Cydia Store: a true rival to iPhone AppStore?

Until now Apple’s iTunes AppStore was the monopolist of iPhone apps distribution. And while monopoly is rarely a good thing, Apple has almost done it right, making the entire apps distribution process easy, at least for the endusers.

But many iPhone apps developers (and users alike) are not happy with Apple’s AppStore acceptance policies due to the fact that Apple does not accept a lot of very useful apps into the AppStore for one reason or another. As a result the programs that were not accepted usually end up being available as “unauthorized” applications, requiring the users to have a jailbreaked iPhone. And jailbreaking your iPhone is probably not a big price for users to pay to be able to get such features as MMS and copy/paste support on their device — something that regular iPhone owners have yet to wish for.

The only thing that was lacking for unauthorized iPhone apps is a centralized distribution method that would allow developers to sell their apps to the public. Now, however, there is one such distribution method coming in the form of recently launched Cydia Store.

cydia store

Cydia, of course, is the installer program that allows you to install countless unauthorized (and free) third party apps on your iPhone. Now, the latest update to Cydia includes a fully featured apps store that supports payment processing, putting it in direct competition with the AppStore. Well, more or less.

The way Cydia Store works, is that you download and install Cydia on your iPhone, and the store is waiting for you there. In order to purchase an app you must login into either your Facebook or Google account. After that, you can select any app you like and buy it. Sounds pretty promising, doesn’t it?

Well, while it sure does, there are still multiple “coming soon” features that are required for the store to live up to its full potential, and several interesting caveats, due to which the Cydia Store is not yet ready to offer real competition to the AppStore. Below is a listing of reasons for that:

1) Of course, the number one caveat, which will never change, is that you need to jailbreak your iPhone to be able to use the Cyda Store. Some folks are simply not willing to do that. Although, Cydia already has more than 1.5 million users, so as it is there is a solid distribution base.
2) Currently the only way to pay for an app in Cydia Store is by using an Amazon Payment account. Paypal payments support is promised, but not available as of yet. This clearly limits the number of users that are able to use the Cyda Store at the moment.
3) A major caveat for developers, is the fact that Cydia Store doesn’t have a whole department of people to accept new apps submissions like the Apple AppStore does. As a result, Cydia Store can only accept a limited number of submissions at a time. In fact, its developers state that as of today, only a day after Cydia Store’s official launch, they won’t be receiving any new submissions for a few more weeks since they’re already overloaded.
4) A minor caveat for Cydia Store developers, is that it currently does not offer Digital Rights Management

. Which means that any application submitted into the Cydia Store can be easily pirated.
5) Unlike the AppStore, Cydia Store still does not offer apps ratings or user comments. So it’s somewhat difficult for the customers to decide which app is for them and which isn’t.
6) There are still multiple bugs and crashes that plague the application.

Nevertheless, the Cyda Store does offer some interesting features: for example, it keeps track of the apps you’ve purchased so they could be reinstalled even if you lose your iPhone. And its developers are hard at work on it, promising to soon accept feature requests from endusers. So while not yet being on the level of the Apple AppStore, the Cydia Store is certainly worth keeping an eye on.


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