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A few days ago I saw the news that the well known website FreewarePocketPC.net, which has a massive database of freeware applications for Windows Phone, launched OpnMarket 1.0 !!

In simple words OpnMarket is a Windows Marketplace for Mobile alternative, 100% aimed at freeware applications and a natural extension of the FreewarePocketPC.net website. On the OpnMarket section of the FreewarePocketPC website you can read the following product description:

“OpnMarket is compatible with most of the Windows Mobile Professional devices with touch-screens, once installed it lets you browse, download and install FREE applications directly on your device. OpnMarket will use you mobile network connection or a WiFi connection to download softwares to your phone. It’s simple, instant and FREE !”

     

Installation and registration of OpnMarket 1.0

Download the OpnMarket cab-installer from the FreewarePocketPC website via the download button or by scanning the Microsoft Tag with your Windows Phone. You run the cab-installer and let OpnMarket install on your device.

When you open the OpnMarket application via the Windows Mobile Start Menu, a screen is shown where you need to login with FreewarePocketPC account credentials. If you don’t have a FreewarePocketPC account like me you simply hit the “register” button, which is shown in the right screenshot above.

    

In the registration screen, which you can see in the left screenhot above, you need to fill in three fields:  (1) E-mail, (2) Password, and (3) Full Name. After you have completed this, you hit the register button, and a pop-up will be shown “Thank you for registering”. Furthermore you are automatically logged in! My compliments for the excellent userexperience of on-device account registration, that worked simple and flawless.

 

    

Application overview OpnMarket 1.0

The left screenshot above shows you the main screen of OpnMarket, when you are logged in with your account. In the top of the screen you see a row of three green tabs: (1) “What’s new”, (2) “Most Popular” and (3) “Featured”. By default the what’s new tab is selected.

The major middle part of the screen is taken by a list of freeware applications. On the left of each application entry you can see a graphic, and on the right of the application title you can see a rating system based on a certain number of stars.

In the bottom of the screen you see a toolbar with four buttons: (1) “Showcase”, (2) “Categories”, (3) “Search”, and (4) “My Apps“. As you can see in hte left screenshot above by default the showcase button is active.

The right screenshot above shows you the categories screen, which makes it easier to filter applications based on a category. With the back-button you can go back to the showcase screen.

    

If you know the application name, you may even choose a more powerful option to find the application. “Search” is included in the third button, and as you can see in the left screenshot above you simply enter a search string and hit the go button. For example you enter the string “screen capture”.

The right screenshot above shows you the My Apps button, which is simply a list of installed applications on your device. In the screenshot this is Iliumsoft Screen Capture application.

 

    

Installing freeware on your Windows Phone via OpnMarket 1.0

You may notice in the screenshots above that the “Featured” and “What’s New” lists with applications are almost identical. This is probably caused by the fact that such a short time after the initial launch there are not many rankings done, while the installed userbase is also pretty limited.

However I hit the “Search” button on the bottom, enter the search string “screen capture”, give it a go and switch back to the green “Most Popular” tab in the top toolbar. As you can see in the right screenshot above the Illiumsoft Screen Capture application is among the first applications. So I decide to install Iliumsoft Screen Capture, by tapping on the Screen Capture list entry.

    

A new overview screen of Iliumsoft Screen Capture 1.00  is opened, which is shown to you in the right screenshot.At first you have the application title, andthe green back button in the top left corner.  Just below there is a block with an application graphic (left), the number of downloads and rating (right) and a green “Download” button in the middle.

The main part is used for a description of the Iliumsof Screen Capture application, with on the bottom part two green buttons: (1) Reviews, and (2) Write a review. This layout is again very similar to the Windows Marketplace for Mobile, so I continue and tap on the green download button.

Just above the download button, you will see a progress bar that shows you the status of the download. When the download is completed the download button is “changed” into an install button, which is shown in the left screenshot above. You might argue that this is an additional step in the installation process, but it gives you some more control.  However I’m sure I want to install Iliumsoft Screen Capture, and simply hit the install button.

    

That major difference between OpnMarket and Windows Marketplace for Mobile is that you can choose the location of installation in case of OpnMarket. In other words I can choose, which is very familiar when you run a cab-installer, to install the application in the main memory or on the storage card. Unfortunately Windows Marketplace for Mobile doesn’t support installation on the Storage Card, which could result in a clogged main memory.

When Iliumsof Screen Capture is installed, you see can see that the install button is changed into an uninstall button.  Furthermore you can see that Iliumsoft Screen Capture is added to the My Apps tab. I can now enjoy using Iliumsoft Screen Capture. 🙂

 

    

Concluding thoughts about OpnMarket

On the OpenMarket scetion of the FreewarePocketPC website we can read the following subtitle for the OpnMarket application:

“Instant free downloads for your Windows Mobile phone, enjoy installing applications directly on your device !”

OpnMarket simply does in practice what it tells, and from a strategic perspective it is a great move from FreewarePocketPC.net. It is  a well known website for freeware applications, and with OpnMarket you are not limited to a webbrowser (despite there is a mobile version available).

OpnMarket is a natural extension of the FreewarePocketPC.net database, which is very easy to install and use! Remark the fact that I didn’t have an account before, and did the registration on my Windows Phone. I tested OpnMarket over a Wi-Fi connection on the HTC HD2 and it work very fast and snappy.

 

Short comparison Windows Marketplace for Mobile and OpnMarket

I would like to start this concluding section with asking you to compare the two screenshots of Windows Marketplace for Mobile and OpnMarket above, and find the differences (if applicable).

All main building blocks are available in Windows Marketplace for Mobile and in OpnMarket, only the user-interface and the arrangement of the building blocks is diferent. OpnMarket has opted for two fixed tool bars with buttons, while in Windows Marketplace for Mobile you need to use the back command via the left softkey to go back to the Marketplace homescreen and choose a different link from there. 

Furthermore both OpnMarket and Windows Marketplace for Mobile are accessible from the PC. FreewarePocketPc started at this browser-side, while Microsoft rolled-out Windows Marketplace for Mobile first and brought it to your webbrowser.  However there are in my opinion two major differences:

  1. OpnMarket is 100% aimed at freeware, while Windows Marketplace for Mobile mainly offers non-freeware. As a result Microsoft has put payment and billing mechanisms in place to support on-device purchasing !
  2. OpnMarket is only available for Windows Mobile Professional (touch) devices, and therefore doesn’t support Windows Mobile Standard (non-touch) devices. Windows Marketplace for Mobile is offered in a Windows Mobile Standard version, and guarantees that the applications shown in the list are fully compatible with non-touch devices.

 

OpnMarket is a great application, which helps you to easily browse for and install new freeware applications from FreewarePocketPC.net !

 
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