Microsoft has unveiled a few more details about its Windows Marketplace for Mobile application store and upcoming Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system. Twenty-seven prominent names in the mobile application industry have pledged support for Windows Marketplace including Facebook, MySpace, Zagat, EA Mobile, Gameloft, Netflix and Pandora. All of the companies will have applications available when Windows Marketplace launches this year. MySpace will also release a mobile version of its social network for Windows Mobile 6.1, with pre-installation on all of LG’s Windows phones.
From a consumer perspective, Windows Mobile users will be able to purchase applications using their credit cards or by charging them directly to their phone bills. The latter feature differs from Apple’s App Store which doesn’t provide carrier support. I think this is a good move on Microsoft’s part as it opens the door to application purchases to those without credit cards, plus it allows the opportunity for impulse purchases by customers. Carriers will also be able to create branded pages within the storefront to sell their own applications and services. Furthermore, buyers will have 24 hours to try and application and return it, a feature that iPhone users have called for since the App Store launched last summer. Contrary to rumors, application developers will not have to pay to update their applications.
It also appears that Microsoft is taking a page out of Modu Mobile’s playbook with a specific focus on personalization. The mobile phone is an accessory for most of us, akin to a wallet, purse, or pair of shoes, and as such Microsoft has purchased the services of famous product designer Isaac Mizrahi to develop customized themes for Windows Mobile phones. The company will also add the services of Design Museum London and Council of Fashion Designers of America to its design portfolio. Later this year when Microsoft rolls out its Theme Generator, Windows Mobile users will also be able to create their own themes by porting pictures from their PC’s.
This all sounds great, but with Microsoft recently alienating the entire open source community, is Isaac Mizrahi really going to be enough?
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