The Google Play Store is the default app store for most Android phones and tablets. It’s fast, convenient, and usually comes pre-installed. It’s so ubiquitous, most users probably don’t even realize that other options are available. But there are alternatives – the most well known and widely used is the Amazon Appstore.
So, how does Amazon’s offering compare with the default Google Play Store? Is it worth installing? What unique features does it offer? Keep reading to know which of the two stores is better.
A Brief History of the Amazon Appstore
Before diving into the specifics, let’s clarify what the Amazon Appstore is. The Store launched in 2011 and is Amazon’s primary way of distributing apps for Fire tablets and streaming boxes. It comes preloaded on those devices.
Because Amazon’s gadgets rely on the Android operating system, the Amazon Appstore also works on Android-based phones and tablets from other manufacturers. It’s not available through the Google Play Store (more on that later), although if you bought an Android phone on the Verizon network in the United States, you can get the Amazon Appstore pre-installed.
A Brief History of the Google Play Store
Google had a previous app store known as the Android Market which was released in 2008, and was replaced by the Google Play Store in early 2012 and the one we know today. The Amazon Appstore, despite being launched at the same time as Google Play, is more popular and widely used.
That’s because Google makes the Android operating system that fuels many modern smartphones and tablets. As Google is in charge of the operating system, the company always pre-installs the Google Play Store, so it’s right there for you to use.
In fact, many Android users might not even know that there are alternatives to Google Play.
How many apps are there in the store?
The first thing to consider when comparing any two stores is how many apps are available. A store can provide the best user experience in the world, but it’s no good if you can’t download the content you want.
Google’s Play Store is the clear winner here. The latest projections from Statista show that the number of apps in the Amazon Appstore currently stands at 480,000 by 2022. In comparison, similar research shows that the Play Store has over three and a half million apps to choose from.
Sure, those three and a half million apps are a huge amount of junk you’ll never want to download, but on the raw numbers alone, there’s no contest. It’s an easy and undeniable win for Google Play.
Do they have the most popular apps?
Many of the most popular Android apps are available on both platforms. These include Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Pandora, and countless others. Sadly, most of Google’s proprietary apps are not available in the Amazon Appstore, including the likes of Maps and Gmail. In contrast, the only Amazon app that lacks the Play Store is the Amazon Appstore itself.
However, the biggest drawback of the Amazon Appstore is the lack of Google Play Services. For those who aren’t aware, Play Services underpins everything from user authentication and data syncing to privacy settings and location services.
Because the Amazon Appstore doesn’t have access to Play Services, most users won’t be able to fully rely on the Amazon Appstore on standard Android devices. If you’re using an Amazon Fire device, the issue isn’t as significant; Amazon provides a number of its own APIs that provide similar functionality.
However, most people need an app store with those Play Services for their mobile devices and because of this can’t get by with the Amazon Appstore alone. This gives the Google Play Store a narrow win here. If you’re happy to use the Play Store only for things that require access to Play Services, then you could argue that’s a draw.
Reviews, Refunds & App Info
While there are some major differences between the Amazon Appstore and the Google Play Store, reviews are not one of them. And honestly, neither is the refund process.
Both app stores allow users to rate the app from one to five stars and leave a written comment to justify their rating. And if you download an app by mistake or find the app doesn’t do what you expected, the refund process is simple. For an Amazon Appstore refund, you need to go to the Digital Orders screen in your Amazon account. For a Google Play Store refund, you can place a request on the website, or uninstall it if you’ve only had the app for a few hours.
There are some small differences in how each store presents an app. In the Google Play Store, you’ll see the app’s rating, number of reviews, number of downloads, and maturity rating, as well as reasons why editors love an app, an expandable description, and images.