Exploration Guides

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EGMaps – Setup Your Google Play Account

One of the great features of Android is that you can distribute your apps anywhere.  You can put them on Google Play (and should, really, since that’s where most people look), but you can also put them directly on your own web site, send them through email, put them on other Android app stores, or just about anything else you want to do.  So how should you distribute it?

Google’s Android app store, called Google Play, is already set up on most Android devices, and is very inexpensive for you to use ($25US for life).  Even if you want to distribute it through other channels, you probably want to use Google Play, too.  To set up your Google Play account, visit http://developer.android.com/distribute/googleplay/publish/register.html .  If you want to publish free apps, you only need to register for a developer account.  If you want to charge for your apps, you also need a Google Checkout account.

Normally, you would email your app to friends for testing, not for any kind of real distribution.  You could, but it’s a lot of work.

So what about publishing it on your own web page?  Well, you can, but do you really want to?  At Exploration Guides, we’ve chosen not to do it, simply to consolidate all our application distribution at a single point (on Google Play), but if you want to, you just upload the file to your web server and include a link to the file (which will probably be case-sensitive) on your web page.  One catch here, or anywhere not on Google Play, really: your users will need to set their Androids to allow for installing apps from unknown sources.  This is a security risk, and a lot of people simply won’t do it.

So what about other app stores?  Well, if you’re releasing a free app, then there’s no great reason to not do it, other than it taking some work on your end to set up accounts, upload, and monitor.  If you’re releasing a paid app, on the other hand, be aware that you’ll need a different version of your app for each app store, since they all handle payments differently.

Once you’ve decided where you’re publishing your app and have your accounts set up, it’s time to actually start to make your new app.

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