Apple’s iTunes App Store and Google Play are a bit like Moroccan city marketplaces: There’s a lot going on, and it’s all a bit chaotic and overwhelming. Browsing by categories or searching by keyword helps. But not much.
I needed an easier way to find apps, and I came up with these iTunes and Play alternatives, one for Android and another for Android, iOS and Windows Phone.
Best Apps Market is a free Android app that offers more filtering options than Google Play.
You can browse apps by categories, of course. Within categories, you can further refine search results using relevant filters. In the TV & Movies category, for instance, you can narrow the results by Television, Films, and TV 4 Kids. In the New Apps category, there are filters for Be Entertained, Be Expressive, and Be Social, for example.
You can further filter results between free and paid apps, and sort by rating, most downloads and newest. Fetch Rank is the default sort. (Fetch Mobile is the app’s publisher.)
There’s a Feed tab that aims to keep you updated on new apps. And if you’re interested in a specific app you can click Install, and the app takes you to Google Play for the download.
Another similar app that I appreciate is Tablified, which lets you see only apps optimized for Android tablets.
Appcrawlr bills itself as an “app discovery engine,” and it’s a good way to find apps for Android, iOS and Windows Phone.
Say you want to track your heart rate while exercising. You can type ‘heart rate monitor’ in the keyword search box and click to search across all devices or by a specific device. From there, you can sort by relevance, total downloads, trending, and other criteria.
Additional filtering tools let you refine your search by price (and you can exclude apps with in-app purchases); category; topic; what it helps you achieve (such as “tracking my runs”); audience (including “runners” and “doctors”); and features (such as “GPS map” and “voice feedback.”) You can select apps to create a comparison chart, too, and then click the Download button to get the app.
Unfortunately, Appcrawlr is Web-only; there’s no companion Appcrawlr app. Even so, Appcrawlr is a great place to start your next app search, regardless of the device you own.
James A. Martin is a seasoned tech journalist and blogger based in San Francisco and winner of the 2014 ASBPE National Gold award for his CIO.com blog. He writes CIO.com's Living the Tech Life blog and is also a content marketing consultant.