As some of you may know, I’ve been working on building a new Android app store called Accrescent for almost a year now. My goal was to solve the inherent security, privacy, and usability issues of existing Android app stores by designing a new store from the ground up to address them. Today, I’m proud to announce that Accrescent has entered public alpha! You can try it out yourself today by downloading it from our website or from our GitHub releases.

What is Accrescent?

For those who don’t know, Accrescent is an open-source Android app store designed from the ground up to be secure, private, and usable by default. It has first-class support for split APKs without requiring developers to give up exclusive control of their app signing keys, meaning users get the size saving benefits of split APKs while developers can rest assured that their keys can’t be lost or abused by Accrescent.

Accrescent builds off this feature further by pinning developers’ app signing certificates in signed metadata so that first-time app installs are always verified. This means that even if Accrescent’s servers were compromised, an attacker wouldn’t be able to swap out a legitimate app for a malicious one. Accrescent will simply refuse to install it.

Accrescent also has full support for unprivileged, unattended updates. This means that when app updates arrive, you won’t need to manually approve each one. They happen silently in the background when you’re not using your device, so you don’t even need to think about them. This doesn’t require rooting or a special OS - it just works.

Of course Accrescent has other distinguishing features with many more to come. If you’re curious about how Accrescent works and how it stands out from other Android app stores, check out our website.

What does this mean?

Whitelisted developers can now submit their apps to Accrescent through the developer console. Accrescent is still in the early stages, but this alpha release is a major milestone toward Accrescent becoming a competitive alternative in the Android app ecosystem.

Accrescent was built to maintain backwards compatability even across major changes, so even though this release is alpha, no breaking changes are anticipated at this time. If a breaking change becomes necessary, there will most likely be a transition period for people to update so that most won’t experience breakage.

What’s next for Accrescent?

We have a long roadmap ahead of us. Some of the first priorities are adding app descriptions and developer information to the store, improving the user experience of the submission process, displaying app icons, and installing language packs on-demand. If there’s a feature you want to see or a bug you want to report, don’t hesitate to create an issue or pull request on our GitHub. We’d love to hear your feedback so that we can make Accrescent a more pleasant and feature-rich user experience for everyone. We’re excited to see Accrescent grow into the flourishing app store we envision.

Here’s to the future!