Alternatives to the Apple iTunes App Store Grow Stronger

Apple might have Ping in its new version of iTunes and the largest smartphone app store around, but its starting to get some real competition from an unexpected place. The popular Cydia app store that is installed by default by most iOS jailbreaks is growing. The US Government has declared jailbreaks and unlocks of smartphones legal. Oh, and Cydia just bought its rival jailbreak app store Rock.
I have only used Rock a handful of times, but its collection of apps was fairly decent. Cydia is my normal choice for jailbroken apps, and I am happy that it is starting to take itself seriously. Sure, Cydia has some problems. Anyone else get annoying error messages and hate how long it sometimes takes for all of its data to reload? However, for a store that can only cater to jailbroken iOS devices, it is surprisingly professional. It looks like the hackers are starting to realize that their hard work can pay off.
While Android and its app store keeps growing (congrats BlackBerry and your passing the 10k app mark this past week), keep an eye on Cydia. If you are lucky enough to be sporting a jailbroken iOS device and need an app, load it up and take a poke around. App stores like Cydia are the whole reason for jailbreaking in the first place. I remember back when the iPhone could not do picture messaging. Thanks to Cydia, I could anyway. My personal iOS devices are literally filled with apps from Cydia. Don’t think you will have to pay an arm and a leg for apps either. All of the Cydia apps I use are free. Many of them do not even have in app advertising, but I am sure that will start to change in the coming years as jailbreaking gains popularity and legitimacy.
Those annoying iTunes App Store restrictions that Apple places on apps trying to get in? They don’t exist in Cydia. Of course, it comes as at  trade off. Some Cydia apps are full of bugs. Others let you play SNES and PSX games. Oh, and you can run Mac OS 6 on your iPhone if you really really want to. Basically, everything Apple does not want exists in the realm of third party alternatives. Emulators, buggy software and everything else you love (or hate) to mess around with on your PC exists for iOS. Apple just doesn’t want you to know about it.
Checkout Cydia if you have not yet, and let me know if you think anyone has a chance at breaking some of the monopoly power Apple is enjoying on iOS right now with iTunes.
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