The difficulties in competing with Google at any level are clear. In the case of its apps shop, the fact that it comes preinstalled on many Android devices makes it very complicated for users to get to know alternative places to get their apps. On Uptodown we’ve nearly topped 4,000 ready-to-download apps in APK format in our Android catalogue, and to make them more accessible we’ve been working constantly on our very own tool so you can install and manage them easily: the official Uptodown app.

Over the last few months we’ve moved from simply offering an app with the web version of our downloads site to creating a complete tool that automatically detects the programs you have installed and shows notifications when an update becomes available for one of them. As we keep track of update frequency via the developers themselves and not by publication date on Google Play, in many cases we offer the download much earlier. For instance, we usually have the latest version of WhatsApp available the same day it’s released, while in the Google shop it can take up to a week to appear.

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But where we really want to distinguish ourselves is in offering a broader app catalogue that’s not governed by unfair or restrictive policies. Whether it be video-download tools like TubeMate, network-auditing programs like Router Keygen, or popular apps like WhatsApp Plus, you’ll find many apps in our catalogue that you can’t find in official stores. The reason is quite clear and is in fact a mantra in this industry: it’s one thing that a program can be used for illicit purposes and quite another for the final user to actually use it like that.

Nonetheless, both the app’s update speed and its variety of programs pale in comparison with its security. As with the programs that we offer on other platforms, all the files are checked by the VirusTotal service, which analyzes and creates a report for each of them using some 50 different antiviruses. In addition, each app is tested by our editors and we offer an independent description completely detached from any sort of developer promotions.

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The setup process for the Uptodown app on your device follows the same procedure as the one used to download any other app in APK format. Beforehand, you have to enable the ‘Unknown sources’ option from the settings menu on your Android device. Once it’s installed, the tool will do periodic checks of your installed apps and let you know when an update becomes available. From the management menu you can update and uninstall apps, and can also save the APK file it was installed from or delete it completely.

As in other markets, the best way to preserve an ecosystem in the software world is by offering different alternatives that do that same thing. Amazon, Google, and AppBrain do this for Android. On Uptodown we want to offer one more option in the market based on the aforementioned principles: updated apps, freedom of content, security and neutrality, which are all ever harder to find in these crazy times.

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