Market this is a start-up.
Nook Store – Nook is the only app store supporting Barnes & Noble’s Nook e-reader. Nook features thousands of games and apps available to Nook users.
Nook’s In-Shop – API to sell or distribute other Nook store digital content.
OpenAppMkt – HTML5 based app store.
Opera Store/Handster – The Opera store is run by Handster. Handster offers a single point of distribution for multiple distribution channels.
Optus – Australian mobile operators Optus focuses heavily on content. You can also reach their portal through Cellmania.
PandaApp – Pandaapp.com is a website to share free resources, including tons of applications and games for different smartphone OSes, and the latest reviews and technological information on smartphones.
Pdassi – Germand Pdassi operates a number of app stores dedicated to Android, Symbian, BlackBerry and Windows devices for Germany.
Phoload – Focusing on free apps, Phoload is a community based site that allows members to rate, review and recommend software they download.
Soc.io Mall – Soc.io Mall is not just an app store, but a mall, where you can have thousands of apps, games and books.
Verizon Wireless – USA’s premier carrier, which used to support BREW only, now supports Android apps and BlackBerry apps.
whiteapp.com – whiteapp is a directory of hand-picked apps, available to white label for use by brands and agencies.
YAAM Market – The YAAM market isn’t the most unique alternate store, but instead offers a solid and simple way of getting applications on devices.
Yandex – Yandex is the premier store for the Russian market, and they are expanding internationally.
AppsZoom – App store that features apps and games for both the Android and iOS formats.
PandaApp – PandaApp is an app store, (primarily Android), that provides apps and game downloads for the Android, iOS and Windows Phone formats.
There you have it, a list of app stores for app developers to distribute their app or mobile game to. With such a large number of app stores to choose from, it may well be hard for developers to decide which to use. We recommend trying out multiple app stores to see what works and what doesn’t. Have we missed one? Get in contact here.