I'm browsing Google's Play store for apps regularly. I do not really like the store's layout that much as it is difficult to find new apps that have just been released. I have the same issue with Google's Chrome Web Store by the way, where you can't sort by date as well. You do end up with a selection of "trending" apps that Google displays to you but that is about it.
Anyway, when you open an apps' profile page on Google Play you receive all kinds of information about it. This includes the apps name, images, sometimes a video, and links to user reviews, update information, permissions it requires and more apps from the developer and related apps.
The overview displays an about this app section that lists the required Android version which can act as an indicator why an app may not be compatible with your device. If it requires Android 4.x or higher, and your device is running Android 2.x or 3.x, you know why it is not compatible.
Google displays compatibility information right underneath's the install button on that page. If your device is not compatible, you will receive the following information:
This app is incompatible with your "device name"
Incompatible does not necessarily mean that your device's technical capabilities are incompatible with the app. While that may often be the case, it can also refer to geo-restrictions that the creator of the app has set. Apps can be released only to select countries, and if you happen to live in a country that the app is not (yet) released in, you too will receive the incompatibility message.
Now, to find out why your device has been deemed incompatible click on the small plus icon in the bottom right corner of the message.
Here you find the reason why you cannot install the app to your device. You can still click on the install button but the installation won't commence unless you select a different Android device from the pull down list here.
Google displays compatibility information right here. Just click on one of the devices listed in the menu and you will see a small overlay that explains why it cannot be send to the device and installed on it.
Using a virtual private network or proxy does not help you out here either, as Google is using account information and not your IP address to determine your country. What this means though is that you may run into issues if you are traveling or relocated to another country, as you may not be able to install local apps because of this.
The address information are taken from Google Wallet, and the only option you have to access a localized Play Store is to change that address. Google Support offers the following information on how to change the address.
1) Sign into your Google Wallet account to manage your payment methods (https://wallet.google.com/manage/paymentMethods)
2) Add a new card or change your default payment instrument to one with a billing address located inside your desired country
3) Open the Play Store and navigate to any item available for download
4) Click to begin a download until you reach the "Accept and buy" screen (no need to complete the purchase)
5) Close the Play Store and clear data for the Google Play Store application (Settings > Apps > Google Play Store > Clear Data) or clear your browser cache
6) Re-open the Play Store. You should now see the Play Store that matches your default payment instrument's billing country.
If you haven't yet added a payment method to your account for the first time, please add a card directly from the Play Store with a billing address that matches your intended country location. Then, follow steps 3 through 6 to show your intended country's Play Store.
I dislike restrictions based on a user's geographical region, and I'm not saying that solely because I'm more often than not on the receiving end in regards to incompatible apps based on the country I'm living in, but also because I can't think of a single reason why app developers would want to add those restrictions in first place. Well, there are some like reducing support requests or releasing a localized version of an app. Then again, there are all kinds of issues associated with geo-restrictions that support may have to deal with instead.
What about you? Have you encountered incompatibility issues before?
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.