Medic has been exploring F-Droid as a more streamlined alternative to various sideloading options we use for some of our projects. F-Droid is an open source application that allows Android users to install applications in a similar way to the Google Play Store. Additionally, it allows us to host our own app repository on our servers, allowing us to distribute apps in a convenient way that is also familiar to users who have experience using the Google play store.
In order to determine if F-Droid offers a viable solution we designed an experiment to help us determine how easy it is for users to setup F-Droid on their devices and get the relevant app and how easy is it to update to the latest version of an application. From the experiment we found that using F-Droid for app distribution carries an initial setup burden for each user/device. This is offset by the ease with which users are able to upgrade to newer versions of an app when needed. A more detailed write up on the experiment can be found on the medic blog.
We urge community members to consider using F-Droid for any projects that might need an app to be sideloaded.