The OpenAppMkt Is Here To Break Down Apple's Walled Garden


OpenAppMkt is a just-launched, open alternative to Apple’s “curated” App Store, gathering the best web-apps into one place.

One constant criticism of Apple is the fact that its App Store is too rigid and capricious, keeping out too many apps. Steve Jobs dismissed this critique at the iPhone 4 unveiling, saying Apple approves 95% of the apps it sees within 7 days. To further suppress criticism, he also noted Apple supports HTML5, “a fully open, uncontrolled platform.”

OpenAppMkt is trying to corral all the HTML5 apps into one place with a clean interface that resembles the App Store. CEO Teck Chia tells us he wants to create an open alternative for developers to submit apps, and hopefully make some money. (For paid apps, OpenAppMkt keeps 20% of sales, versus the 30% Apple takes.)

It’s hard to monetise and distribute web applications, so developers tend to use the Android Market or the App Store, even though Chia says, “a lot of developers use HTML and java script to make apps, then compile it into other code.”

He wants to provide an opportunity for developers to make one web-based app and have it work on both Android and the iPhone. OpenAppMkt is only available on the iPhone now. Android support is coming soon.

Obviously, it’s going to be hard to get the average user to use the OpenAppMkt. The App Store is already baked into the phone. And the Android Market is a big distribution point for Apps on Android, though it has web-alternatives of its own.

While Apple might talk a big game when it comes to supporting HTML5, we doubt OpenAppMkt will be featured on any time soon. So, OpenAppMkt will probably remain a very tiny player in the app world. But, it’s a good idea, and we think the execution is pretty good from our limited use.

If developers are sick of dealing with Apple, and they want an alternative, OpenAppMkt looks pretty good.

When you go to OpenAppMkt, it immediately tells you to save the site to the home page of your iPhone.

You can see it saved.

And here's what the store looks like.

Search by category just like in the App Store.

There's a pretty slim paid app section.

OpenAppMkt says it got another paid app submitted, but until it fills up, it's going to be tough to get users on board.

If you find an app you like, the process is similar to the App Store. Chia says he wanted users to be comfortable.

Install it, and it launches into Safari.

In Safari, you can add the web-app to your home screen.

You name the app...

...and boom, there it is!

This is actually a pretty cool app. You can sketch in it.

Voila! All web-based. Uncurated by Apple, and pretty impressive.

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