Cydia, the alternative App Store that can be installed on iOS by “jailbreaking” a device, has evolved from being an interesting experimentation to distribute software and hacks Apple wouldn’t approve in its official App Store into a full-featured, massive on-device store that hosts thousands of packages created by users or developers and released through custom sources known as “repositories”. According to the latest numbers shared by Cydia’s creator and main developer, Jay Freeman aka saurik, Cydia has been installed on 10-15 million iOS devices accounting for roughly 9% of the total iOS userbase worldwide. Kyle Matthews, founder of ModMyi (a popular Cydia repository and forum for jailbreakers) says 1.5 million users log in Cydia on a daily basis. Cydia isn’t a cool experiment anymore: it’s a growing community and, with the latest 1.1 update, a great piece of software to discover, try and buy tweaks and apps for the iPhone or iPad.
As reported by iPhoneDownloadBlog, large companies like Toyota have seen the potentialities of Cydia and are now keeping an eye on it as a way to promote their brand and products without having to wait for Apple’s approval, or invest thousands of dollars into an iAd campaign. Put simply, they’re coming up with new ways to massively promote products in pure Cydia style: Toyota affiliate Scion created an exclusive theme for jailbroken devices showcasing their 2011 tC vehicle.
The ModMyi article went on to mention that Toyota affiliate, Scion, had recently contacted them in regards to hosting a theme they had developed in their Cydia repo. The theme is part of an ad campaign for their 2011 tC vehicle, and is obviously only for jailbreakers. For those interested you can find the theme in Cydia by searching ‘Scion 2011 Theme.
I think Toyota and Scion had a great idea here: instead of releasing yet another App Store application with info and videos about a car, they chose the alternative path and teamed up with a Cydia repo to put the product under new eyeballs, and lots of them. Of course this isn’t the only part of Scion’s 2011 digital campaign, but it’s an original one. After seeing this, some people are already speculating Cydia will soon become a crowded marketplace full of promoted themes and “boot logos” to customize the appearance of a device, and give back to the advertisers at the same time. I believe that, just like the App Store, the rise of different kinds of hacks, apps and themes is inevitable; but as long as existing developers and hackers will keep supporting the platform, I don’t see why experimenting with new ways of generating income (for sources) and clicks (for brands) should be a problem for Cydia and its users.