The idea of an alternative to the Windows Phone Marketplace, one based on homebrew and freeware analogous to the iOS Cydia, has been kicking since Day 1 (see this early attempt). But with the increasingly wide spread availability of official unlocking opportunities e.g. ChevronWP7 Labs, the notion has become more reasonable, mostly due to the increase number of users.
Over at XDA, 'BAZAAR' has launched as an early beta for those interested in taking it for a spin. The alternative Marketplace won't be confined to the strict, seemingly arbitrary rules of the official Marketplace (see Ffffound) but it also won't be a haven for cracked or pirated apps. Instead, this will be a source for developers to distribute their homebrew apps that Microsoft would not approve as well as standard freeware apps.
That's the good news. But here's the bad: you need to have a DFT, NextGen or Deepshining Custom ROM installed on your phone i.e. a ROM that supports XAP-installation by IE9 (yeah, you can do that in a custom ROM). That's a shame and quite a big limitation right now as going the custom ROM route cuts out a huge chunk of potential users, including all Gen 2 devices. Still, it's an initial framework and we can hope that there will be a breakthrough where this will be allowed
The app itself only allows browsing right now as they work on getting permissions for the repository. The developers are looking for user feedback from those with custom ROMs and will be adding the following features in the future:
- Creating an account within Bazaar
- Managing favorites applications list and the ability to download and install them as a batch process (very useful after reset/flashing new ROM version)
- Add ratings and comments for applications
- Submit new applications via Bazaar web site
- Online search in Bazaar applications repository
- And many more…
It is cool looking and we hope the start of something bigger. Maybe Microsoft could land a hand to an unofficial Marketplace?
Source: XDA; Thanks, Carlos, for the tip!