Malissa from Kentucky writes:

I’ve been using a computer for a long time, but I just got my Galaxy phone and my Kindle tablet last Christmas. Everyone says that you get programs for them in the app store. I was not sure what that was, but I always just let my daughter get things that I needed for me. Now, we’ve switched to a new Windows 8 computer and everything is in an app store now, too. But I feel like a dummy asking – just what is an app store and how do I use it?

An app store is just an online store where you can purchase applications for a particular operating system. Fortunately, they are easy to get to, just by selecting an icon on that device. For example, an Android Phone or tablet would use the Google Play Store.

You access it by tapping the icon that resembles a shopping bag on your Android device.

You access it by tapping the icon that resembles a shopping bag on your Android device.

In the app store , you’ll find a variety of apps both free and paid.

 You can browse apps by categories.

Or search by name of the app such as “Angry Birds” or the type of app you want like a PDF reader or Office Suite

For free apps, all you need to do is tap Install

For paid apps, you choose buy. Just as with any other online purchase, you’ll have to set up an account with a payment method to purchase apps.

Your Kindle is also an Android tablet, but Amazon has certain restrictions that only allow you to install apps from the Amazon App store. You access it by tapping App Store.

Again, you browse or search much in the same way you do with the Google Play Store and installing apps follow the same procedure.

Anything purchased from the App store will be charged to the payment method on your Amazon account.

The Windows 8 app store is accessed by choosing the Windows Store icon on the Metro Modern/Modern screen of your Windows Device or by searching for Windows Store.

You also have the choice of browsing or searching the Windows App Store.

The Windows Store offers a mix of Apps that run on the Metro/Modern screen and desktop programs that only work in that mode. Again, the installation process is very similar across all of these stores.

You didn’t mention any iOS devices, but the Apple App Store works in very much the same way. Here’s the icon to access it:


And this is how the store looks.

Again, the purchase process is pretty much the same.

Hope this clears things up a bit.

~ Cynthia