Windows Marketplace for Mobile

MIX 2010 delivers fresh WP7s news: Windows Phone Marketplace, Silverlight 4 RC and more

MIX 2010 delivers fresh WP7s news: Windows Phone Marketplace, Silverlight 4 RC and more

Today marks the kick-off point for MIX 2010, Microsoft's annual developer conference, and while usually we'd leave it to the programmers this year promises more information about Windows Phone 7 series.  Microsoft deferred pretty much all questions about hardware and software technicalities from MWC 2010 last month to this week's event, but with it already confirmed that WP7s will break software ties with Windows Mobile 6.5 and earlier, developers are understandably keen to find out exactly what's involved getting up to speed with the new platform.  Among the announcements today are the launch of the Silverlight 4 Release Candidate and the debut of Windows Phone Marketplace, the successor to Windows Marketplace for Mobile.

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Windows Marketplace for Mobile lands on 6.0 and 6.1 smartphones

Windows Marketplace for Mobile lands on 6.0 and 6.1 smartphones

Back in July, Microsoft pleased a whole lot of legacy Windows Phone device users by promising that Windows Mobile 6.0 and 6.1 handsets would eventually have access to the new Marketplace for Mobile, the company's on-device download store.  The arrival of Windows Mobile 6.5 has come and gone - complete with the Marketplace - and now Microsoft have green-flagged the app store for 6.0 and 6.1 handsets.

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Microsoft app “kill switch” detailed: only for “harmful” software

Microsoft app “kill switch” detailed: only for “harmful” software

Microsoft have attempted to clarify the widely-reported "kill switch" present in the Windows Marketplace for Mobile, after reports earlier this week that the company would "automatically" remove applications from users' smartphones should the apps be pulled from the official download store.  According to a Microsoft spokesperson, that would only in fact occur should an application be found to exhibit "harmful behavior or [have] unforseen effects".

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Microsoft remote software “kill switch” confirmed

Microsoft remote software “kill switch” confirmed

Microsoft have been spilling the beans on more Windows Marketplace for Mobile details at Tech.Ed New Zealand, including confirmation that the company will install a remote "kill switch" for removing software from users' smartphones.  The backdoor access will be used, apparently, should Microsoft approve and then later remove a title from the Marketplace; not only will it be stripped from the virtual store shelves, but automatically removed from any devices that have installed it.

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Do Microsoft take a dig at Apple App Store approval policies in latest promo?

Do Microsoft take a dig at Apple App Store approval policies in latest promo?

Could Microsoft be the next in line to take a pot-shot at Apple's App Store approvals process?  That's certainly one interpretation of the company's latest promo video for the Race to Market Challenge, Microsoft's competition intended to drum up submissions for their upcoming Windows Marketplace for Mobile download store.  In the video, a developer is shown bringing his new app to a well-stocked application store, only to be rejected.

Video after the cut

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Microsoft Race to Market Challenge: four Surface tables to win

Microsoft Race to Market Challenge: four Surface tables to win

Microsoft have thrown open the doors to Windows Marketplace for Mobile app store submissions, and to tempt developers away from Apple and other rival platforms they're offering some significant prizes.  The Microsoft Race to Market Challenge will judge entrants in four criteria categories, with the winners each taking away - among other things - a Microsoft Surface multitouch table worth in excess of $10k.

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Windows Marketplace for Mobile submissions from July 27th; coming to existing 6.0 & 6.1 devices

Windows Marketplace for Mobile submissions from July 27th; coming to existing 6.0 & 6.1 devices

Having just mentioned Windows Marketplace for Mobile as an aside to Apple's 1.5bn App Store downloads, we've now a little more information regarding developers' access to the store and one which devices it will run.  At the Worldwide Partner Conference this week, Microsoft have announced that mobile app submissions will be accepted from July 27th.

Contrary to initial reports that the Marketplace would run solely on Windows Mobile 6.5 devices and above, Microsoft have also confirmed that the download store will be available on WM6.0 and 6.1 by the end of 2009.  Given the number of devices in circulation running WM6.1 alone, and uncertainties about which smartphones will be eligible for 6.5 upgrades, that certainly makes sense for widening Microsoft's user base.

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Windows Mobile 6.5 team lacked time to polish UI; confirm no Silverlight

Windows Mobile 6.5 team lacked time to polish UI; confirm no Silverlight

While Windows Mobile devices have their strong points, the platform's UI has longed looked like the third-class citizen compared to rivals.  Windows Mobile 6.5 will go some small way to addressing that, but even the team behind the smartphone OS themselves admit that they lacked the time to give the upcoming refresh the visual makeover it needs. 

The WM6.5 developer team sat down for a 45 minute roundtable at TechEd 2009, to confirm UI rumors, discuss Widgets and why they count as "grown up" applications, and admit that no, Silverlight won't be integrated with the platform.  It's a surprisingly honest interview, but if we're fair it doesn't leave us particularly enthused about WM6.5.

Video roundtable after the cut

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Microsoft release Windows Marketplace for Mobile “prohibited app types” list

Microsoft release Windows Marketplace for Mobile “prohibited app types” list

Microsoft have announced their twelve commandments for their Windows Marketplace for Mobile download store, and they seem to have taken a leaf out of Apple's book.  The new list [pdf link] concerns itself with "prohibited application types", and as well as the perhaps expected software - carrier-unfriendly VoIP, anything that secretly shares the user's data or GPS position - there's also some bad news for Handango and other software download services.

Interestingly, now that Microsoft have finally stepped into the on-device app distribution arena, they're keen to make sure users stay within their service.  Although the company has previously confirmed that other software download systems are welcome to develop and release rival app-stores, rules one and two are that software must not "distribute alternate marketplaces" or "promote alternate marketplaces".  Similar, Microsoft are keen to get their slice of the licensing pie, with rule three forbidding apps that direct buyers to an external page for payment.

Full list after the cut

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