Most Android users find and install their apps from within their device by using the Play Store as this is the easiest method but many may not know that they can also access apps and manage those they have already installed from the Google Play website.
To see what you have already installed just log in to the same Google account that you use on your phone (most users have just the one) in the web browser either on your device or another PC and then click on My Android Apps.
Google manage the visibility of apps that you can see on your device in the Play Store app using different methods – one is the capabilities of the device like screen size etc while another is the country that your device is set to. But you should know that this is not the same as the country that users can change in Settings. So, if either criteria is not met you simply won’t be offered it.
I discovered this while attempting to find apps from within my Chinese-made tablet (a Cube U9GT-2 bought on eBay to be exact). Firstly, this tablet has China set as the country of use within the firmware of the device and it seems that users cannot alter this unless they are prepared to install a custom ROM (don’t worry what that is, suffice to say it’s a ‘geeky’ thing and not for the faint-hearted! I could see the apps I wanted on the Play Store website but once logged into the Google account saw the message ”This item is not compatible with your device’ or ‘This item is not available in your country’.
However, there is a reasonably simple way around this problem as I discovered after some digging. If you have an Android smartphone or access to another locally bought device, simply download the app using this, back it up and then copy it across to the tablet. Now, this is something I suggest only the more experienced users should try as it involves changing a setting to allow installation of apps from other than the Play Store and using backup and file transfer apps, but it isn’t hard. I’ll write instructions on my suggested method in another post.
Some of the Apps I installed like this simply refused to work on the tablet, but this was because of incompatibilities with the internals of the tablet (mine has no GPS for example), but I simply removed them and found an alternative that did work.
This is one of the strengths (some would say weaknesses) of Android. It is far more customisable than the iPad or iPhone and solving glitches like this can usually be done relatively simply. It does mean that it is possible for users to get into strife by circumventing the security features of Android but only if the app they are installing has not come from the Play Store. This method doesn’t have that risk of course as the app is legitimately downloaded from there.