A look at Windows Phone 7 Marketplace for Mango

Microsoft releases more details about the big changes coming to its online catalog, including a form of over-the-air app downloads.

Microsoft has shared more details about the upcoming refresh to the online Windows Phone Marketplace application store that the company first teased yesterday in a blog post to developers.

The screenshot below was internally labeled as a final version of the new design, which is scheduled to launch when Microsoft releases its Mango update this fall.

The new Windows Phone 7 online Marketplace
The Mango update will include this refreshed online app marketplace (green border our addition). Microsoft

The new Windows Phone Marketplace features a sharper, darker interface, with greater use of black and a new section to spotlight select apps. In addition to browsing and searching the app catalog, a new feature will enable Marketplace shoppers to share favorites through e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter, and via an embedded link for articles.

Mango's Marketplace online will also be able to trigger apps to download over the air (OTA) to your phone. We initially heard that installations would happen via an e-mail or SMS link sent to the phone. However, Microsoft has revised the explanation, saying that the Web store will push apps to the phone similarly to the online Android Market, which has offered OTA Web-to-phone installations since February. However, being sent a link instead of enabling direct downloading will still be an option should you want it.

As with other online app catalogs, Microsoft's Windows Phone Marketplace will also track your history so you can more easily reinstall apps if you switch Windows phones. Parental Controls will be onboard as well.

Marketplace will tie into Bing searches and visual searches in some markets. Tapping an app result will open up details in the refreshed Web store. From a user perspective, it might be more convenient to see app details within the Marketplace app on the phone, so we'll withhold our judgment to see how this affects the browsing and downloading experience with the Mango update.

Update, 1 p.m. PT: We've added new information from Microsoft that corrects an earlier statement about OTA app installations.

 

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