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Microsoft opens online mobile Marketplace

Windows Marketplace for Mobile debuted as a smartphone-only app store. Now Microsoft mirrors the storefront online.

Windows Marketplace for Mobile--Web
Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Windows Marketplace for Mobile debuted in October as Microsoft's answer to smartphone app stores. As with Google's Android Market, Windows Mobile 6.5 users could initially only find and purchase apps from the device. Now Microsoft has published an online catalog to mirror its mobile storefront.

As with iPhone's app store in iTunes and BlackBerry's online App World, Windows Marketplace for Mobile site lets you find apps by browsing, searching, or discovering programs from lists of what's most popular or new. App screenshots, ratings, and version details are accessible from product pages. Like BlackBerry's App World, you can pick apps from the online catalog to install via Marketplace for Mobile on your smartphone.

In addition to discovering new applications to download, the online mobile Marketplace has a management window for you to track your download history and tweak your account settings.

Developers will see a separate portal that contains community resources, blog posts, and lists of upcoming events. Although Microsoft has been the tardiest of the major mobile platform developers to implement an app store solution, it's to Microsoft's credit that the company is quickly rounding out its storefront with an online catalog. Now Microsoft just needs to open up the Marketplace to phone owners using older versions of Windows Mobile operating systems.