Cydia For Android

Hi, after many years of using iOS I am making a move over to Android, due to the fact that Apple won't release a phone with a bigger screen.

I have always jail broken my iOS devices and I was wondering if there is a similar method for Android OR is Android completely open.
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You can install apps onto an Android phones that do not come from the Google Play store by enabling "apps from unknown sources" - e.g. a .APK file.

You can get APK files from anywhere - there are many available for download on the Internet. You load them onto your phone's SD card, or download it to your phone just like any other file, and then you can launch the APK file using whatever File Manager app comes with your phone.

You can, in general, do this on any stock, OEM android phone.

The Google Play store is just a pretty front-end to access Google-approved APK files. Installing an app from the Google Play store is just downloading and executing the .APK file.

However, APK files from outside of the Play store are not approved by Google and they haven't been vetted by the Google Play store community. They pose a much greater risk of being malicious so you do this at your own risk.  

By default, android phones are configured to not allow apps to be installed directly from a .APK file. You have to go into the settings and enable the feature.

Apps - even those which were installed from external APK files - generally do not have access to the low level system partitions of the phone, meaning they can't make low level changes to the operating system itself. This helps improve the security of the phone and prevents Apps from causing irrevocable damage to your phone, even external apps installed from APK files.

But Apps can still be malicious - they can damage or steal your data, record keystrokes etc.

Also, Android phones can be "rooted" - modified so that a regular app can request superuser permissions, and then access and edit the system partition of the ROM. Once you "root" a phone, and authorize an app to have root access, that app has full power over the phone and all of the safety features go out the window.

Custom ROMs like Cyanogenmod are already "rooted" and usually have more features and functionality opened up already for the user to play with (Often these features were always part of the phone, but locked down in the stock ROM by the manufacturer). Most phones support custom ROMs to some extent, but generally the more expensive phones that are directly supported by Cyanogenmod work the best.
oo7mlAuthor Commented:
Ok great thanks, i think i am just trying to find reasons not to go Android :-)

However I think iOS7 is gone very Androidish now...

Is it true that you cannot reorganise the app order on each page
I don't think I understand what you mean... but on an Android home screen, you can touch, hold and drag app icons around wherever you want. You can also place widgets on the homescreen. So... no, that is not true?

Inside the App Drawer, where all apps are listed, they are listed alphabetically, or sometimes with system apps first, and third-party apps second. The behavior of the App Drawer and Homescreen depends on what Launcher App that you are using on your Android, and there are many to choose from - Trebuchet, Nova, Go Launcher etc., and most OEMs put their own customized launcher onto the device.

So, basically, it varies. It depends on the Android device you are using and the software you have installed on it.

Android is extremely customizable, which is great if you like to tinker... but don't underestimate just how difficult it is create a truly simple, seamless user interface that is pleasant to use. Apple does an extremely good job at their UI. Android follows a consistent theme, but the exact interface varies a lot from one device to the next. Some people find the learning curve steeper, and some people are frustrated initially by the subtle variations in the UI from one app to another.  In one app you're swiping, in another you're clicking a context menu button, in a third you are touch-and-holding. In one app, the menu buttons are on the top, in another they're on the bottom, in another they're on the side.

I'd say, Android is a good fit if you consider yourself to be a computer power user, user interfaces don't scare you, and you like to tinker.

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