Android Market Apps vs. Non-Market Apps
Tweet“Unknown Sources”: Are you uncertain about checking that little option in the application and settings of your Android phone? Perhaps it’s a question of trust or an issue with the fact that the developers and sources of the Android apps have not been certified by Google. Does that mean that they are not safe? Here is a little insight into the world of Android market apps vs. non-market apps.
What are Android Non-Market apps?
Android non-market applications may be deemed as the Android .apk applications that have not been certified by Google for their Android market. These may also include the apps that failed to pass Google’s approval procedures for application developers.
Since the the Android app market is not open-source, the selection process the publishers and developers have to go through is not arbitrary or random. Without the proper approval of Google, some apps never see the light of day.
Therefore, there are two kinds of Android apps: those that have been approved and verified by Google for the Android marketplace (“Android market apps”) and those that have not been approved or failed to pass Google’s verification process (otherwise known as “Unknown Sources” or “Android non-market apps” or “3rd party apps”).
Why are there “Unknown Sources” in the Android market?
The following is a breakdown of the reasons why there are “Unknown Sources” or “Android non-market apps” (also called “Third Party apps”):
- .apk app developers must first apply and be approved by Google to be published in the Android marketplace: However, not all apply, and not all applicants are approved
- Priced or paid apps are restricted to some 30 or so countries (where Google checkout accounts are applicable): Meaning that if an Android developer is not from the stipulated countries, they cannot apply—let alone publish—their app on the Droid marketplace [For list of eligible countries see here]
Where can you get Android Non-Market apps?
The first step to access non-market apps on your Android phone is by enabling or checking the option for “Unknown Sources” as follows: Go to Settings > Applications > then under Application Settings, click “Unknown Sources” > next an “Attention” dialog box will appear with 2 options (“OK” and “Cancel”) > Click OK
Next step is to access any of the sources for .apk non-market apps. There are various sources for Android non-market apps but the following are among the best sources:
- Amazon Appstore for Android – Amazon for Android
- SlideME (slideme.org) – SlideME for Android
- Handango marketplace (handango.com) – Handango for Android
- MobiHand (mobihand.com) – MobiHand for Android
- AppBrain (appbrain.com)
- Android Freeware (freewarelovers.com)
- Free Fun Files (freefunfiles.com)
- MiKandi (mikandi.com) – A marketplace for adult-themed apps
The above list indicates some of the best marketplaces for Android apps that are both free and priced, whereby for the paid apps, there’s guaranteed secured transactions especially for markets like the Amazon Appstore for Android, SlideME, Handango, MobiHand and AppBrain.
Are Android Non-Market apps safe?
Contrary to the common belief that you can only get safe apps from the Android Market, many other non-market apps are actually safe, virus-free and very handy.
To be sure that you’re not just installing another hack, malware or virus on your Android phone, confirm the reliability of the site/source, check out the developer, app rating, developer rating and other apps by the same developer. If you’re downloading from a respected marketplace that’s dependable and reliable, chances are that so are all the apps listed therein, equally safe and reliable.
In case you can’t find a functionality app from the Droid market, chances are, you could get just what you’re looking for from non-market apps.
Just be sure to check how the app works, what it will be able to access, and any potential bugs that may be pending or unfixed. It’s also advisable to keep updating your apps especially for any additional functionality and bug fixes.
Which are some of the best developers in Android Non-Market apps?
Answering this exhaustively may not be immediately possible for there are very many app developers that are actually very good with some of the most useful, highly functional apps.
Furthermore, each marketplace has a listing of Android applications that can be sorted according to popularity or even rating thereby making it easy for you to see, just like in the Android market, which applications have most downloads, highest ratings and therefore very popular.
Your search for the best third party Android app developers (non-market Android developers) depends on the layout of the marketplace, whereby most often have some sort of listing for the “top downloads” in apps, “top rated apps”, “most popular apps” or even the “featured apps”.
These should give a great peek into which Android apps are most functional and highly rated; in the same way, it shouldn’t be hard to tell them apart from the apps that may be “unfinished” or highly problematic, say due to bugs or compatibility issues.
Android Market apps vs. Non-Market apps
If you can’t get over your trust issues with third party sources for Android apps, then you might want to just stick to Google-approved publishers in the Android market. However, this is not to rule out non-Market Android apps which are also equally good—if not better!
You simply need to take the necessary precautions just to be sure that you’re not putting your Droid phone at risk…
- Check the marketplace – is it respected and reliable?
- Check the transaction page – is it secured and encrypted?
- Check the developer’s apps – are they generally good and highly rated or otherwise?
- Check the app ratings, reviews and comments – what are other users saying about it?
Some developers have their apps on both the Android market as well as on other Droid marketplaces, and so if a certain developer appears on both, they most likely have great apps that are safe for your phone—just another trick you could use to allay any fears for third party Android applications.
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