Russian devs plan alternative Android app store after Google Play bans paid apps

Claim NashStore will help Russians access common apps from May 9

A group of Russian developers are planning a Google Play alternative for Android users that will give those based in the country access to paid apps and services lost due to sanctions. 

Google suspended users' ability to purchase apps and games, make subscription payments and make "any in-app purchases" of digital goods using Google Play in Russia as of 10 March. It asked devs that make apps that offer "critical services" to make them free.

According to ANO Digital Platforms, the organization behind the new app store, NashStore will launch on May 9, the same day the country has a public holiday to mark its victory in World War Two. The org behind it also serves as an industry association and IT consulting firm, and hosts a registry for connecting software makers with business customers.  

Vladimir Zykov, project director of ANO Digital Platforms, said of the move: "Unfortunately, Russians will no longer be able to use the Play Market normally to buy and pay for applications, and developers have lost their source of income. This is the fact we are facing today."

NashStore translates to "Our Store," and will reportedly be designed to work with all Android devices, with payments from bank cards compatible with the Russian Mir payment system being accepted. 

The as-yet-unlaunched store will enable users to download, install and update apps, as well as pay for subscriptions. It will also have "all the usual set of functions," including a five-point app rating scale, a feedback system and more. 

One thing NashStore won't have when it launches (unless it gains significant traction between now and launch) is an abundance of apps. As it stands now, over 500 developers have joined the NashStore community, but it's not there yet. 

In the NashStore FAQs, the question of whether or not the new store will be a full-fledged Google Play replacement, ANO said it's working on it. "At the moment, our task is to make it possible for users to buy familiar applications," to which end ANO is "actively recruiting developers to connect to our platform."

Russia has been hit hard by Western sanctions since invading Ukraine in late February. Visa and Mastercard have suspended Russian operations, as did PayPal, Netflix and others. Major tech companies have also put a hold on business, with Apple and Samsung among those ceasing sales as well. 

Apple's App Store hasn't shut its gates to Russia yet, though it has shut off Apple Pay and taken steps to close loopholes that let Russian users continue to use it after sanctions had gone into effect.

Zykov is well aware of the tenuous position Russia is in with Apple: "So far, they have not removed the ability to pay via mobile phone, although they have repeatedly stated that Apple has such plans … [we will] watch and wait."®

Other stories you might like

  • Lonestar plans to put datacenters in the Moon's lava tubes
    How? Founder tells The Register 'Robots… lots of robots'

    Imagine a future where racks of computer servers hum quietly in darkness below the surface of the Moon.

    Here is where some of the most important data is stored, to be left untouched for as long as can be. The idea sounds like something from science-fiction, but one startup that recently emerged from stealth is trying to turn it into a reality. Lonestar Data Holdings has a unique mission unlike any other cloud provider: to build datacenters on the Moon backing up the world's data.

    "It's inconceivable to me that we are keeping our most precious assets, our knowledge and our data, on Earth, where we're setting off bombs and burning things," Christopher Stott, founder and CEO of Lonestar, told The Register. "We need to put our assets in place off our planet, where we can keep it safe."

    Continue reading
  • Conti: Russian-backed rulers of Costa Rican hacktocracy?
    Also, Chinese IT admin jailed for deleting database, and the NSA promises no more backdoors

    In brief The notorious Russian-aligned Conti ransomware gang has upped the ante in its attack against Costa Rica, threatening to overthrow the government if it doesn't pay a $20 million ransom. 

    Costa Rican president Rodrigo Chaves said that the country is effectively at war with the gang, who in April infiltrated the government's computer systems, gaining a foothold in 27 agencies at various government levels. The US State Department has offered a $15 million reward leading to the capture of Conti's leaders, who it said have made more than $150 million from 1,000+ victims.

    Conti claimed this week that it has insiders in the Costa Rican government, the AP reported, warning that "We are determined to overthrow the government by means of a cyber attack, we have already shown you all the strength and power, you have introduced an emergency." 

    Continue reading
  • China-linked Twisted Panda caught spying on Russian defense R&D
    Because Beijing isn't above covert ops to accomplish its five-year goals

    Chinese cyberspies targeted two Russian defense institutes and possibly another research facility in Belarus, according to Check Point Research.

    The new campaign, dubbed Twisted Panda, is part of a larger, state-sponsored espionage operation that has been ongoing for several months, if not nearly a year, according to the security shop.

    In a technical analysis, the researchers detail the various malicious stages and payloads of the campaign that used sanctions-related phishing emails to attack Russian entities, which are part of the state-owned defense conglomerate Rostec Corporation.

    Continue reading
  • FTC signals crackdown on ed-tech harvesting kid's data
    Trade watchdog, and President, reminds that COPPA can ban ya

    The US Federal Trade Commission on Thursday said it intends to take action against educational technology companies that unlawfully collect data from children using online educational services.

    In a policy statement, the agency said, "Children should not have to needlessly hand over their data and forfeit their privacy in order to do their schoolwork or participate in remote learning, especially given the wide and increasing adoption of ed tech tools."

    The agency says it will scrutinize educational service providers to ensure that they are meeting their legal obligations under COPPA, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.

    Continue reading
  • Mysterious firm seeks to buy majority stake in Arm China
    Chinese joint venture's ousted CEO tries to hang on - who will get control?

    The saga surrounding Arm's joint venture in China just took another intriguing turn: a mysterious firm named Lotcap Group claims it has signed a letter of intent to buy a 51 percent stake in Arm China from existing investors in the country.

    In a Chinese-language press release posted Wednesday, Lotcap said it has formed a subsidiary, Lotcap Fund, to buy a majority stake in the joint venture. However, reporting by one newspaper suggested that the investment firm still needs the approval of one significant investor to gain 51 percent control of Arm China.

    The development comes a couple of weeks after Arm China said that its former CEO, Allen Wu, was refusing once again to step down from his position, despite the company's board voting in late April to replace Wu with two co-chief executives. SoftBank Group, which owns 49 percent of the Chinese venture, has been trying to unentangle Arm China from Wu as the Japanese tech investment giant plans for an initial public offering of the British parent company.

    Continue reading
  • SmartNICs power the cloud, are enterprise datacenters next?
    High pricing, lack of software make smartNICs a tough sell, despite offload potential

    SmartNICs have the potential to accelerate enterprise workloads, but don't expect to see them bring hyperscale-class efficiency to most datacenters anytime soon, ZK Research's Zeus Kerravala told The Register.

    SmartNICs are widely deployed in cloud and hyperscale datacenters as a means to offload input/output (I/O) intensive network, security, and storage operations from the CPU, freeing it up to run revenue generating tenant workloads. Some more advanced chips even offload the hypervisor to further separate the infrastructure management layer from the rest of the server.

    Despite relative success in the cloud and a flurry of innovation from the still-limited vendor SmartNIC ecosystem, including Mellanox (Nvidia), Intel, Marvell, and Xilinx (AMD), Kerravala argues that the use cases for enterprise datacenters are unlikely to resemble those of the major hyperscalers, at least in the near term.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022