Windows Phone App Store

Microsoft has released an update to the Zune desktop software that includes support for Windows Phone 7. Zune users that install the update will be able to see the Windows Phone section of the Zune app store, which will be the only place to find and install apps on Windows Phones. The store currently has a relatively small selection of apps, many of which I suspect were developed by Microsoft employees, though several XBOX Live titles are listed.

A couple of apps in the store caught my eye. Twitt is a Twitter client app, which given the lack of Twitter support in the base Windows Phone software, it is good to see a Twitter client already in the store. While Twitt is free, govoice, which is a Google Voice client app, will cost $2.99. It will be interesting to see whether and how fast Google will release their own Windows Phone apps such as an official Google Voice app.

The store filters paid and free apps and groups them into 14 categories that the Zune desktop software labels as genres. Apps can be sorted by release date or top selling. Some of the genres, such as games, are broken down further into subgenres. In my testing search does not work as I would expect, for example, a search on Twitter does not show the Twitt app, although if I enter the app name it does appear in the search results, along with music by Conway Twitty. Microsoft needs to add keyword search beyond app titles to help people find apps like Twitter clients, and I think app searches should be separated from other media searchs from either the Zune Marketplace or your PC. With a month before Windows Phones hit the streets, Microsoft has time to make improvements to app searching.

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