Google Play Alternatives for the Channel Islands

Google have started blocking access to paid Android apps from the Channel Islands. There are two better alternatives that you should try. Posted 3 May 2013
December 2014 Update:
I have a new post which explains how carriers could quickly help Android users and get this working again - Time for Jersey's mobile carriers to fix the Google Play issue

I keep getting traffic to this post from people searching for “Google Play Jersey” or variants of that query. It’s no help finding alternatives to Google Play though. There are at least two I know of that anyone in Jersey or Guernsey can use, and as an added benefit one has entirely free and open-source apps. The other gives away a paid app daily, and is a big company known for excellent customer service.

I was frustrated months ago when I tried to purchase paid apps from the Play store and got the dreaded “not available in your country” error. It’s possible Google have decided to ignore the small market here to concentrate on tax dodging and plausible deniability for privacy violations instead. Just a wild guess based on their well-documented past, no idea if it’s true. Ready to upgrade to a better store?

Google Play Store error message

The first one you should look at is F-Droid. This one is only free and open-source apps. The selection is limited but if you find what you need here you are all done. I use a WiFi tether app from here to use my mobile’s data connection with WiFi-only devices. Free, works perfectly, no complaints. This is definitely the more geek-friendly of the two stores, but I like their ethos.

Next one is a no-brainer. Amazon’s Appstore. Amazon already ships to the Channel Islands and knows not to charge us UK VAT. The same applies here. This one is easy to use, and you may already have an Amazon account. I had no problems installing it and purchasing apps. No more errors, and if I have a problem I know I can reach someone at Amazon to sort things out.

Both markets require that you “allow install from non-market sources”, a setting explained at either link. This is easy enough to do and safe as long as you stay with F-Droid or Amazon. You can switch the setting back to off after installing if you like. Since Google Play hosts random apps that are malware you really have no guarantee of security either way. Just use your common sense and enjoy not being limited by vendor lock-in.