A lot of Android developers and users alike assume that Google's Android Market is the only place to download free and paid apps for the platform. This is not the case; there are dozens of app stores out there. Some markets have wider or narrower coverage than others, but each has its place, along with benefits and drawbacks that developers need to be aware of. So you've developed an Android app -- now let's discuss what your options are for publishing it in today's market.
Google's Android Market
Google's Android Market is still the most popular and well-supported app store for Android apps. With a robust application catalog of Android titles and millions of downloads a day, this is where most developers sell their apps -- for good cause. The Android Market has fairly light curation compared to other app stores and platforms, and includes various compelling features for developers, including market filters, easy bug tracking and smooth upgrade support. Currently, developers get 70 percent of the application revenue but they also have to have a paid developer account with a reasonable one-time authentication fee of $25. Recently, a Web store version of the Android Market went live, with many new and compelling features for users and developers alike.
Note: In fact, the Android device operating system restricts the applications that can be installed on an Android device, by default, to only those from this market. In order to enable downloads from other sources, the user must adjust the settings at the operating system level. Certain carriers, such as AT&T, have removed this feature, thus providing the Android Market with exclusive access to their users.
Handango, GetJar and the Other App Superstores
There are a number of big app stores we like to call "app superstores." These one-stop shops carry apps for multiple mobile platforms and normally sport an application catalog containing tens or hundreds of thousands of app titles with downloads in the hundreds of millions and billions. Amongst the most popular of these are GetJar and Handango. Both have been around a long time, have several hundred thousand apps, support many platforms, and have international reach.
Most of these app superstores have no developer fees, but the revenue models vary greatly. For a pretty comprehensive list of mobile app stores that serve the Android user community, along with app catalog and download data, check out this great spreadsheet on Wikipedia.
The Amazon Appstore opened its virtual doors only a few months ago, but it did so with great fanfare and a pretty amazing track record for digital media distribution with a lot of loyal users. Right off the bat, they've featured exciting exclusive applications, incentivized users to try their store through a popular Free Paid App of the Day program, and made waves with their initial success. Unlike the Android Market, the Amazon Appstore features curation, deals, and a higher level of organization. Additionally, Amazon has a great feature that allows users to test apps before downloading them using a browser-based emulator. Currently, developers get 70 percent of the application revenue, but they also have to have a paid developer account with a fee of $99 a year.