We have 500 tablets that need to go out with our Android app pre-installed. From our experience so far, the only way to install the apps is by creating a new Google account, logging into the play store, and installing the app. The problem with this method is that it's very time consuming, it's creating junk accounts that I'm sure Google doesn't want, and each new account requires a phone number to verify and you can only create a limited number of accounts on a single phone number.
The obvious alternative is to side load the app with the APK file manually, but the downside to this is that we want to be able to update the app later. My understanding is that if we side load the app we can't update the app automatically.
We are already using Ionic Pro which has live deploy which handles most small updates but it can't live deploy any updates that involve updates to the cordova/native plugins.
Since both of these methods have drawbacks, I'm hoping there's another way. I'm curious how educational institutions are able to preload apps on classroom tablets that update without an account logged into the Play Store.
To be clear, and to avoid duplication of other similar questions, what I'm really looking for is to use the Google Play Store for updates, not bypass it, but without having a unique Google account per tablet.