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WinMo adds new app store – and…?

With the launch of Windows Mobile 6.5, Microsoft also announced the launch of their appstore.  They join a long list of not-so-fast followers who are announcing app stores, and this one is surely to be the one with the least impact.  Why?  For one, app stores for WM phones have been available for over a decade, lead by the likes of Handango and  others.  And few have done it as well as Handango, which really runs like a retail business, with discount coupons, loyalty points, etc, arguably being even more professional than Apple in running an app store (albeit lacking the sleekness of iTunes, but then again, they do not require you to install anything).

Sadly they have only released an application based store, which has a less than stellar user experience.  They launched with only a handful of apps, which I find strange when existing WM app stores from the likes of Pocket Gear and others contain thousands. And they have missed one of the key elements of why I as a device owner would pledge my loyalty to the store: There is no ability to upgrade the OS.  Yet again, another player fails to understand the secret behind Apple’s AppStore – utter simplicity for the end user in every aspect.  If you own a WM device, have you ever tried to upgrade the OS?  Good luck. Microsoft has left that to each device manufacturer, and I can attest to that Samsung has no clue in managing a global consumer base in this regard.

The new app store (which I cannot even access on my WM 6.1 device – I might add it is hacked, as that was my only way of upgrading the OS) has all the elements of being rushed to the market place, as Microsoft is really falling behind in the mobile race. When the web version comes, it remains to be seen if they have learned from Sony Ericsson’s sleek new app store, or Apple’s dominant store.  The bar has been set, and Microsoft so far has a lot of catching up to do.

Posted in The Business of Mobile.

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