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As far as I could search on the site, this has always been the case. I could be totally wrong, but I remember being able to download directly from the "Android Market" back then (unless it was just my imagination).

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    I have been an Android user since 2013 (we are in 2022 now), and I know for sure that Play Store never provided a way to download APKs. It always installed the apps in the device.
    – Firelord
    Commented Apr 23, 2022 at 16:07
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    Android Market was renamed to Play Store in March 2012, so your memories are pretty old if they are true (but there is at least one answer on the page you have linked from 2011 that also indicates that downloading is not possible without third party tools). I don't know when I started with Play Store but it was always pretty complicated to download APKs from it as it requires non-official tools that often stop working the next day.
    – Robert
    Commented Apr 23, 2022 at 17:55
  • I remember having a Galaxy S II at the time, where it has the bag log and it said "Market".
    – Kazh
    Commented Apr 23, 2022 at 17:57
  • Yeah it was possible once upon a time, i was a really small kid back then but i remember doing it... vague memories, but yes. Btw welcome back to the Android club. Commented Apr 24, 2022 at 21:01

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