Windows App Store

Windows Phone Marketplace Application Store

Windows Phone Marketplace may not be able to rival Android and iOS in terms of developer roadmap and sheer volume and choice yet, but it is clearly now a mature, attractive proposition and USP rather than a me-too proposition that most app stores outside of Apple's App Store started out as.

Where its maturity shows is in its windows phone 7 version having clear style guidelines even before android did just recently, as referenced in a couple of by other articles, including this one on the Android App Store.

Additionally, the Marketplace has a couple of other aces up its sleeve:
  1. The Marketplace is a clear and simple extension of the OS, which seems to be very well received by a large audience who are either daunted by the Android / iOS duo, or for one reason or another are sceptical
  2. The devices make a difference - while there are the uber devices in the same guise and the android devices from LG, Samsung, HTC, etc, there are also the very attractive Nokia Lumia 800 and 700 devices which, having held, see the attraction of, and the initial stats shows they are growing in dominance on the marketplace.
So, now we have started at the end let's continue from the beginning :) The marketplace was not always so full of promise, and there is one issue even now that will be interesting to see how it is overcome, and that's needing a windows live ID to do anything:
  • So, there was hotmail, and more recently there are a few windows PC programmes like windows live moviemaker that are well worth signing up for, but the Windows Live ID is nowhere near as ubiquitous, nor persuasive in its adoption as either an 
  • apple account, from having an ipod, imac, iTunes, etc, etc, etc, nor 
  • a google account which claims google checkout, googlemail - the de facto replacement for hotmail, nor google apps, google earth and recently google plus at 100,000,000 users already and a whole other raft of desirable services persuading users in the hundreds of millions to have an account...
So how will they overcome this? Well, even Nokia managed to be ahead of Live these days, with free navigation, among other things, having persuaded anybody with a first generation smartphone (read Nokia) pre iPhone 2/3... so one way maybe the Nokia account angle? Another way may arise from the fact that the default billing id done via the operator? Another way of course maybe with tie in the windows 7 & 8, turning media centre into an on-line download and stream TV and media service like is en-vogue these days, a cloud based access to our desktop files ... the options are there, but it could still do with some love to persuade us... as signing up for Windows live was neither slick nor incentivised... it felt a bit like when you have done your shopping, queued for ages in the checkout, put everything in bags to find you have forgotten your wallet.
Likelihood of the Marketplace being adopted over time: 40% positive
So back onto the Store itself. The major flaw in 6.5 was that it looked like a WAP site, even WAP sites look more like native apps these days with HTML5 (to be fair HTML5 was still in Beta then) but the new Metro UI is, dare I say, a step ahead of the competition in terms of interaction??? Ok, I exaggerate, the App Store is very, very professional, its scrolling and buffering at end impeccable, and ... but it is just that, very professional, just like the Android market is very slick technologically - the Marketplace is fun and actually quite alluring. Don't get me wrong, mainstream does not buy "fun" but once they have it, they do enjoy it and finding an app should be as fun as shopping is to many, it should not be a commute to fun???
Metro UI invites browsing and lingering...

Part of this is the Metro UI, I have the feeling we have only seen the start of what this can do with dual core chips and smartphone graphics processors that would make your previous laptop blush, and no doubt Apple will pick up some of the fun beyond the app icons quivering when you uninstall, and Android has shown its clearly upped the ante. 
... it but may struggle as content grows?
What do we like most of all? Well, having been involved in many app stores, not only do I love the final conquest of quality over quantity of content, but also the fact that each of the Microsoft, Apple and Android app stores finally have a personality of their own, that reflects their underlying OS, IU, UX and encasing devices. 
Manufacturer specific category is great addition 
The marketplace finally is becoming an Ecosystem, and that is good for developers, its good for consumers, but most of all its good for handset manufacturers like LG, HTC and more so Nokia who have taken a huge punt on windows phone and the marketplace and that punt finally seems to be paying off. At this point I have to declare I am glad, as would any honest technologist of my generation, as Nokia will always hold a soft spot, having brought us some of the classics, just like VW brought us the beetle and golf...
Scrolling could become addictive...

...all a million miles from the original
6.5 Marketplace was very "me-too"
I will be updating this blog adoptograph as the store evolves, as well as other stores being added, if you wish to follow its updates you can follow either my Google + page or my company G+ page.