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Alternative app store Uptodown launches its Android client

The "Spanish website with the most traffic in the world" has released a Play Store alternative: meet the Uptodown App Store.
March 31, 2017

Update, March 31: Uptodown co-founder Luis Hernández Garrido has reached out following this article’s publication to clarify its store numbers. According to Garrido, Uptodown features “150,000 apps, plus 200,000 previous versions available to download and 4M APKs stored on [its] system.” The original Uptodown blog post on the matter has also been updated to reflect this.

Original story: Uptodown says it is the most visited Spanish website in the world. Uptodown also says it is the 180th most visited website globally. Comparable to the likes of APKPure or APKMirror, Uptodown is a download portal for Android apps — and now, it’s also a fully-fledged alternative to Google Play.

Uptodown has been distributing software since 2002 and began focusing on Android in 2013. Yesterday, it opened a Google-independent app store, which it says launched with its entire catalog of 4 million non-region restricted apps. The new store rolls out with a “complete app management and install tool” to help keep apps up to date and provide users with “tailored downloads according to their device requirements,” while also “remaining fully compatible but independent from Google Play services.”

Despite housing apps that don’t meet Google’s strict Play Store policies — 9 out of 20 of its top downloaded apps aren’t available in Google Play, apparently — Uptodown said in an email we received that it is nonetheless a “more flexible and secure alternative to Google Play.”

There’s no doubting the website’s popularity: SimilarWeb and Alexa both suggest it’s receiving hundreds of millions of monthly page views, and its global Alexa rank is currently at 117. However, there are a few questionable details here.

Firstly, its 4 million-strong app catalog is 1.2 million more than the estimated 2.8 million of the Google Play Store. That’s everything that Android’s maker has amassed since the inception of its platform’s dedicated app store. Of course, there are apps out there that Google hasn’t verified and approved for Google Play, but is that to the tune of 1.2 million?

Then there’s the suggestion that the store is more secure than Google Play. Now, Google Play’s algorithms have a lot of policing to do, unquestionably, but is Uptodown’s methodology more effective, even with the ~43% more apps its store supposedly has? Given that Google is required to deliver safe apps from its store, and Uptodown’s USP is that it can offer apps that Google doesn’t, I’d guess not (though I should point out that not all of the apps Google doesn’t approve are harmful, some are just conflicts of interest, like Amazon’s app store).

It’s also not exactly clear through what means Uptodown is able to usurp geolocation restrictions.

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If you want to download the Uptodown App Store app for yourself, you can pick it up at the link. Note that you’ll have to allow installs from “Unknown Sources” in your Android security settings — you won’t find it in Google Play.

Have you used Uptodown before? What are your thoughts on the platform? Let us know in the comments.