Unlike Apple, Android can have multiple third-party app stores, and users can download apps from all kinds of places.
If you ever paid attention, smartphone vendors like Xiaomi, Huawei, and Oppo already come with their app stores alongside Google Play Store.
In a blog post, Google has now announced that installing and using third-party app stores will be much more comfortable starting with Android 12, which will arrive next year.
“We will be making changes in Android 12 (next year’s Android release) to make it even easier for people to use other app stores on their devices while being careful not to compromise the safety measures Android has in place.”
While Google has always been open to the idea of having multiple app stores, its policies and actions have said otherwise.
Epic Games, which previously filed a lawsuit against Google for its in-game payment policies, said the Android owner tries to instill fear in users with warnings who dare to install apps from third-party stores. Epic complained that the inability to install app updates using third-party app stores silently puts other companies at a severe disadvantage.
“Google has erected contractual and technological barriers that foreclose competing ways of distributing apps to Android users,” Epic said in its lawsuit.
The latest step from Google might put Epic and others sharing the same opinion at ease. Google hasn’t said exactly how it plans to ease the warnings and restrictions faced by third-party app stores, so we can only take Google’s word for it for now.
As for Epic’s accusations of unfair billing practices, Google has said that third-party app stores will be able to determine “its own business model and consumer features. This openness means that even if a developer and Google do not agree on business terms the developer can still distribute on the Android platform.”
But that does not apply to apps downloaded from the Google Play Store. In the blog post, Google also clarified that apps distributed from the Play Store are now required to use Google Play’s billing system for in-app purchases and offer a 30% cut to the tech giant.