Through their official Windows Phone Blog, Microsoft has announced two new changes to Windows Phone Marketplace to prepare for the new store features and apps in the coming months. The first addition, or rather subtraction, is the removal of the Marketplace option from the Zune desktop client. Since most WP7 users buy and download apps through their phone or the web store, having Marketplace in a third location was a bit redundant. This is only for WP7 mobiles as the Zune HD app store will continue to exist through the software. While this won’t really affect most users, a more exciting announcement should have been the removal of Zune dependency all together for WP7 devices, but I guess that’s wishful thinking.
New changes to the Marketplace
The second change directly involves the Marketplace and purchase and update of apps. In the coming weeks, users will have to have Windows Phone 7.5 running as the bare minimum, if they wish to buy new apps or even update existing ones. If you’re on an older version of WP7, you’ll still be able to browse the app store but that’s about it. Updates are still channelled through Zune itself and there’s no sign of Over the Air (OTA) updates for WP7 devices any time soon. Microsoft is enforcing this rule in order to provide a better and more uniform app experience and in a way curb fragmentation as much as they can. If everyone is on the same version of the OS, app developers have very little to worry about in terms of features and stability of the app across devices. They’ll also be able to freely make use of the new APIs in Mango and new security features. This move could also be taken as a sign that Microsoft is readying devices and the Marketplace for the transition to Windows Phone 8 and since is already on Mango, the move to Apollo should be seamless and so would the transition of apps. Windows Phone Marketplace now features over 80,000 apps available in 54 countries and counting.
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