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.