Along with this week’s announcement of Windows Mobile 6.5, Microsoft also unveiled Windows Marketplace for Mobile, which will allow users to find and purchase software from Windows phones.
It has also announced the My Phone service, which it informally introduced to the world last week.
Windows Marketplace for Mobile
In the wake of the wild success of Apple’s iPhone App Store, many other companies are coming out with on-device software stores, including Microsoft, Google, and Nokia.
Microsoft’s will let customers get games, useful utilities, or business applications directly from their phone or from a PC. The marketplace will let users search, browse categories, and purchase software.
Developers, who have already built over 20,000 applications for Windows phones, will be able to offer their products to customers through the marketplace after a security and compatibility check from Microsoft.
The new marketplace will be included with all models based on Windows Mobile 6.5. The first of these aren’t scheduled to hit the market until this fall.
Microsoft My Phone
Microsoft’s upcoming online synchronization service for Windows Mobile is called My Phone. This will allow users to synchronize calendar and contacts, photos and other files with a server.
In addition, My Phone users will be able to go to a web site and access their personal information to make changes, which will be reflected on their smartphone the next time they synchronize.
There are some limitations: it does not backup email, users are limited to 200 MB of free storage, and this won’t be a push service. Data will be automatically synchronized once each night, but users will be able to manually initiate a sync.
This is companion service for Exchange ActiveSync, not a replacement. On devices that are synchronizing data with an Exchange Server, My Phone will not back up Calendar and Contacts information. However, it will handle file backups, as that’s not a service offered by Exchange ActiveSync.
Microsoft My Phone is currently available only as a limited, invite-only beta. More information is available at getskybox.com.