Windows Phone gets its own Cydia. Introducing Marketplace alternative 'Bazaar'.

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!

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • YES!!!! Now the Homebrew scene really has a chance to explode! Can't wait till we can see this on more devices.
  • You had me all excited until you said it requires a Custom ROM. Something that my Arrive never seems to have support for.
    Regardless, I wouldn't want to load up a Custom ROM anyways. If it just required a Chevron unlock I would totally do this. Oh well.
  • Yea, tell me about it. At this point we really need is a proper unlock tool so that we can all enjoy the goodies.
  • "UPDATE - Bazaar will work on ANY Rom that supports installing XAP files via the device's IE"
  • That just means any custom ROM that uses DFT's IE-XAP trick. So you not only still need a custom ROM, you need a special kindf of custom ROM.
  • Its time for an easy way of jailbreaking your windows phone just like the Apple scene. 
  • You obviously weren't around for the first two years of Jailbreaking Apple devices. It was significantly more difficult than it is currently on Windows Phone. We won't see a utility like the current Apple implimentation for quite some time I imagine, our platform is relatively new still.
  • What is the ROM