User choice and customization has long been a major focus of Android, and with next year's Android OS upgrade, Google will make it easier for users to take advantage of third-party app stores.
Google revealed today that in Android 12, which is next year's release, it'll make it easier for users to install another app store on their device. Google explains that some developers have given feedback on how this experience could be made better, and the company has pledged to make it easier to use other app stores without compromising Android's built-in safety features.
"We believe that developers should have a choice in how they distribute their apps and that stores should compete for the consumer’s and the developer’s business," Google explains. "Choice has always been a core tenet of Android, and it’s why consumers have always had control over which apps they use, be it their keyboard, messaging app, phone dialer, or app store."
Android users have always been able to install apps from app stores other than Google's Play Store. For example, while Fortnite is no longer available in the Play Store, you can still get it from Samsung's Galaxy Apps Store as well as directly from Google. It's important for Google to ensure that users can do this safely, though, protecting them from potentially malicious apps and stores that they may not know about.
Google isn't saying much right now about how it'll make it easier for users to install third-party app stores. But we're still around a year away from the launch of Android 12, so we're sure that more details will come out next year.
Also announced today is that Google will require all Android apps that sell digital goods to use Google Play's billing system. The company says that less than 3 percent of developers with apps in the Play Store sold digital goods over the last 12 months, and of that 3 percent, nearly 97 percent already use Google Play's billing system.
That small percentage of developers that don't currently use Google Play billing will have until September 30, 2021 to implement the Google Play billing system into their app. This is so that they have time to make the upgrades to their app without disrupting their roadmap or income. Google also says that it'll require its own apps that don't already use Google Play billing to make these upgrades, too.