Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) took steps yesterday to make their Marketplace for Mobile experience even more iTunes-like.
As promised, Microsoft has started rolling out its second wave of features for the app stores, including the ability to browse and buy applications from the PC, according to a company blog post. Now instead of being limited to the cellphone’s small screen, people can view the applications online here. On the left side of the screen, there’s a column of categories, such as Games, Lifestyle, Maps and Search, Music and Video, Social Networks, News and Weather and Travel. Of the 14 categories, there’s 368 applications listed. Microsoft also showcases on the page, including categories such as Most Popular and What’s New. For now, the apps are what you might expect since the store launched on Oct. 6. Popular apps include MySpace, Facebook and AP Mobile, along with Microsoft’s own apps, like MyPhone, Bing and other Microsoft Utilities.
When users choose to buy an app, it’s delivered wirelessly to the customer’s Windows phone — unlike iTunes, which requires you to connect your phone to your PC. The app will install the next time the Windows Marketplace client runs on the device. Todd Brix, senior director of mobile services writes: “Marketplace has been extremely active and I couldn’t be happier with the reactions from both developers and customers. We’ve been open for just over one month and already we can see that there’s demand for an application marketplace that doesn’t compromise on quality or experience.” Later this month, Microsoft will extend the service to Windows Mobile 6.0 and 6.1 customers.