Redmond-based software giant Microsoft announced on Tuesday the inclusion of a series of improvements to the Windows Marketplace for Mobile, the software solutions portal where Windows Phone users can download applications for their handsets. The app store, as most of you might already know, can be accessed by all owners of a device running under Windows Mobile 6.0, 6.1 and 6.5 and, now, by those powered by the new Windows Mobile 6.5.3 too. The changes Microsoft made to the Marketplace involve both the experience that users receive from the portal, as well as the one delivered to developers submitting software to the storefront.
In the end-user side, one of the most important change is the fact that one can now download applications and install them directly on the memory card in the handset. This is meant to address an issue related to the small amount of memory some of the today's mobile phones come with. At the same time, there are new applications and services available for users, including a Personal Assistant meant to enable users make order in their files, or a series of games like Tony Hawk Vert and Prince of Persia HD. And you know already that applications can be purchased either via the Marketplace mobile app on the phone or via Marketplace Web site.
Other changes in the Marketplace, as explained by a new post on the Windows Mobile developer blog, include:
- World View: A new World View feature will allow Marketplace users to browse and purchase applications from a different geographical catalog. For example, a customer here in Barcelona could choose to browse the English US catalog, or a customer in Canada could browse the catalog from Japan.
- Better application discovery. As the selection of apps grows, we want to make sure customers can find the application they’re looking for and introduce new simple ways to discover apps they might be interested in. First we’ve added a smart search function that enables users to search for apps or games that include any of the terms included to describe the apps, so customers get more relevant search results on the phone or the web. Second, we’ve added an additional viewing option we call the Themed Showcase that organizes applications by genre, interest, seasonality, theme or even an ISV specific view for those ISVs with a lot of applications or games
Although the company announced two days ago its new mobile client, Windows Phone OS 7.0, as well as the upcoming Windows Phone 7 Series handsets, it seems that it is maintaining a focus on enhancing the experience of existing users. There are more than 1245 applications already available for download and purchase via the Windows Marketplace for Mobile, quite a lot when compared to the number of software solutions that were available for purchase when the software portal was launched back in October 2009. However, the number fades out when put side by side with statistics from rival app stores, yet Microsoft is working on increasing it, which means only good news for users.