When you download an app on Android, it doesn’t have to be the Google Play Store. The so-called FOSS – that is, open source applications – can be found, for example, in F-Droid. But there is a more interesting alternative that is visually better integrated into Android. The Neo Store is definitely worth a look in this regard.
Access to F-Droid
Screenshot: Bjorn Koenig
When setting up the Neo Store, you first need to decide which package sources the app should access. F-Droid can be selected during installation, and there are other sources such as Guardian Project Official Releases or KDE Android Release. You can also set the interval at which updates to directories will be executed.
Package sources also have the option to update it only when there is a WiFi connection. This can be an advantage down the road if, for example, a corresponding data plan is not available. In addition, unstable or experimental versions of open source applications can also be installed, but this is not necessarily recommended.
Features like Google Play
In principle, many functions of the Google Play Store are also available in the Neo Store. For example, applications that are already installed with the corresponding option to update them when a new version becomes available. It is also practical that new programs are immediately displayed in the “New Applications” area when they are updated.
With dark mode, the Neo Store is visually integrated into the Android environment, and the interface is very similar to the Material Design used by Google, which is why the app is particularly suitable for newer Android versions. In general, we also felt that directory updates ran faster than on F-Droid.
It is not a substitute for the Play Store
Although the Neo Store is very useful, it is not a replacement for the Google Play Store. Many important apps for banking, streaming, or productivity aren’t here. However, there are at least interesting alternatives for many applications, for example open source music or video players or currency converters.
Since Google Play Services is not required for use, the Neo Store can also be installed on “open” Android versions without Google. It can also be used on Android tablets including Fire HD devices from Amazon. If you already have F-Droid installed, you can also download the Neo store from there.
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