In this article I will cover a “next-step” in the Windows Marketplace for Mobile development. This morning I read an excellent article of Leigh Geary, Windows Mobile MVP and Editor in Chief of CoolSmartphone.com, where he outlined that Windows Markeplace for Mobile would become accessible from your browser as well.
Windows Marketplace for Mobile was currently -until today- only accessible from your Windows Mobile 6.5 powered smartphone. However you now can simply direct the browser on your pc to the following webaddress: http://marketplace.windowsphone.com/
1. Details Windows Marketplace for Mobile on PC
The screenshot above shows an overview of the Windows Marketplace for Mobile homepage. On the right you can see a list with categories to make finding the right application easier. Furthermore you can see three large blocks: SHOWCASE, MOST POPULAR and WHAT’S NEW, in which applications are featured.
In the top right corner of the screen you might notice the possibility to select the according operating system Windows Mobile Professional and Windows Mobile Standard. In fact these are a kind of filters, resulting in an overview of applications that are only 100% compatible with the platform you are running.
On the bottom of the screen there is another remarkable detail “select catalog“. This is nothing more than a quick menu in which you can easily browse through the Windows Marketplace for Mobile in its localized version. In my case I could visit Windows Marketplace for Mobile Netherlands – Dutch.
Not only the applications in the localized version of the Windows Marketplace for Mobile might differ, since some developers might choose a local market in line with their business model, but also the product descriptions are in the localized language as well. However most important is that you can have a look at other catalogs as well.
2. Sign-in on Windows Marketplace for Mobile on PC
In the screenshot above you can see a screenshot of the Windows Marketplace for Mobile Netherlands, and my appologies for the on screen language which is in Dutch. I installed Windows Marketplace for Mobile on my HTC Snap, and you can directly notice in the screenshot that only the Windows Mobile Standard applications after I have signed in. So there is no catalog selector anymore and no option to switch between Windows Mobile Professional and Windows Mobile Standard anymore.
The next link in the top navigation bar is called “Purchase History“, and by clicking on this link it shows me an overview of the applications I have purchased / installed via Windows Marketplace for Mobile on the HTC Snap. It includes all the neccessary details like you can see in the screenshot above.
Right to the the Purchase History link you see the Account Settings option, in which you can edit the account settings. However the first step is that you need to agree with the license agreement and click next. After that you see the Windows Marketplace for Mobile account overview and you can add a creditcard to the Windows Marketplace for Mobile account. The payment mechanism has been covered in the article: “Windows Marketplace for Mobile – Payments and Operators” and shows similarities with the X-Box and Zune purchase mechanisms.
Futhermore you can see the community-link in the screenshots, which redirects you to the Microsoft Social Forums. Don’t hesitate to dropp a question about your Windows Phone there, since there are knowledgable and experienced people who are more than willing to help you.
Finally as you can see in the screenshot above, a help section or frequently asked questions sections is included as well. This could help you solving some basic questions with Windows Marketplace for Mobile.
Concluding thoughts and wrap-up
The outline in this article clearly shows that Microsoft is working hard to get Windows Marketplace for Mobile to the next phase. And hopefully we will see “Windows Marketplace for Mobile coming to Windows Mobile 6.1 and 6.0” soon.
My first impressions with the Windows Marketplace for Mobile being available on the PC are quite ok. The main advantage is that you can view the application-overview on a larger screen, while I’m really happy to browse through other catalogues as well.
I hope we can see this catalogue selector also on the device side as well, making it easy to switch between marketplaces if you speak multiple languages or would like to install a specific application.
Furthermore I’m confident that the people at Microsoft have thought about the scenario where you have multiple devices with Windows Marketplace for Mobile installed on them. I hope the management and installation to a specific device from the PC will hopefully work well in that scenario.
Overall I’m happy to see improvements in the Windows Marketplace for Mobile development, direct by the Microsoft three-screen-strategy.