Microsoft has opened the virtual doors to its Windows Phone Web Marketplace, meaning that Windows Phone 7 users can now browse and purchase apps straight from the web.
This feature is something that has been available on the Android Market for a while now and has been something of a success.
So Google should be flattered that Microsoft has decided to emulate it wholesale and offer direct app downloading from its web portal to a Windows Phone 7 handset.
The layout of the store is pretty self explanatory. There's a carousel at the top with a load of featured apps in it, then a choice of browsing either the Apps section or the Games section. From here you can look at Free, Top and New apps and also what's on offer on Xbox Live.
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At the moment, Microsoft seems to be suffering from only being able to offer the apps at US prices, which may mean it is not compatible with the UK as of yet. Saying that, Google had US pricing for a while and still allowed UK users to download apps.
Update: the UK side of the store is now live, where UK pricing is now in place.
It has made it easy to buy apps, though. All you need is to connect your credit card details to your Windows Live ID and you are away.