One of the things that Google got really right with the Android Market is the full-featured web presence the store maintains. Even if you’re nowhere near your smartphone, you can easily browse, purchase, and send apps to your phone, without the need for any special software on the PC. Microsoft appears to have taken note, as the company has revealed that one of the many changes coming to its Windows Phone 7 platform with the release of Mango will be the addition of a web-based Windows Phone Marketplace.
The Marketplace will complement existing WP7 app discovery tools like Bing’s Visual Search, but upon its launch, those search results will direct you to the app’s page in the new Marketplace. Much of the functionality will duplicate what you see in the Zune software currently, but there will also be extra room for expanded features, like additional featured, promoted apps.
Social tools will let you share apps you’ve discovered with your friends via social network or email. When you find an app you like, you’ll be able to sign-in to access your account details and authorize payment, with the app transferred to your WP7 smartphone OTA; if all this is sounding familiar, we don’t blame you. Obviously, Microsoft will try to differentiate the Windows Phone Marketplace from the Android Market in terms of its look and feel, but they’re about to become very similar functionally. You can look forward to the Marketplace’s web launch this fall.