Android is an open source platform and most of the apps can be found free as there are great deal of application developers who create applications for free distributions. The major downloading platform of Android is Google Play Store. It is unlike iOS where there are strict restrictions applied on third party applications and this has inevitably resulted in lesser amount of application in comparison to Android. Moreover, there are plenty of other ways to install Android applications on your smartphones and tablets which we shall discuss in our article.
Google Play Store mobile app: The primary and the safest way to install Android app is by opening up the PlayStore application from your phone which comes pre-installed with every Android phone. It should be located in the app drawer which is like a shopping-bag icon. Once you have opened up the application you can either search for an app manually by typing or by clicking the categories given at the top (Apps, Games, Movies) which will open up the sub-categories for finding the desired application.
Google Play on Web: The second convenient way to install applications on your mobile or tablet is via opening up play.google.com from your web browser. The only thing you have to do is to log in to your Google account, the same which you are using on your mobile or tablet. It will automatically display your device information and ask permission from you to install the application on your device. If you have multiple devices with the same account, it will ask on which you want to install the app. For many people, this is more convenient way to install application without touching the mobile screen. It will automatically install the application. You just have to follow the onscreen instructions on your PC’s web browser. That’s it.
Sideloading Apps: Android platform allows sideloading, which means you can install apps from outside Google Play. But this feature is by default disabled in the Android phones for some security reasons. You can change the setting by heading to Setting>Security tab and checking ‘unknown sources’ under Device Administration. This will enable you to install applications from unknown sources but it is to be noted that this could be a security risk. So install these applications on your own, although majority of them are risk free. After changing settings in the security panel, you can also install .apk file from any sources outside the Play Store whether you have copied .apk files from PCs or taken them from friends via Bluetooth, USB cable etc. Sideloading do have some advantages like you can install various Android emulators that are not officially available on PlayStore and various third-party Appstore like Amazon Appstore or Humble Bundle Appstore, etc.
Third Party App Stores: Unlike iOS, Android platform permits the third party app stores. There are several App Stores in this category among which includes popular Amazon’s Appstore for Android which offer free and paid applications for the users. This is currently available in the US only. As Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets are based on the same platform as of Android, it supports natively downloading and installing Android apps. Some of the devices like Samsung offer their own Appstore which is called ‘Samsung Apps’ through which you can download and install applications, but these are not so popular and might not attract too many users. There are other third-party Appstore like Getjar which has a large collection of applications and quite popular on Symbian platform. AppsLib and Slide Me are also among others Appstore. But you need to be extra careful in downloading apps from these sources as they may contain malicious softwares.
Sideloading or installing directly from PC: You can also install .apk via your PC. You need to have software in your phone named ‘Airdroid’, which you can easily find on PlayStore. Airdroid is a file manager application which works wirelessly from your PCs web browser. Just download and install Airdroid, open up the application and enter the web address on your PC’s web browser provided in the application. Scan the QR code from the camera and you are logged in. You can also perform several functions like transferring files to and fro, managing files, sending SMSs, playing music etc, besides installing .apk from PC. For more info see our post on how to transfer files wirelessly between devices.
Sometimes it is very difficult to find the desire content on PlayStore and also some of the third-party Appstore offers discounts on their premium applications. So for some people it can make their day. Besides all above mentioned you can also run Android applications on your Windows PC and Mac that can open up a whole new world of gaming and other stuffs on your PCs and Laptops. Stay tuned for more tips and tricks.