Windows Phone 7, Day 4: Apps and the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace
30 Days With Windows Phone 7: Day 4
It's all about the apps. With a smartphone, the mobile OS and default apps just form a foundation, but it is the apps that you apply on top that foundation that make the device uniquely yours, and enable it to be the indispensible tool you need it to be. For today's 30 Days With Windows Phone 7 post, I am going to take a look at the apps and the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace that sells them.
The Apps Arms Race
It is firmly established that Apple's iOS has the most apps. Apple has set the bar for app stores, and it has hundreds of thousands of apps to choose from. Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 Marketplace has only 30,000 or so. While it says something about the platform as a whole that so many developers would choose to create so many apps, it is not the only measure.
A recent article on PCWorld points out that the sheer volume of apps in the app store doesn't really matter. It cites a Nielsen survey that indicates that the vast majority of time is spent on the same top apps regardless of platform. Users may have 100 or more apps on their smartphone, yet use fewer than 10 on a regular basis.
So, while it is impressive that Apple has more than half a million apps, or that Android has more than 250,000 apps, and it may seem like Windows Phone 7 can't compete with its measly 30,000 apps, the reality is that 30,000 is way more than I will need. As long as Windows Phone 7 has the 10 or 20 apps I actually use, it will be fine.
Windows Phone 7 Marketplace
Microsoft seems to follow Apple's lead in many ways. Apple's iOS syncs music, apps, and other content with its iTunes application--Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 OS does the same using Microsoft's similar Zune software. Apple's App Store is accessed through iTunes. The Windows Phone 7 Marketplace is accessed through Zune.
When I click on Apps it opens to a default view that shows me some featured and recommended apps, and displays a list of the top 10 paid, and top 10 free apps. On the left side of the display is a listing of "Genres"--the various categories of apps, such as entertainment, sports, personal finance, news + weather, etc.
I clicked on the "Social" genre to get the Windows Phone 7 versions of apps like Facebook and Twitter so I can stay connected from my Windows Phone 7 smartphone. Google+ doesn't have a Windows Phone 7 app yet, so I will have to resort to using the mobile website for that social network I suppose.
The Windows Phone 7 Marketplace shows me a thumbnail icon for all of the various apps available along with the price of the app. One thing I really like about the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace , though, is that it also shows me the app's star rating. I like that I can see at a glance whether other users think the app is any good, or if it's total crap rather than having to click on each app one at a time.