Pitched battle: PhonePe announces Indus Appstore for Android developers to take on Google

PhonePe on Saturday announced the launch of Indus Appstore developer platform, wooing Android app developers with the promise of zero platform fee or commission for in-app payments, as the digital payments firm made a bold and decisive move to confront the might of Google in the app marketplace with the Made-in-India app store.

Akash Dongre, Co-Founder of Indus Appstore rued that app developers are forced to work with only one app store – Google Play Store – for distributing their apps, and vowed that the new offering will be a credible alternative, more localised, with better app discovery and consumer engagement.

The Indus Appstore Developer platform comes with sweeteners – app listings on it will be free for the first year, after which a nominal annual fee will apply. Moreover, the Indus Appstore will not charge developers any platform fee or commission for In-App Payments.

Developers will be free to integrate any payment gateway of their choice inside their own apps. These apps will be listed on the soon-to-be launched “Made-in-India” Indus Appstore, offering a localised experience in 12 languages, tailored for Indian audiences. This means users will be able to explore the appstore in their preferred language.

“PhonePe, today announced the launch of the Indus Appstore Developer Platform… Indus Appstore is inviting all Android app developers to register and upload their apps using the self-serve developer platform www.indusappstore.com,” according to a release.

The Appstore will also have a ‘Launch Pad’ for new developers to onboard their apps and provide them with better visibility and search optimisation.

Dongre observed that India is poised to have over 1 billion smartphone users by 2026, offering a massive opportunity to build a new-age, localised Android app store.

“Despite being such a large consumer market, app developers have always been forced to work with only one app store – Google Play Store – for distributing their apps. Indus Appstore hopes to provide app developers a credible alternative to the Google Playstore – one that is more localised and offers better app discovery and consumer engagement,” Dongre said.

The Indus Appstore aims to provide developers with an alternative distribution channel to tap into the Indian Android market. It will assist them with high-quality user acquisition through multilingual app discovery.

For startups and new app launches, Indus Appstore will have a dedicated destination called `Launch Pad’ to provide these new apps with better visibility as well as search optimisation.

It will also offer several developer tools and features that address the challenges faced by most Android developers, including a dedicated round-the-clock customer support team based in India, the option to list their app in 12 Indian languages besides English and the ability to boost brand awareness via engaging videos.

“Indus Appstore is a native Android-based mobile app store, designed to fulfill the localised and cultural needs of Indian consumers. With an extensive array of categories it seeks to provide users a localised, contextual and a personalised experience,” the release said.

For developers, Indus Appstore promises a “fair and level playing field” to list, distribute and promote their products in the Indian app ecosystem. It provides a self-publishing platform, localisation services, multiple tools to monitor and grow their apps along with dedicated 24×7 customer support.

The latest move comes at a time when Google and Apple’s app stores have drawn flak in various markets over restrictive policies, opaque processes and for charging a steep commission for in-app purchases.

Amid the growing disquiet, small developers and innovators are clamouring for regulatory action to make app stores business models competitive and to break the dominance of the BigTech.

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