Long before the launch of Apple’s official App Store, Jay Freeman (otherwise known as Saurik) unleashed Cydia, an open repository of third-party applications for jailbroken iPhones and iPod Touches. If you knew the right server addresses (or “Sources”), you could get just about anything. Sure, some folks use it for getting around that whole “paying for stuff” thing – but for most users, its primary use is the distribution of applications that Apple won’t allow in their store. It’s the only way to get recording or streaming video apps (Cycorder and Qik, respectively) or tethering apps (PDANet) onto your iPhone, for example. The only snag: if developers want to sell their application, they have to handle payments themselves. But that’s about to change.
Some time today, Saurik will be pushing an update to Cydia that adds a simple billing process, called Cydia Store, to the mix. If an app developer wants to make a bit of change from their jailbroken app, Cydia will handle the transaction process. According to the WSJ, Cydia’s cut will be no larger than Apple’s. Also mentioned in the article are RockYourPhone, currently invite-only, and an unnamed store planning on peddling goods of a more X-rated variety.
I’ve bought.. er, I mean, I know a dude who has bought a few apps found on Cydia, and the payment processing methods were cumbersome – not to mention a bit shady. Anything that makes things more straight forward is a welcome change. Well, at least we think it is; Apple probably won’t agree.