BitTorrent? There’s an app for that

App Stores Everyone it seems, is getting into the apps business. BitTorrent, Inc., the keeper of the BitTorrent protocol and aspiring legit-content distribution service, on Thursday announced the rollout of a new apps platform as part of the latest version of the BitTorrent Mainline client. It’s also releasing a new SDK and API for third-party developers.

The platform, SKD and API are all open-source and free, and developers will be able to access “all the functionality of the client and offer a simple and more integrated way for consumers to find and download different types of content as well as integrate with external services that add new functionality,” according to the press release. Take that, Apple. Apps are written in JavaScript and run inside the BitTorrent client.

The BitTorrent Mainline client is distributed by BitTorrent, Inc., and has about 14 million users. That makes it the third most widely used BitTorrent client on the web, according to TorrentFreak, behind uTorrent and Vuze. All told, BitTorrent, Inc., estimates there are over 170 million clients installed worldwide. At some point, the new platform will likely be migrated to other clients.

Although the BitTorrent protocol is widely used to distribute unlicensed copyrighted material BitTorrent Inc., has sought to leverage the protocol’s reach and efficiency, particularly for very large data files, for distributing legitimate content. It licenses BitTorrent DNA, a bit of software that allows content owners to take advantage of those 170 million nodes to distribute content with big first-day releases, like new video games or software updates, more cheaply and efficiently than they could by sending out hundreds of thousands of individual downloads. Presumably, it could do the same for app-based content distribution.

The BitTorrent app store will launch with 11 apps, all free, including Virus Guard, TorrentTweet, anduMap.

Can’t wait for the first BitTorrent develop conference, though. That should be a trip.