Microsoft launched the Windows Marketplace for Mobile in October for Windows Mobile 6.5 phones only, but today the coverage was expanded to applications for phones running on Windows Mobile 6 or 6.1:
Today, almost all people with phones running Windows Mobile 6.0 and above with a supporting data plan can now access Marketplace. We’re delighted to bring the benefits of Marketplace to even more people, and give Windows phone developers the opportunity to reach more than 30 million devices worldwide. To get Marketplace for a Windows Mobile 6.0 or 6.1 based device, customers can simply point their phone’s browser to http://mp.windowsphone.com to start the download process; from the Web, customers can visit http://windowsphone.com/getmarketplace or simply click here. Then browse and shop a wide range of quality applications for work and play; roughly 90% of the apps in our catalogue already support Windows Mobile 6.0 and 6.1 devices.
We now offer over 800 applications, more than three times the number we offered when Marketplace launched just over one month ago. Additionally, over 1,000 software vendors and counting are registered to deliver great applications for work and play on Marketplace.
Windows Marketplace for Mobile is Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s wildly popular iPhone App Store and the idea is fine. The problem, of course, is the declining popularity of Windows Mobile itself which according to the Gartner Group has dropped 28% in worldwide market share in the last year. I suppose the argument can be made that an app store will increase adoption, but I suspect the problem is more fundamental.
The Boy Genius Report got hold of a new Motorola Q9 phone with Wi-Fi and were surprised to see that it is running Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard. Hit the link for commentary and 100 pictures, but the changes while pleasant aren’t that large since it is a point release. The most popular around the phone gadget sites seems to be the threaded SMS.
Coincidently, another 6.1 appeared last week, Microsoft Office Mobile 6.1 which was finally released after having been shipped and then withdrawn in September. The biggest change is support for the Open Office XML (OOXML) document formats introduced with Office 2007. Other enhancements are:
One other change – Windows Mobile users pining for Office Mobile but left bereft by their carriers can now buy Office Mobile 6.1 direct from Microsoft for $50 via Handango.com.
Today, Microsoft’s PlayReady digital rights management offering (announced last February) found its first non-Microsoft customer, Nokia, who plans to add support for it on their S60 and Series 40 mobile device platforms. Don’t hold your breath, though:
Microsoft today launched Robotics Studio 1.5 adding support for Windows Embedded CE 6.0 and Windows Mobile 6, “which allows developers to more easily deploy advanced scenarios and software applications on embedded platforms of a wider variety and lower cost.” Among other enhancements were:
… improvements to its visual programming language and 3-D real-world-physics-based visual simulation environment, built on the AGEIA Technologies Inc.-based PhysX engine. New services have also been added, including support for vision and speech recognition, expanded documentation and a new editor that makes it easier to configure and target software services for robotics platforms.
Robotics Studio 1.5 is free and available for download here. A variety of marketing programs were announced as well.