The immensity of the Play Store can be hard to grasp, but it does come with its own limitations. Specifically, Google has various regulations in place for Android apps and if an app fails to comply, it won’t be approved or removed from the Play Store.
Some types of apps like ad blockers are completely nonexistent in the Play Store, because of these regulations and this is not the only app category that’s not approved by Google. Android is all about being free and open, so let’s just say there are plenty of other places from where you can download apps (this probably deserves an article of its own).
We combed the web for some prime non-Play Store apps for Android just so you can see what you’re missing.
Amazon Appstore is the second largest app store after Google Play – being a direct competitor, you won’t find the app in the Play Store, but it doesn’t mean it’s not a great source of apps. One of the things that make it stand out, is the fact it offers a paid app or game for free every day. I wouldn’t say each of the offers are amazing, but every once in a while you’re going to find a popular or very useful title in there.
Since the whole Android ecosystem extensively relies on ads (think of all those free add-supported apps you probably have on your phone right now), Google Play doesn’t allow add blockers anymore. However, if your device is rooted you can just download and install AdAway and get rid of all ads but also allow some apps (or websites) to show ads if you find them unobtrusive.
This app works similarly to Hulu, but without geographic restrictions and fees. It’s gives you access to thousands of TV shows and movies, allowing you to stream them online. Google says the app was supplying pirated content and decided to ban it from the Play Store. The developers however say they comply with DMCA regulations.
In the end, it lets you stream content you should normally pay for, so let’s just place TV Portal in a grey area. Use at your own risk, depending on your country’s own regulations.
Download TV Portal
TubeMate lets you save YouTube videos on your phone, so you can watch them offline whenever you want. It’s not hard to guess why the app is not available in the Play Store. Using it is as straightforward as can be – just look for the YouTube video you’re interested in, then you can view it and download it in any of the supported formats. Downloaded videos will be saved in the video section of your gallery.
If you like setting up custom gestures and pie controls, LMT Launcher makes for an interesting solution. You can enable global Pie controls for navigation and link basic and advanced commands to LMT supported gestures. In other words, LMT Launcher lets you attribute simple gestures to some incredibly useful commands like next/previous app, kill apps, take screenshot and many others.
Adobe Flash Player 11.1
Flash Player is not officially supported by Google, but it doesn’t mean it’s useless. A lot of websites are still using flash, and the player can be installed on Android 4.4.1, 4.4.2, 4.4.3 and 4.4.4, giving you the possibility to view certain videos. Go straight to the download link or check out this handy guide on how to manually install Flash Player.
Showbox is another free app for streaming TV shows and movies that also has Chromecast support and versions for the most popular platforms like Android, Windows/Mac PCs, BlackBerry and others. If you’ve been dying to watch a certain TV show that’s not available in your country, Showbox is a great solution. As you can imagine, there may be some piracy concerns regarding this app, depending in which country you reside – we recommend you study local regulations to see whether it’s safe to use it or not.
Are you using any of these apps? What other great apps that are not in the Play Store do you know of?
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