Exploring Windows Phone 7.5’s Web Marketplace. And a surprise new feature!

Exploring Windows Phone 7.5’s Web Marketplace. And a surprise new feature!

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The big day is finally here! As Eric noted this morning, we’re officially rolling out Windows Phone 7.5 (which many of you know better as Mango) worldwide through our mobile operator partners. While many of 7.5’s killer new features like Bing Vision, Threads, Groups and the new IE9 have been on display for a while, there are a few secrets we’ve kept under wraps. Today I’ll walk you through them.

First up is Internet Sharing, which you might know better as “tethering”. Starting today our hardware partners and mobile operators have the option to let you use your phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot so you can stay connected anywhere there’s a data connection. If this feature is enabled on your phone and by your carrier, you’ll see an additional “Internet Sharing” item under Settings. It’s pretty cool stuff and a feature that I’m really looking forward to using – I spend a LOT of time on the road and I hate it when I’m not connected, so this is a great option for me. And since Internet sharing lets you connect up to 5 devices at a time, I’ll be able to keep all of the PCs I travel with online when I’m on the go. I should note that this feature will only be available on new Windows Phones that have radios capable of broadcasting a connection; if you update your existing phone to 7.5, it won’t give it the ability to use Internet Sharing. (Although it would be cool if it did, right?)

The second new feature is our the brand new Web Marketplace, which will serve as your online resource to discover, try and buy new apps and games (and share them with your friends via Facebook & Twitter), and get them automatically delivered to your phone without any complicated multi-step installs. The Web Marketplace is too awesome to accurately describe in screenshots and text, so I shot a video of what the Web Marketplace looks like, how it works, and how you can take advantage of it. Check it out:

Amazing, right? I’m blown away by the fact that my Windows Phone receives and installs apps silently in the background. It makes getting apps – both new ones, and ones that I need to re-install, a breeze.

I should also note that along with the Web Marketplace, today you can also start using the new “My Windows Phone” section of WindowsPhone.com, which lets you easily find, lock and even erase your phone if it gets lost and gives you lighting fast access to apps, photos and docs.

So now that you know how to work the Web Marketplace, what’s the first app you’re going to download?

Have a Windows Phone or Windows PC question? Find me on Twitter, like me on Facebook, or Ask Ben Anything over email.

29 Comments
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  • AnZ
    12 Posts

    as per the video Ben gets two choices when he clicks install on web market place. send an email link or download immediately. I do not get the download immediately choice.

    I'm using Windows Phone 7.5 on HD7 Open market Phone and I'm not sure as to why i do not get this option, reply and comments are much appreciated.

  • im glad to see windows market place now availbale in india...

    Thanks MS

  • I can't use the market place. I have a Swiss credit card and a UK LiveID. It seems I can't use a Swiss credit card with a UK live ID. I either have to create a new persona for myself and become what MS thinks is Swiss - German speaking - or not use my credit card. Can you imagine how frustreated I am? All those lovely apps and I can't buy them.

  • arrow22
    50 Posts

    Question for Ben: I bought a T-Mobile HD7 second hand to use on Wind Mobile in Canada, on a plan that fully supports tethering. Assuming HTC updates their drivers to allow tethering, am I still bound by T-Mobile's restrictions? Is there a way to "unbrand" the phone?

  • Brandon
    20 Posts

    Update: Looks like the wording on the site was simply a bit vague for me. Once i clicked "purchase" and the screen said "this app will be sent to your phone immediately" - i was waiting. However it appears that i've purchased this app before, and this app would be sent immediately *once I clicked 'Reinstall'* - not right there from that screen.

    I'd advise revamping this, MS - otherwise once I clicked Reinstall, it did indeed instantly start pushing it to my phone. Very nice!

  • Brandon
    20 Posts

    Yeah not sure about anybody else, but the "instant" and "immediate" descriptors for this feature are grossly inaccurate. I was going to be greatly surprised if they improved this w/o a Zune update, as purchasing apps thru Zune is equally confusing and nebulous.

    I just went to the marketplace, picked the All Recipes app mentioned here, and have been waiting now for about 3 minutes w/ no push to my phone...

    Looks like purchasing directly ON your phone is still the best/easiest/quickest way to go. :(

  • Mantvydas
    15 Posts

    And there's no simple old fashioned Tethering over the BlueTooth? C'mon!

  • Nater
    147 Posts

    It's cause HSPA+/LTE has to do with SoC support.  If they support the SoCs that support LTE, than the phones will likely support LTE.

  • tsrblke
    327 Posts

    @smallmountain

    Dunno about LTE phones, but 4G HSPA+ phones are coming from AT&T (I haven't looked at phones not on my carrier, but I think the next gen WP7 phones are all 4G, so in theory at least a few of them would be LTE).  So 4G is definately supported in some form, dunno why they'd do HSPA+ and not LTE.

    The old hardware however (i.e. Current Gen phones) can't be made 4G because they weren't equipped with 4G hardware to begin with.

    I know jack about WiMax.

  • Nater
    147 Posts

    I factory Reset the phone and fixed most of that, but I haven't had to Factory Reset a phone after an update in over a year.  Seriously, it's just not cool having to literally write down all the apps you have installed on your phone and then go back and install them 1 by 1 as the marketplace app is "throwing you out" to the App list.

    I am very suprised as the sheer....  lack.... of apps that have been updated to Mango.  Also, there are HTC Apps like Sound Enhancer that I had installed on NoDo that are "Unavailable" for my phone after updating to Mango.  So, I update to Mango and get worst sound out of my "ZuneHD" than before?  HTC DLNA application is "Unavailable,' as well.

    Really, I think this update was awesome.  I think a small "brush up the details" update is in order, however...

    One that doesn't break people's Email, Live Tiles, Push Notifications, Market Updates, etc.

  • KR
    503 Posts

    Just updated my Carrier unlocked Samsung focus brought from rogers to Mango.total update time 20mins

    After playing with my phone so far ' not impressed at all if not even annoyed by some things such as the always present url bar in he browser

  • Is it true that even with Mango, WP7 does not support WiMAX and LTE 4G networks?

  • @Nater, son I lov u, ur words r just too intersting for me to continue my reading w/o laughters:D

    Yup, nearly every problem u encountered was the common one. But for me I got them all fixed. I could only say, u r the least lucky one:)

    And as support, I agree all ur sayin, Microsoft should use less time, giv us a better update instead of the sluggish n buggy one.

    BTW guys, there even a significent icon bug here: Set the bright theme with a light color wallpaper, then turn on batter savor, lock the screen, luk at the "heart" icon on the top of the notification bar, hav ya guys found a stuid bug:)))

  • Sheeds
    205 Posts

    Great Update (Mango) MS - massive improvements and just WELL DONE all round.

    My congratulations here:  www.wpdownunder.com  :D

    On the Web Marketplace, love the new "My phone" hub, and I appreciate the fact that you now get specific information that an App is region restricted - and MS even offers to check to see if a version is available in your region.  NICE!

    Can I ask a favour.  Can you please see if the Web Marketplace team can add an EXPORT list of your purchased/installed/trial Apps into a CSV file to play around with, record, add comments or web publish more easilly in Blogs and App lists etc...

    TY MS :D  One very satisfied Mango customer!

  • Nater
    147 Posts

    Installed it.  Issues.

    1.  Facebook.  "Attention required" ad infinitum.  Can't get into the settings, can't even delete and reconnect from the phone.  Did it from Live.com and the phone still shows "Attention required" and when I click on it it tells me it's still trying to delete Facebook.  I've hit Sync and reboot my phone about 20 times.  Still the same thing.

    2.  Messaging Hub.  Apparently no way to Auto-Connect when your phone turns on.  You have to manually set your status and log in every single time you turn the phone on, and it takes like almost a full minute to connect over WiFi.  Facebook chat wouldn't even work for like an hour after the update finished.  It finally started working, however, see #1.

    3.  App Updates.  Seeming handled in the most retarded fashion possible.  Can't Update Slacker Radio, because the NoDo version was called Slacker and the Mango Version is called "Slacker Radio."  So when you installed it, you end up with a Duplicate Application on your phone.  Moving on, Marketplace apparently isn't even checking for application updates.  The only one I got was HTC Flashlight.  Nothing else.  I have like 30+ apps on my phone and it's impossible that none of them but a Flashlight App (well, and Slacker.... Radio) was updated for Mango.

    4.  Skydrive.  Lol, I can't believe the usability failing's here.  Really, it's so damn elementary that it's almost as if no one even looked at this before they put this update out.

    For one, you can't even delete files in SkyDrive.  That's not only stupid, it's illogical.  What if you put a private file in the wrong directory (more on that in a bit) by mistake, and need to get it out of there.  All you can do is view properties.  You can't move files, either.

    Secondly (the more part), everything is sorted Alphabetically, is the most retarded fashion.  Folders should always be at the top, on top of files.  Who came up with the idea of sorting everything alphabetically with folders and files being all mixed-together.  It's stupid.

    Thirdly, when you go into a directory, and press the back button you go not to the ROOT folder, but to the Office Hub.  If you can't see the issues with that, then you're beyond help and no amount of criticism (constructive or otherwise) that I give in this post means anything...

    ^-  Good Example of where Beta'ing with Devs willing to invest cash into the platform leads to fanbois ignoring obvious usability failings because anything you hand them in A.O.K.

    5.  Internet Explorer:  Moving Tabs into the menu was dumb.  Point blank.  You shouldn't have to go into menu to get to Tabs in a tabbed browser.  That's for Android.

    6.  The Hardware/Capacitive Search Button is no longer context sensitive.  That was one of the best features of WP7.  Hitting search in Marketplace by instinct/reflex and being thrown into the Bing Search App...  What?!  You butchered the HW search button.  Butchered IE to give more space...  Then you gave us less space in like half the Hubs to compensate for the terrible search button change?

    Well, at least you let us change the default Browser search to Bing instead of Google...

    7.  Bing Maps, specifically turn by turn.  I'll never recommend WP7 to anyone who has kids that drive, for their kids, because the Turn-By-Tap Navigation is a huge safety hazard.  Idea should never have been allowed outside of the discussion room.  It was a reckless decision IMO, and completely irresponsible to let something out that could potentially be the cause of auto-accidents.

    My first impression.  Seems still somewhat unfinished, buggy, and even dangrous at times.  That being said, I'm a heavy smartphone user and I did come from Windows Mobile > Android to WP7.  People who care less about that stuff probably... won't care.  It's a decent updates.  I think the team just had a lack of attention to details.  When you offer similar functionality to other platforms, the details are what separate average from the good to the great.

    It still won't be my daily driver.  Hopefully Apple has a 3.8+ screen on the iP5, then I can switch carriers and finally get a phone I can just use and not have to camp blogs for updates and crap like that.  And yes, I know the trolls will get me for that comment.

    ----

    Addendum to that:  Nothing works on my phone.  PUSH Notifications, Live Tiles, Nothing.  I guess WP7 will be like Andorid where you pretty much expect to Factory Reset and Wipe your device after every major update to get it functioning correctly.

    Putting it in a drawer.  Maybe I'll deal with this tomorrow.

  • Vincent
    6 Posts

    Samsung Focus after update OS 7.10.7720.68

    FW 2103.11.8.1

    HW 3.1.0.7

    Radio 2103.11.8.1

    BL 5.8.0.2

    Chip SOC 0.36.2.0

    #Mango

  • KR
    503 Posts

    Where is the app for this blog??

  • Got the 7.5 update a little after noon CDT today. Since I have the Samsung Focus v1.3, it also included the 7392 update. All went extremely well with absolutely no issues. The entire update process took about 40 mins.

  • Can't wait to use tethering (but first need to get a new phone) - it will even make my iPod more useful again! Also, buy-bye hotel internet charges!

  • Any news on International rollout for services (e.g. Zune Pass in Canada, I'd even settle for music purchases)

  • As far as I followed comments by HTC, etc. the problem with Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) is on the software side. Microsoft added ICS pretty late in the development process and it was down to: not provide the update for old devices at first or push the Mango launch back.

    So simply put the OEMs did not have the resources to make this happen in time. As far as people on XDA have found out the OS has the capability even in Beta 2 and they even managed to get its menu enabled on devices (the system does a check if your carrier allows you to do tethering which they patched out) but then found that the current drivers simply don't support the needed mode of operation (infrastructure), which means that unless the OEMs update their drivers it won't work even if the carriers allow it.

  • @Nater I think they're mainly trying to save face for the wireless companies themselves. It's the wireless companies that have to enable the bandwidth necessary for wireless tethering, as far as I know. I don't think this is a Microsoft blunder at all.

    Unrelated: I am so excited for all of this!

  • Zartan
    22 Posts

    Can you give developers the ability to set a horizontal orientation for their app photos. It is really annoying when trying to look at pics of a game to have them all in vertical orientation. Also the ability to see a video of the app in use would be really nice. An update history would be cool as well so you could see how well the developer is supporting the app. The WP7applist website/app does this really well. Finally a numbered ranking of the top apps would be really cool so it's easy to see what apps are moving up or down in popularity.

  • w1ngnut
    25 Posts

    This  is a day of so many great news: Mango roll out, WebMarketPlace and Internet Sharing. Thanks guys!

  • Nater
    147 Posts

    Just did some weak research.  Yea...  There's no way this is true.  The HD2 and Nexus One could both tether Wirelessly with older hardware than these launch WP7 devices, as could other Android phones that used the same SoC.  Either they used some odd hardware configuration that I don't know about, or they're just bending over for the carriers in an attempt to upsell early adopters who already had to wait a whole year for this thing to be come as useful as the cheap mid-range android devices they passed over to give them a chance.  Way to slap those people in the face, Microsoft.

  • Nater
    147 Posts

    Pretty sure they're lying about WiFi Tethering.  The HD2 had worse hardware and shipped with this feature.  Also, Android phones with older hardware than Launch WP7 devices got it in the FroYo update.  Didn't the Nexus One get it with FroYo as well?

  • tsrblke
    327 Posts

    @Bruno Nunes

    Yeah, I'm not really concerned about the "Current" or "Future Phones" (Although I'd think that any Wifi transmitter should be able to pull this off).  I know AT&T is going to just stop this from happening. (I fear the same for visual voicemail.)

  • im using unlocked at&t ... ufortunately im gonna have to wait for someone to crack the internet sharing feature.

  • MSicc
    4 Posts

    I think that internet sharing is possible also with current handsets.

    I would love to see that on my HD7, which is still one of the best devices in market.

    I am really sad about that news.... :-(

    But I love the new Web Marketplace :-)