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Yesterday at events all around the world, Microsoft unveiled the key features of the next version of Windows Phone, code named Mango. The demonstrations focused on Mango’s ability to make it easier to connect and share with friends and family, take the Web beyond the browser and what we think is a smarter approach to apps. Matt Bencke blogged about the new beta developer tools for Mango and announced that we’d be adding a Web-based Windows Phone Marketplace with Mango. As promised, I’m providing some more detail. Also, if you’re interested in taking a closer look at some of the new Mango features from a developer perspective, check out the new Channel 9 videos we’re posting today featuring Andrew Clinick discussing the application platform, Ian Todd on communications and Jared Brown talking Search.
The Web version of Marketplace will launch with the new OS later this year and give customers another vehicle for discovering your great apps and games. And as a Windows Phone developer, you get all of the added visibility with no extra work. Just as on the phone, customers will be able to browse the full catalog, view screenshots, read application details and reviews and choose from all of the supported languages for that app. This offers customers another way to more thoroughly and confidently browse your apps from the comfort of their PC’s web browser. 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.
In addition to easy shopping, Web Marketplace will also enable customers (and you) to promote your apps among friends, family, partners and social networks. Customers will be able to share their favorite apps by embedding a link in emails or articles or make a recommendation through Facebook or Twitter.
Buying and installing apps from the Web Marketplace is fast and easy, just like the phone experience. Purchases are charged against the credit card already linked to the customer’s existing Windows Live ID. If they prefer, the customer can also opt to assign a new credit card. The apps will be automatically downloaded over-the-air to the customer’s Windows Phone, or can be optionally installed later. Web Marketplace will also be able to maintain a customer’s download history to make it easier to reinstall apps (when changing phones, for example). Finally with Parental Controls, parents can determine which apps their kids access based on ratings or keep them from downloading paid apps.
As you can see, we continue to invest in Windows Phone Marketplace to make it more accessible and engaging. We remain equally committed to ensuring a great developer experience based on fair and transparent policies, as well as steadily improving the shopping experience for customers. With the new Web version of Marketplace, we can provide your app with extra visibility, more merchandising possibilities, new end user features that promote app sales and a simplified application purchase experience. By creating more opportunities for customers to get to your great apps, and maybe even discover something they didn’t expect to find, we hope to help you make more money and inspire you to continue creating great apps for Windows Phone. To that end, if you haven’t already, be sure to check out the new beta tools.
Todd Brix Senior Director, Windows Phone Marketplace
There is no "credit card already linked to the customer’s existing Windows Live ID" on my account and that's the way I intend to keep it. Just allow us to use Microsoft points like we do with Xbox 360, Zune, and Games for Windows Live. I like that extra layer of security. I pay for my points with cash so I can use my credit card in as few places as possible.
Also, please fix the Zune Client so that purchases I make via the phone will be restored if the phone needs to be restored. I don't like the fact that the Zune Client restores say the Trial version of an app, but then I need to go through the repurchasing phase of the app??? That's not how it should be done. The Zune client should know about all purchases I made from the phone, and be able to restore the app when I choose to (as long as it's still in the Marketplace or if the XAP file is downloaded and available on my PC where the Zune Client is installed to.)
Also, I truly hope you guys announce a new version of the Zune client that provides the ability to backup our devices, when we choose to. Unless you open up full access to SkyDrive for app developers to sync their app data to (I'm primarily thinking of games at this point), that could be acceptable.
EXCELLENT! A web-based marketplace is one of my most desired features! I especially love the "Like" and "Twitter" buttons for each app. Perfect!
It is really a good news. Now can you devise an affiliate policy and provide linking tools so third party devs could also innovate new ways of app recommendations?
Looks like a ton of "you get all of the added visibility with no extra work" for XBL games, wheres the love for the rest of the games? Seems like just another UI to shove XBL games down your gullet.
Can you please allow horizontal orientation in the app's photos section? It is incredibly annoying when you go to look at pictures of games on the Zune PC software and the picture is in the wrong orientation.
Also please allow developers to upload videos of their apps. On webOS and Android when I go to the app's page I can see a video of the app running before I purchase it.
The web based marketplace looks really good. Great platform for future enhancements and extra capability. Some ideas I reckon would be great;
- Improved region visibility (and search) of App's - showing geographical restrictions and region of function
- Potential for Developer Profiles - with more info.
- Add Developer "Favourites" - with email notification of new apps by Developers tagged as favourites.
- Developer Groups - For instance Dev's being tagged as "Aussie Dev's" so you can cut and dice marketplace by groups and support local Dev's work.
- Maybe MS can also add some statistical reporting on the web-based marketplace for commentators, bloggers, journalists etc - allowing a quick view of total Apps, Apps added per day avg, etc etc (see wp7applist).
Just a few ideas Todd :D Also very interesting to have the Marketplace alternative to the Zune Client PC software...whether for the increased ease of adding new functionality, better monetisation support or just as an insurance option for the future for MS....
A good move, and looking forward to it.
@Zartan, why would you want to see a video when most apps allow you to try before you buy. Everything does not have to be like Android. I'll rather try the app for myself before I purchase it. Seems like a better idea than a video.
Its great that Microsoft has achieved a lot in 8 months. Why Microsoft dint launch the Web version of Marketplace at its launch event on 24th may. It would have a lot more impact on the complete windows experience and marketing.
This is fantastic news, can't wait to be able to browse and share app links more freely than is possible now with Zune. There is one thing that I trust will be available and that is localization, not just in terms of pricing but availability. I don't want to view a load of apps that are neither available in my country or priced only in USD.
Not sure anyone else see this as a UX issue, but all caps usage on the app names and other titles is not the best decision the design team have made. It is still minor, but as far as readability, all cases looks and feel the same and its can be improved.
I'd love to be able to purchase an app online and then have it drop to the device automatically via OTA.
As far as not giving them a charge card, I just use my PayPal account with no backup funding. This lets me put as much money on the account as I choose if I wish to control it that way. Any excess beyond my available funds will fail. The PayPal card is a Mastercard, so it can be used anywhere.
Points would be nice, but the reason for the actual currency is to due to their agreement with AT&T.... which to be honest, I can't blame them for. They probably get a fraction of the funds going to that and don't want to do the 1/80% conversion back to physical funds.
Sheeds' Blog http://bit.ly/jbHczj Captured my ideas for the Web marketplace in my blog post :)
Is there already a date when private (beta) distribution will be possible?
What i'd REALLY like to see implemented is Promo Codes. Imagine being able to offer your apps for free to friends, relatives, reviewers. Here is Palm/HP's implementation: developer.palm.com/.../promo_codes.html
New apps are essentially painted into a corner by the WP7 Marketplace software (both phone and Zune), since an app search will only yield a maximum of 20 results! Yes, you heard me right, 20! Search results are selected by download ranking, so if your app is not popular, you're guaranteed to not be visible on the microscopic search results listing. But if you're not on the search listing, your app is most likely going to remain invisible, so it's impossible for it to become popular. Etc., etc.
Either Microsoft gets us out of this corner, or as soon as the paint dries, we're getting out of the room entirely. If the only way for an app to be popular is to be free, or to be an app that only a very large engineering and development team is able to handle, then the end result is that WP7 will die since their developer community will jump ship in droves.
Just a thought work thinking ...
@Todd Brix can the people who approve applications to the Marketplace please do something about those awful Real Estate Apps by Smarter Agent and those spam apps by Eric_Rulz?
There needs to be a stronger approvals process that actaully checks all the submissions one developer submits to ensure they can't pull this crap!
One thing is for sure, being a bit late to the smartphone OS show lets you learn from the mistakes of others (Android Marketplace) and not make their mistakes. I can say from experience that iTunes in no joy to use by any means. You have a chance to make this work on a completely new usability and feature level. I'm watching closely.
Lately, big daddies of the technology industry have been concentrating on turning the things simpler and highly user friendly. Perhaps this is the reason the marketplace is now brimful of gadgets and gizmoz that are portable, high-tech and swift in nature. Windows being a big brand is now trying to spread its wings wide into the other technological sphere. According to me, Mango will certainly give a tough competition to the already "gaints" in the communication industry and hope things will go well with windows. Best of Luck guys.
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Will I be able to buy apps using one Live ID (mine) and have them installed on my wife's phone (which is linked to her Live ID)? This is a HUGE thing for us because very soon, both our kids will have their own phones too, and I don't want to buy the same app 4 times. iTunes and iPhone allow such a thing by allowing a different iTunes Account be used for apps purchases. That way, I could buy on the PC and sync the app to multiple phones.
Please, please, please tell me that you are planning to enable such a feature. Please.