Google has today announced a change coming with Android 12 that should make it easier for users to install and use third party app stores on their smartphones. While it’s already possible for users to use third party app stores on their phones, such as the Galaxy Store, Google is hoping to make the process both easier and more secure. The company will be adding features to Android 12 that will “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.”
The Mountain View giant hasn’t shed more light on what these changes will be, however, saying instead that it will reveal more details in the near future.
That said, the company isn’t letting go of its grip on apps that use its own Play Store for distribution. In fact, Google is making its payment policies clearer to inform developers that apps on the Play Store must use Google’s in-app purchases systems for billings. Moreover, any app not using Google’s billing system must add it before September 30, 2021.
Billing and payment is the big issue over which Google kicked out Fortnite from the Play Store a while back when Epic added alternative payment methods to Fortnite on Android. Google isn’t backing down on that decision though. In fact, Google is using Fortnite as an example of how “even if a developer and Google do not agree on business terms the developer can still distribute on the Android platform.”
That’s just a little cheeky from Google, but it’s also true. Fortnite on Android is still entirely playable on every Android phone even after Google kicked it off the Play Store. What’s more, Google’s promise to make it easier to use third party app stores in Android 12 will put Apple in an even tougher place since there’s absolutely no way to use a third party app store on the iPhone short of jailbreaking it.
It remains to be seen exactly what Google is planning on doing to make third party app stores easier to use in Android 12, but we will keep you updated as Google releases more information about the upcoming changes.