Microsoft's App Store... Er... Marketplace

Phone 7's Application Marketplace will be the only way to install and get software on the device. Yes, it's that cut and dry. This is definitely a partial letdown for the platform's openness to some extent, mirroring a very apple-esque distribution model and store. At the same time, it's a simplifying move that guarantees common paths to installation. All the same Apple App Store highlights exist here, including one-time credit card information entry and organization. However, one thing Marketplace has that App Store doesn't is complete support for trial software. It's as easy as calling a function called isTrial().

Perhaps the most interesting issues raised were from developers focused on software for corporate employees; without another installation path, anyone could install privileged software. Until a framework exists for them to either have an access token, or an alternate install method, they're out of luck. I'm told Microsoft has taken this feedback seriously and plans to eventually make that happen.

There will be a submission process for applications to be approved and entered in the marketplace, though these details will likely come today or tomorrow (so stay tuned!). What we do know is that there are three specific tests for application approval: business related policies, technical related policies, and (perhaps most controversially) content related policies. Microsoft representative Charlie Kindel repeatedly emphasized that the "approval process will be completely open and [developers will] know what's going on at each step." Again, we fully expect these to be fleshed out during the remainder of MIX10.

Application Submission Workflow

All the rest of what you'd expect from an application marketplace is here, including updates and support for free applications.

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  • Guspaz - Tuesday, March 16, 2010 - link

    Ultimately, XNA is still .NET, meaning that it's analogous to Java apps on Android. The performance is quite good, but it's probably not AS good as native code would be.
  • medi01 - Tuesday, March 16, 2010 - link

    JIT compilers theoretically are producing faster code than native compilers.
    But android's Java VM has no JIT. I wonder if MS W7 has it.
  • PsychoPif - Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - link

    It is the .Net Compact Framework, so yes, JIT compiler.

    But don't quote me on that.
  • pjladyfox - Tuesday, March 16, 2010 - link

    This is the one big thing that will make or break any phone running this OS for me. I currently have an iPhone and, while the phone is great and I do love it, I can't STAND the fact that I have to have a frigging data plan tied to the phone. You couple that with the fact that most places where I would use any "data" feature I wind up switching over to wifi, either at Starbucks or Borders, mainly due to the lackluster 3G coverage and signal in the Bay Area.

    You give me the ability to get a phone running this OS without having to have a data plan and I'll get one in a heartbeat. Otherwise, I'll stick with my original plan by switching over to a iPod Touch and a basic cellphone when my iPhone contract is up later this year.
  • CSMR - Tuesday, March 16, 2010 - link

    Of course. Microsoft isn't just manufacturing one model of the phone. You will still get bundling of some phones with contracts, unfortunately not an illegal practice, but you will be able to buy unlocked phones just as you can now.

    However data connections are pretty useful, if you don't like contracts fair enough but I would try to find a pay as you go provider.
  • pjladyfox - Tuesday, March 16, 2010 - link

    The problem is that even if you get an unlocked phone most providers will force you to sign up with all of the data plan baggage that goes with it. I was considering unlocking my iPhone about a year ago but I spoke to AT&T and Verizon and they both refused to let me sign my phone up without it.

    I even went so far as to try asking them both if there was a smartphone that you could get WITHOUT signing up for an expensive plan and both said no giving some bunk answer about "x phone needed it" which considering the ones I would choose would have wifi enabled on them I was'nt buying it. My guess is that, for whatever reason, the handset maker in cahoots with the providers setup the phones in such a way that they "phone home" every so often setting up the "need" for the data plan.

    If these companies want smartphones to take off they need to either make the data plans cheaper or give us the ability to turn off the "phone home" feature so we can use the phone as a phone without an expensive data plan. -_-
  • kmmatney - Tuesday, March 16, 2010 - link

    You can always get a basic phone plan using a cheapo phone, and then swap over the SIMS card. I'm able to swap my SIMS card between a basic nom-smart Samsung phone and my iPhone.
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, March 16, 2010 - link

    Verizon has recently started requiring a $10 a month data plan on non-smartphones which didn't used to require a data plan, so obviously they are just looking to collect as much money as they can. I have heard that on business accounts the data plan is optional, but I do not know for sure.
  • braveneworld - Tuesday, March 16, 2010 - link

    Developers, developers, developers, except for developers that don't want to share their code with MS or use the app store!

    Seriously, this is one of the main reasons the enterprise uses win mobile; you can create and install your own software without getting 'approval' from big brother MS.

    In addition, if you use an app that you made that provides your company a competitive advantage, why in the world would you want to share it with your competitors? Not all software developers write software to sell!
    They are going to drive many customers straight into RIM's and Google's, or even Palm's arms.
  • zicoz - Tuesday, March 16, 2010 - link

    Paul Thurott seems to have some good news for you.

    "And this summer--I'm thinking around the time of TechEd 2010 in June--Microsoft will announce that businesses can deploy internal Windows Phone applications privately using an as-yet unnamed "common distribution system." (I'm guessing this means WSUS or System Center Configuration Manager.)"

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