Windows Phone 7.5 Mango Required, 9 New Windows Phone Markets, And No More Zune Marketplace

Microsoft has brought out a couple of new changes (and announcements) today in order to pave the way for the future of Windows Phone. The quick one-two is the following:

  • The Zune PC software will no longer be used to shop for Windows Phone applications
  • Windows Phone 7.5 Mango will be required on all devices that want to download new applications from the marketplace

Microsoft used data obtained from Windows Phone devices, the Windows Phone web marketplace, and the Zune software itself to arrive at the conclusion that a large amount of users either use their device or the Windows Phone website to view/download applications. This is the simple reason why Zune, which has always been intended for Zune devices only (and will have a different future regardless), has been ousted from any Windows Phone relations. The removal of Windows Phone from Zune begins today, the Zune HD marketplace will remain open. The Zune software is still required for Windows Phone software updates, and backing up photos/videos from your device, also music downloads are still part of the Zune software.

All new application downloads will require Windows Phone 7.5 Mango, so now is a good time to make sure you have the latest update. Ok, maybe not the latest update because carriers like AT&T are supposedly working on bigger updates, but at least the Windows Phone 7.5 Mango is available on all current devices (as now required). Mazhar Mohammed from the Windows Phone Blog explains:

Why are we doing this? Marketplace is growing fast. It now has over 80,000 apps overall and is available in 54 (soon to be 63) countries around the world. Requiring Windows Phone 7.5 is part of a larger effort aimed at improving Marketplace performance and security, and paving the way for even faster growth and more new features.

If you don’t update to Windows Phone 7.5, you’ll still be able to browse Marketplace. But you’ll get an error message if you try to install an app or game, or update one already on your phone. Still need convincing that updating is worth it? Check out some of the hundreds of improvements and new features Windows Phone 7.5 makes possible.

The Windows Phone marketplace has expanded to nine new markets today as well. Those markets are Bahrain, Israel, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, UAE and Vietnam. These new markets are part of the big expansion plans discussed in the past couple months. Applications submissions are already available for these new markets.

Zune Windows Phone Marketplace Removal Does Impact Developers

On a separate note, if you’re a Windows Phone developer you want to keep reading. Over on the Windows Phone Developer Blog, Todd Brix highlights one of the developer impacts these changes bring. As a developer, you want to make sure you are using the correct protocol to direct link your applications in the marketplace. The correct format, which will allow for Windows Phone and web marketplace “deep link”:{GUID}



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