As forgiving as the Android ecosystem is, it’s still not as “open” as some would like – at the insistence of Google (or increasingly, one of its manufacturer or carrier partners) apps can be whisked away from the Android Market. Most of the apps that are routinely deleted are malware, pornography or violate copyright, but plenty are perfectly legitimate tools like emulators or tethering apps. Fed up with the situation, Koushik “Koush” Dutta of CyanogenMod, ClockworkMod Recovery and ClockworkMod Tether called for suggestions for a “banned” market, a haven for apps and ROMs that have been turned out of the Android Market for one reason or another.
Koush formed the idea after AT&T got Google to pull ClockworkMod Tether from the Android Market, almost certainly to protect the integrity of its own paid smartphone tethering plans. He spoke with CyanogenMod team leader Steve Kondik about building an aftermarket app store into CyanogenMod, not unlike the Cydia app store which has become a de facto jailbroken app store for the iPhone. There are already several alternate app stores for Android, and most of the apps removed from the Android Market can be found somewhere, but a central repository for users and developers sounds like a pretty good idea to us.
And we’re not alone. Koush’s Google+ post has garnered over 500 comments and 1500 shares from excited Android fans, almost all of them overwhelmingly positive. His idea includes an app store built in to CyanogenMod (which currently requires a separate flashable ZIP file to gain access to the Android Market), and access to the store would be granted to non-CyanogenMod ROMs as well. The developer said he had approached Amazon about including their own Appstore in CyanogenMod, but was “brushed off”.
While it’s easy enough to find a “banned” app for those with the know-how, a central place for all of the mod-friendly apps that aren’t acceptable to to Google or its partners would be a handy thing to have. While Koush and Kondik have not yet committed to building such a store (and make no mistake, it would be a huge undertaking) android Community looks forward to further developments in this area.