Paytm was briefly removed from Google Play Store for violating gambling policies and then it launched a tirade against Google's monopoly in the Indian app store space with its 30 percent fee et all. After a few memes and lobbying the Indian government against Google, Paytm just took out full front page ads in leading newspapers across the country for its ambitious "Paytm Mini App Store."
Paytm boldly invited developers to join the company "to build India's Digital Revolution, together!" But digging a little deeper into how the Paytm Mini App Store works shows it is not exactly an equivalent or even a replacement to Google Play Store. Here's how.
How Paytm Mini App Store works?
It's old wine in a new bottle. Moreover, it's not entirely a new idea as well. PhonePe had launched a service called PhonePe Switch, which in all fairness is similar to what Paytm is offering through its Mini App Store.
When smartphones started flourishing and low memory on phones had become an issue for many, some app developers came with the idea of Progressive Web Apps (PWA), which are basically mobile browser version of the app. It doesn't require downloading the app, hence saving memory on the phone. It even mimics the app's appearance by placing a launch icon on the home screen for quick access. It's by design.
Paytm Mini App Store appears to be using PWA version of popular apps. The UI shows list of apps and some services under various categories like Finance, Education, Food Ordering etc, Medianama found based on interface screenshots.
"When you are browsing for Mini Apps inside the Paytm App, you can save is on the homepage of your device and can directly log in to the mini app, that is the key difference. It's a mini app because it requires installation and distribution through Paytm app and it does not require you to develop it as an Android binary," Paytm chief Vijay Shekhar Sharma explained, according to CNBC-TV18.
Moreover, Paytm had in July launched a service called Paytm Mini Programs. Going by the looks of it, the Mini App Store is a rebranded version of the service. Paytm claims to have roped in than 300 app-based service providers such as Decathalon, Ola, Park+, Rapido, Netmeds, 1MG, Domino's Pizza, FreshMenu, NoBroker have joined the program.