Windows Marketplace for Mobile is late to the party, but pretty well dressed

Windows Marketplace for Mobile is late to the party, but pretty well dressed

Summary: It has been pretty sad over the past year to see every mobile operating system coming out with mobile software stores while the company with one of the oldest mobile operating systems couldn't deliver. Microsoft had the opportunity to be the first with such a store years ago and missed the opportunity. Today we finally see the store available on new Windows Mobile 6.5 devices and they continue to blow it by not officially providing the Windows Marketplace for Mobile for every WM 6.0 and 6.1 owner as a simple CAB download.

SHARE:

It has been pretty sad over the past year to see every mobile operating system coming out with mobile software stores while the company with one of the oldest mobile operating systems couldn't deliver. Microsoft had the opportunity to be the first with such a store years ago and missed the opportunity. Today we finally see the store available on new Windows Mobile 6.5 devices and they continue to blow it by not officially providing the Windows Marketplace for Mobile for every WM 6.0 and 6.1 owner as a simple CAB download (thanks to the enthusiast community for this). There are millions of owners of WM 6.0 and 6.1 devices who Microsoft needs to embrace and provide access to the store to try to keep developers creating software for their again platform. The store is decent and Microsoft has some good terms and conditions, including a 24 hour one-time per month per application refund policy.

When you launch the Marketplace application you will be asked to sign into your Windows Live account and then will see the main storefront. The last time I went into the Marketplace I saw just over 200 apps available with approximately 40% of them being games. I am a believer in paying developers a fair price for their applications since I think the Apple App Store brought the prices down too far. However, I am still seeing a bit too high of a cost for applications in Windows Mobile and am not sure $20 apps will sell as well as they did years ago when I used to spend that on just about every application. I did see some prices come down over a few hours of watching the store though so maybe there will be some pricing adjustments as things are figured out.

When you launch the Marketplace you will find a search bar up towards the top with the top 4 showcase app icons below this search bar. You will then find categories for showcase, most popular, what's new, categories, and my applications. I tried the Marketplace across three different Windows Mobile devices and it was nice to see my applications consistently appear with my login and not specific to my device.

After selecting one of these options you can tap the upper right to filter by paid, free, newest, or all. Unfortunately, there is no way to filter from low to high or high to low price, by name, by rating, or by developer. Apps appear to be in the list randomly, although in a couple cases you can select most popular. Microsoft needs to improve the capability for people to filter and sort apps the way they want to on their phones.

I was quite pleased with the detailed descriptions, features, requirements, and size of the apps. It was also great to see reviews and screenshots of the applications so you had a good way to evaluate whether or not you want to make a purchase.

Priced apps are charged to a credit card you have on file with your Windows Live account. If you have questions about the Marketplace for Mobile I recommend visiting the Help page for more details.

The Marketplace for Mobile is a good start and is welcome to finally see on Windows Mobile. Microsoft needs to officially make the download available for all compatible devices soon and tweak it a bit. I wish we would have seen this a couple of years ago and know that Microsoft could have done it back then.

Topics: Mobility, Microsoft, Mobile OS, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

5 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Very few consumers seem to care

    WinMo share is constantly shrinking and with good reasons, it
    probably has the worst user experience out there.

    I'd pay more attention to Symbian, Android and iPhone (Mac OS X)
    instead. I think we have good reasons to believe these platforms will
    be the main three the coming years while the smartphone will take
    more and more of the traditional (and old) PC's share.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smartphone

    The main three currently are Symbian, Blackberry and iPhone.
    Android still has a small share but I expect them to grow on actual
    merit, at the expense of Blackberry and WinMo.

    Bye bye Microsoft? :-)
    Mikael_z
    • Microsoft still has a tacticle advantage

      While the iPhone has garnered the most attention, and Blackberry has a strong heritage, and Android has piqued our interest, Microsoft owns the Enterprise. Consolidated management of devices is going to be the "next big thing" in the IT industry. I'm not saying Apple couldn't come out with some management tools, I'm just saying that this is Microsoft's focus right now. This is their ace up their sleeve.
      fastboxster
      • Perhaps...

        But consolidated management will probably not come with the expense
        of consolidated platform.

        Too many users out there are demanding that their IT depts. figure out
        how to get their Blackberry's and iPhones to work in enterprise. Savvy
        developers cannot be far behind.

        pairof9s
      • MS has had the tacticle advantage for years

        And MS never did anything with it; what makes you think that they will do things differently now? MS's big problem is that the management tends to surround themselves with people that tell them what they want to hear and so no one ever shakes it up in Redmond. They need to do a little corporate raiding get some of the Palm Pre and iPhone people on board, once they have done that they should be separated from existing management's direction and told to 'think differently'.
        balsover
  • Is it just me or does this look like a Handango clone?

    The photos of the Windows market place look just like the Handango application for selling application on Windows Mobile; if so then what is the point? I was expecting something on par with the iTunes store and we got a tinkertoy and it doesn't even run on Windows Mobile 6.1.

    From the MS website:
    > Available exclusively on Windows
    > phones powered by Windows Mobile 6.5.

    Does MS think that I will upgrade just for this joke of an application? Wrong answer. MS is trying really really hard to get the remaining WM users to purchase an iPhone.

    Microsoft: when you let the Windows Mobile development team go be sure to also let their marketing team go; maybe you will get lucky and they will all go to Google.

    balsover