Third-party Android app stores will be "even easier for people to use" Google has said, although it has yet to go into specifics on these changes.
Most of the time, people install apps on Android phones through the Google Play store. However, Android offers the option for third-party apps — including app stores — to be installed using a file downloaded to your phone. Unfortunately, this is a cumbersome process that may be too difficult for the average user.
Some Android phones ship with one of these third-party app stores pre-installed, circumventing this problem. Not every developer gets this privilege, though; most notably, Epic Games has accused Google of anti-competitive practices for allegedly blocking third-party app stores and interfering with its deals with phone manufacturers in a recent spay over the mobile version of Fortnite that also saw the game pulled from iOS. Now, many of these issues may be a moot point in next year's release of Android 12.
How Will Third-Party Android App Stores Change in Android 12?
Google touched on the proposed changes to third-party app stores in a new post on the Android Developers blog. While the Epic lawsuit is not expressly mentioned, it certainly seems like the topic is being addressed in a roundabout way.
"[Some] developers have given us feedback on how we can make the user experience for installing another app store on their device even better," read the blog post. "In response to that feedback, 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."
Unfortunately, that's all the blog post says of substance on the matter. Google doesn't clarify what it means that it will be "even easier for people to use other app stores" — perhaps they will be looking at a way to make the installation process smoother. The language on protecting the safety of devices insinuates that there may be a sort of approval process similar to distributing apps on Google Play.
This could ultimately mean that third-party Android app stores will be available to download via Google Play or through some other official distribution channel from Google. Either way, it's clear that Google is intending to open up its mobile operating system to even more developers.
Do you think it's too difficult to install third-party appss on Android? How do you think third-party app stores will work on Android 12? Let us know in the comments below!