While Google provides the primary marketplace for Android apps, it isn’t the only player on the pitch. There are other ways to install applications on your Android handset. Surprisingly, some dirt-cheap smartphones coming from Chinese manufacturers aren’t even certified by Google and thus don’t include Google Play. This is just one of the reasons why you might want to be educated on alternative ways to install apps on your gadget. More so, the app you’re looking for might not be available in the official Android app marketplace, in which case you’ll be forced to diverge from the primary way to install apps.
1. Google Play mobile app
This is – as mentioned above – the primary and most used approach to installing apps on Android handsets. All you need to do is fire app the Play Store application on your android phone and then you’ll be ready to get going. You can easily choose from the top-rated apps, as well as search based on the keywords. There are tons of free apps on the Play Store. However, if you’re looking for some premium features, there are also lots of paid alternatives.
2. Google Play via web browser
Sometimes, you might just prefer the convenience of using a larger screen to search for the apps you’re interested in. In this case, you can navigate to play.google.com from your PC browser and install apps from your computer. All you need is make sure that you’re logged into the same Google account that you use for your Android device. Once you click the install button on the website, you’ll remotely install the application to your phone or tablet. And if you own multiple Android devices, you’ll be prompted to select the one that you need to install to.
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3. Sideloading from third-party apps
Android also allows sideloading, whereby you can install applications from outside the Play Store. However, this option is disabled for obvious security reasons (most third-party marketplaces aren’t as thorough as Google when it comes to scanning apps). Open the Settings app on your device, then navigate to security and enable the Unknown sources check box to allow sideloading. You’ll now be able to install .APK files that you download from elsewhere on the web. Sideloading makes it possible for you to install applications from other marketplaces such as the Amazon app store, and the XBMC Media Center for Android.
Make sure that you scan apps that you install this way to make sure that they are free of malware.
4. Integrated app stores
Some devices come with their own integrated app stores. A good example is the Samsung Apps store, which is home to both free and paid applications. Many other manufacturers ship their devices with their own app stores, but these are often uninteresting. They lack both the variety and flare characteristic of the Google Play Store.
All these options can be effective methods to install apps to your Android device. However, when installing from other sources other than the official Play Store, be careful not to install pirated games and other malware. Use an antivirus app to scan .APKs before you install them and disable the ‘Unknown Sources’ security option immediately after installing the app from third-party sources.
Image Source: Android Pit
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