One potential side effect of Apple’s (AAPL) decision to take total control over its iPhone apps platform: A hungry group of developers who jump from the iPhone to Google’s (GOOG) Android platform instead.
Why’s that? For its forthcoming apps platform, Apple is only distributing hand-picked apps, and only through one place — the official iPhone apps store. Until now, dozens (hundreds?) of coders had been writing unofficial apps for iPhones that were hacked, or “jailbroken,” to run third-party software without Apple’s nod. But now that the official store is coming on July 11, the percentage of new iPhone owners who jailbreak their phones will probably plummet.
But we think there will still be some jailbreak iPhone app developers left whose apps don’t confirm to Apple’s requirements — no running in the background, no Internet phone calls over AT&T’s (T) 3G network, no copyright violations, etc. — and will still want an outlet for their work.
So does Mac/iPhone developer Craig Hockenberry, who seems to have caught some of the discussion on our site or on John Gruber’s Daring Fireball. Specifically, Hockenberry thinks they’ll take their projects to Google’s Android OS. He Twitters: “The market for jailbreak apps is ONLY in countries where there is no App Store. Hackers and non-mainstream apps will move over to Android…”
We think he could be right Why Android? Like Apple’s OS X for the iPhone, it’s a powerful mobile operating system designed for high-quality phones. But unlike Apple’s phone, it’s totally open — developers can write whatever applications they want that do whatever they want, and install them on as many Android phones as they want without Google’s blessing. We think this will be especially big with coders who write game system emulators, code interpreters (like Web browsers, an open-source Flash reader, etc.), background apps, and media players, which Apple might not allow onto the iPhone because they compete with iTunes.
If this happens, it’s great news for Google, which needs as much buzz it can get from early adopter-types about Android’s “install whatever the heck you want” feature. Especially this winter, when Android phone makers will be vying for the same gift buyers eyeing Apple’s 3G iPhones.
What do you think? Is the Android defection likely? Or will iPhone coders, many of whom are Mac — not mobile, — coders, jump to the official iPhone platform and just ditch their jailbreak projects? Let us know in comments below.
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