Learn the truth about the Cydia Store and how it stacks up against the official Apple App Store. Find out how to use it and what hidden gems you might find buried within.
Maybe you have heard of the Cydia Store or even seen links to the Cydia Store. If you are familiar with Cydia then you are already familiar with the Cydia Store. The Cydia Store works just like the regular Cydia application works on the iPhone. Providing a place for those developers who refuse to be under the thumb of Apple to distribute their applications.
iPhone apps distributed in the Cydia Store (and in Cydia in general) are referred to as packages. Cydia is referred to as a package manager because it is capable of manipulating and managing packages (apps). The Cydia application can be found on jailbroken iPhone's and is standard. Since the beginning of the jailbreaking scene on the iPhone, Cydia has had much competition. Several other package managers have attempted to steal some fame from Cydia but have failed (package managers such as Icy and Rock).
Cydia has prevailed as the number one package manager for jailbroken iPhone's. Once Cydia began to experience success, Saurik, the creator of Cydia decided to develop the Cydia Store. The Cydia Store is a paid section of Cydia where developers can sell their packages (apps) just like they would on the official Apple AppStore except without all the restrictions and rules of the AppStore.
Using the Cydia Store
Using the Cydia Store is incredibly easy. Designed around Cydia and integrated directly into Cydia, it could not be any easier to use the Cydia Store. The Cydia Store can be accessed either by tapping on the Cydia Store text on the home page of Cydia or by simply browsing through Cydia in regular mode and finding a purchasable package.
When searching or browsing for applications on Cydia, some apps will show up with blue text. Blue text indicates that the particular package (app) is a premium package and needs to be purchased through the Cydia Store. Browsing directly into the Cydia Store and selecting any for sale package will have the same effect. Once a package is selected it can be viewed as it normally would in Cydia with screenshots and description. The price is also displayed for the particular package in the Cydia Store.
Purchasing a package is incredibly easy and consists of simply clicking the "Purchase Package" link. Purchasing a package can be done using Paypal which is the faster and more secure method of making a payment without providing your actual credit card information. Paypal has become a wonderful method of paying and it is a pleasure to see that the Cydia Store has enabled purchasing via Paypal rather than the traditional direct from credit card model that the AppStore uses.
Once a package has been purchased it will begin to download and install on Cydia. The Cydia Store uniquely identifies your iPhone and any time in the future (even after upgrades or restores) the same package can be downloaded again on your same iPhone. All in all the Cydia Store is incredibly easy to navigate and use. Purchasing and downloading apps on the Cydia Store is a breeze.
Cydia Store Vs AppStore
Comparing the Cydia Store and the AppStore is a difficult task. The AppStore is much larger than the Cydia Store and has a lot more to offer in terms of quantity. The Cydia Store features many different applications which have either been rejected from the AppStore or did not wish to attempt to enter into the AppStore. Applications found in the Cydia Store are not low quality applications, in-fact the applications found in the Cydia Store often enhance or add a new functionality to your iPhone which was not previously possible.
Offerings from the Cydia Store include applications such as BTstack Keyboard which enables users to use a Bluetooth keyboard to write emails, text and interact with their iPhone. All Bluetooth keyboards using the HID profile are supported. Other great applications such as Wi-Fi sync enable wireless syncing with iTunes at the touch of a button, no USB cable needed. Entertainment is also covered by the Cydia Store with applications such as a snes4iphone which is a fully functional Super Nintendo emulator for the iPhone. Snes4iphone will enable you to play all your favorite, classic SNES games directly on the iPhone using the touch interface.
The AppStore may have more to offer overall but the Cydia Store is the place to go. The Cydia Store contains a wide array of applications that are creative, unique and worth buying. Prices in the Cydia Store vary greatly but as a whole they beat the AppStore. Purchasing through the Cydia Store is also a lot easier using Paypal, something that AppStore does not and will likely not ever offer.
For those who are new to Cydia, Find Out How to Use Cydia Here.
(Screenshots courtesy of Saurik)