Top Japanese online retailer Rakuten now has its own Android app store, linked to its ‘Rakuten Super Points’ loyalty programme and offering enhanced security features.
Rakuten App Ichiba currently offers around 380 apps (Google has over a million) from approximately 180 developers, including exclusive titles, with plans to further expand the line-up in the future.
In-store payments and in-app charges can be paid using ‘super points’, and users can earn points on purchases, the company said.
Rakuten has given particular importance to security: it has partnered with Trend Micro which will evaluate the security of each app and the store will offer an “anti-malicious app countermeasures” feature that will scan all the apps installed on a user’s Android device free of charge once a month.
Android has had its fair share of security issues, so this may be attractive to consumers. In May, millions of users downloaded malicious Minecraft-related Android apps.
What’s more, researchers in France tested 2,146 apps with internet-access permissions in the Play Store and found “several instances of overly aggressive communication with tracking websites, of excessive communication with ad related sites, and of communication with sites previously associated with malware activity.”