Following on from the previous post on Android 3.0 (Honeycomb), I see that Google also announced, and have opened, a web presence for Android applications: the Android Market.
The first thing to note is that, in the Android Market, it is possible to browse and purchase applications for your Android devices directly via the web site. The Zune web site, on the other hand, does not allow you to browse applications for your Windows Phone directly. Instead, when you click on the “Browse Zune Marketplace” link, it fires up the Zune client application on your PC, which accesses the applications for Windows Phone 7 available in your location. And there’s the rub: the Android Market seems to be a single global marketplace, accessible to everyone, while the Zune Marketplace is heavily fragmented, and not open in all countries. I’ve written about this Microsoft Marketplace disaster before, but to see it laid bare by comparing the user experience with Android Market is very revealing.
Microsoft really should open up a web site to allow global access to WP7 applications along the same lines as Google’s Android Market. If they don’t, then they will continue to be on the back foot in the Smartphone market.