The AppStore has been around a good while now. Cydia now has a retail aspect, which is being built out even more as you read this. And adding to the mix, Rock Your Phone, which we've been beta testing a while, is now live.
Rock Your Phone actually includes their own jailbreak (or soft unlock, as they've decided to coin it) software as part of the process - you'll notice the procedure is fairly similar to Pwnage Tool, but a little different, and branded Rock Your Phone. Some Dev Team help was actually put into building the application. Mario Ciabarra, creator of Rock Your Phone, says "Without the Dev Team's help, and the entire independent iPhone community - this wouldn't be possible - so we are very grateful for their help and dedication. We are intending to give back to the community as well."
One of the big pushes Rock Your Phone is advertising is every application purchased through RockYourPhone (which allows payment through PayPal, and all major credit cards) comes with a 10 day trial - you don't buy it unless you like it. Any app in their store can be installed free, and used for 10 days.
A unified experience is another big push they're excited about. Applications can be purchased through the online store at RockYourPhone.com, through the mobile application, or through the desktop client (which works on OS X AND Windows, folks - although Mac users will need a hub, heh - sound familiar?).
The app DOES require you to go through their "soft unlock," even if you're jalbroken already, but it won't mess with any of your Cydia apps, nor your AppStore apps. It sits side by side with Cydia and the AppStore, and in fact you can even see your Rock Your Phone apps wiithin Cydia in your installed packages (although the reverse isn't true).
EDIT 03/14/09: The latest version of Rock Your Phone no longer requires their soft unlock if you've already jailbroken - it will simply install the Rock Your Phone app. Again, that means if you've already jailbroken, this will just install the app - no other "soft unlock" or anything is necessary.
The application offerings are currently pretty slim pickings - there's 5. Those include Vonagent ($9.99) and IntelliScreen ($9.99), two applications which you're most likely familiar with. Elert (free) and IntelliDial ($2.99) are two other applications in the store, which are productivity enhancing apps. Elert allows you to see a popup notification of incoming emails, and IntelliDial allows you to browse contacts on your lockscreen in a CoverFlow format, and dial from there.
The fifth app is pretty nifty, actually - custom profiles with MyProfiles ($12.99). Here's the feature list:
- Custom alerting of email based on Subject, Sender, Sent Only to You, and Mail Accounts.
- Custom alerting of SMS messages and missed calls based on caller phone #.
- Modify the Vibrate Pattern so you can be quietly alerted to a specific email.
- Repeating Alerts for Email, SMS, and Missed Calls.
- Silence Calls via WhiteList or BlackList
- Escalating Rings and Vibrate 1st then Ring
- Adjust WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, Push Email, Auto Lock, and 3G based on Location, Time of Day, and more.
- Automatic rules engine to enable profiles
- Manual Override Profile by holding down the home button and pressing up and down on the Volume buttons.
Overall, this is a solid system. The trial feature is nice, and the complete experience is pretty easy. It's not a Cydia replacement, as it isn't looking to distribute free software - which is where Cydia shines. It's more a commercial alternative to Cydia. (Cydia has thousands and thousands of packages, many of which are themes, and is constantly growing - with a subscriber base of over 1.5 million). Where Rock Your Phone shines is their solid retail aspect (which really is their niche - a full service independent iPhone Application Store), and the user experience. The setup is definitely attractive to devs and end users alike though, so it will be interesting to see how this app grows. I'd like to see how Cydia Store and Rock Your Phone compete, with such a large base already using Cydia. I'm pulling for them both - competition breeds innovation.