I'm new to development and trying to get a sense for the obstacles to publication

If I need to circumvent the Google Play app store, can I publish a game to a website that people can visit in a mobile browser and download and install like any other app?

How does publishing "around" Google Play work? Are there any particular success stories, best practices or problems I should be aware of?


Apologies if there is an obvious answer. I believe I found the answer at one point, but I don't remember and can't find the link.

edit: Thanks everyone! I really appreciate the help. Definitely answers my questions. Looks like I have some options!

  • I guess I just want to confirm that an APK is all that is needed... there is nothing to prevent someone from downloading an APK and installing simply because they didn't go through the Google Play store (no authentication or whatever) – WebPillar Dec 31 '14 at 18:56
  • 1
    There are a myriad of alternate "app stores" you can use, like SlideMe. – ashes999 Dec 31 '14 at 20:52
  • I found a list of a bunch of other Android app stores. If anyone has experience with them, make a community wiki answer so we can pool knowledge. – Anko Dec 31 '14 at 21:16
  • Note that if you release your app on using a website, it won't be auto-updated unless you add code to do so. Normally google play will push new versions of your app to devices. – Alex Jan 29 '15 at 19:31
up vote 28 down vote accepted

Android is an open platform, so you are free to exchange APKs by other means—for instance by email. The Android Development Center discusses this.

The caveat: App installation from non-marketplace sources is disabled by default in the security settings of most Android distributions. Users must manually enable the option first.

  • 2
    I believe some devices also lock this out all together which completely stops users from sideloading. – Vality Dec 31 '14 at 23:41
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    @Vality The first year of AT&T-branded phones hid the "Unknown sources" checkbox, but not any modern Android phones or tablets that I'm aware of. Besides, everything with Play Store supports adb install over USB. – Damian Yerrick Jan 1 '15 at 4:04

Yes there are other platform where you can publish your game and they have huge market there.

Amazon App Store

Samsung Galaxy Apps

Apart from the usual communication methods (such as email, and just downloading it from a website) there are places you can upload an APK (like an alternate store. For example, Aptoide).

Naturally, these are (most likely) less well known than the Google Play Store, and probably get less traffic.

I'm using the Amazon App store, SlideME store, Aptoid, etc. and there are a lot of users doing the same. Uploading on one of those could be an option for you.

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