Erwin Ried (eried) at XDA has been hard at work on his Windows Phone 7 marketplace for Windows PC, a desktop suite which allows searching, cataloging, downloading and deployment of free WP7 apps. This provides a fully-featured alternative to Microsoft’s Zune software.
The custom marketplace is of special interest to international WP7 device owners who are living in areas where Microsoft has not yet activated the marketplace, such as Sweden. Ried’s suite will allow these users to download and deploy free applications to their device, despite Microsoft’s restriction.
The suite requires your WP7 device to be unlocked (via ChevronWP7 or official methods). On the desktop side, it requires a Windows PC (XP or Windows 7) with .NET framework 4 or higher. It also requires the Windows Phone SDK to be installed as the suite has dependencies on some of the SDK libraries.
Ried plans to add support for “smart patching” functionality, which would enable hackers to release patches that coincide with .xap downloads. The .xap would be patched prior to deployment, allowing features within the app to be selectively disabled – such as an LG application that checks to make sure it is running on an LG device.
The developer stresses that his application suite cannot be used to work with trial, paid, or device branded applications – it will only display completely free apps. This restriction applies to “unlockable” applications as well. If the app has any features which can be turned on via payment, it will not appear in Ried’s application suite. This action was taken to combat piracy.