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Is a google account mandatory to use the android market?

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Yes, it is mandatory to use Google Account to use Google's Android Market; however it is not mandatory to use Google's Android Market to install Android applications. There are many third party app markets and you can sideload an .apk file you have downloaded to the device (except on some devices from brain-damaged carriers where this option is disabled). Some alternative markets do not require registration.

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Yes. You need one to sign in, even for free apps. Paid apps are paid for via Google Checkout.

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