Microsoft Upgrades Windows Marketplace for Mobile App Store

Microsoft's Windows Mobile blog has announced shopping, anti-piracy and developer-friendly upgrades to the Windows Marketplace for Mobile app store. The store will be open to Windows Mobile 6.0 and 6.1 customers later in November.

Microsoft has upgraded its Windows Marketplace for Mobile application store, which launched on Oct. 6 with the software-maker's Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system.

The upgrades, Todd Brix wrote on the Windows Mobile blog, deal with better anti-privacy protection, an improved developer portal for Microsoft's registered independent software vendors, and PC-based shopping and account management for Windows phone customers.

"We've been gathering input on what we can do to improve the developer experience and have made some subtle but important enhancements to the developer portal to enable easier uploading of images, greater insight into account status and several other refinements based on feedback from developers," Brix wrote in the Nov. 11 posting.

As for the anti-piracy enhancements, Brix said they'll be transparent to customers, and that developers can learn more by downloading a free whitepaper, available on the blog.

The shopping enhancements began as of Nov. 11. Customers can now browse, buy and download applications online at the Windows Marketplace for Mobile site, and the purchases will be wirelessly delivered to the customer's Windows phone. They'll be installed the next time the phone's Windows Marketplace client is installed.

Hewlett-Packard, HTC, LG Electronics, Samsung and Toshiba all committed to releasing smartphones running Windows Mobile 6.5.

The HTC HD2, which pairs the OS with a 4.3-inch touchscreen and Qualcomm's 1GHz Snapdragon mobile processor, is currently in Taiwan and Europe but will arrive in the United States in early 2010.

Samsung committed to pairing its Omnia Pro B7330 with Windows Mobile 6.5, as well as upgrading several other Omnia devices to the OS.

"Marketplace has been extremely active and I couldn't be happier with the reactions from both developers and customers," wrote Brix. "We've been open for just over one month and already we can see that there's demand for an application marketplace that doesn't compromise on quality or experience.

The app store, Brix reports, will be open to Windows Mobile 6.0 and 6.1 customers later in November.

A Nov. 12 Gartner report on global mobile phone shipments in the third quarter of 2009 stated that Windows Mobile 6.5's arrival in October was too late to have an impact on the market, and consequently "sales of Windows-based smartphones saw another decline."