Microsoft details web store for Mango WP7 apps

A web-based store will be made available for Windows Phone 7 apps, which business will also be able to develop and distribute privately for the first time

Microsoft has detailed the web-based Windows Phone Marketplace that will launch with Mango, the forthcoming update to the company's smartphone platform.

Windows Phone marketplace

Microsoft has detailed the web-based Windows Phone Marketplace that will launch with Mango. Photo credit: Microsoft

The web-based app store was mentioned tangentially to Tuesday's plethora of Mango feature announcements, in a blog post by Microsoft general manager Matt Bencke.

On Wednesday, Windows Phone Marketplace senior director Todd Brix expanded on the service's unveiling in a separate blog post. He explained customers will be able to "browse the full catalogue, view screenshots, read application details and reviews, and choose from all of the supported languages for that app".

"With the web version of Marketplace, we will also have more placement areas in which to provide featured apps with extra visibility and merchandising possibilities," Brix wrote, addressing Windows Phone 7 developers.

"In addition to easy shopping, Web Marketplace will... enable customers (and you) to promote your apps among friends, family, partners and social networks. Customers will be able to share their favourite apps by embedding a link in emails or articles or make a recommendation through Facebook or Twitter," he said.

The web version of Marketplace is not the only app distribution-related enhancement scheduled to come with Mango. The update to Windows Phone 7 will also make it possible for developers to distribute apps in beta form to an access-controlled set of testers (.PPTX).

Private Distribution Service

Crucially for enterprise users, a Private Distribution Service is also to be introduced for Mango apps. This will make it possible for businesses to offer customised, easily updated apps to internal users, without those apps being available to the general public.

However, an app created for the Private Distribution Service will lack access enforcement and will still have to be certified by Microsoft. In addition, it will still be distributed through the app store: businesses will send an email to their target users that includes a link to the app in the Marketplace. No one will be able to find the app by searching the store.

Rival smartphone platforms, including Android and iOS, already have web-based interfaces for finding and downloading apps. They also allow private distribution of apps, but without having to go through the standard platform app store.

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