New Windows Marketplace to offer try-before-you-buy downloads

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A month after announcing its forthcoming Windows Phone 7 operating system, Microsoft showcased the new end-to-end developer framework in place for the platform as well as its accompanying Windows Phone Marketplace application storefront, which will enable consumers to trial apps before purchasing them. According to Microsoft, which detailed the new platform at its MIX10 conference in Las Vegas, Windows Phone 7 extends technologies like Silverlight and XNA to mobile application and game creation--developers can take advantage of features including accelerometer controls, multi-touch capabilities, camera and microphone support, hardware-accelerated video with DRM and Internet Information Services Smooth Streaming. Windows Phone 7 also supplies a Microsoft Location Service to provide developers with a single point of reference to acquire location data as well as a Microsoft Notification Service for pushing information to the device, regardless of whether or not a given application is running.

Microsoft also announced a free Windows Phone 7 tools package including Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone, Windows Phone 7 Series add-in to use with Visual Studio 2010 RC, XNA Game Studio 4.0 Windows Phone 7 Series Emulator for application testing and Expression Blend for Windows Phone Community Technology Preview (available as a separate download). MIX10 additionally brings a new release candidate for Silverlight 4 as well as Expression Blend 4 Beta, a design and development workflow tool boasting Path Layout, enabling developers and designers to build and animate UI designs via visual layout mechanisms without writing code. Expression Blend 4 Beta also adds support for Silverlight 4, .NET Framework 4 and Visual Studio 2010. For download information, click here.

In conjunction with Windows Phone 7, Microsoft will launch a new Windows Phone Marketplace featuring a "panoramic design and active merchandising" designed to boost software discoverability. To further improve the consumer experience, users may now try out applications before committing to purchasing them; Windows Phone Marketplace will support one-time credit card purchases, operator billing and advertising-funded applications. Developers may also cross-promote their applications through deep linking. Microsoft notes that content partners including the Associated Press, EA Mobile, Fandango, Foursquare, Glu Mobile, Hudson Entertainment, Match.com, Namco Networks America, Pandora Media, Shazam Entertainment and Sling Media are presently at work developing Windows Phone 7 applications.

For more on the Windows Phone 7 platform:
- read this release

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