How to Find the Best Windows Phone 7 Apps and Games

Windows Phone 7 marketplace is Microsoft’s virtual store to download apps, games, music, TV shows, movies, podcasts-in other words, everything that makes your Windows Phone 7 more fun and useful. In this article, you’ll learn how to find and buy great Windows Phone 7 apps and entertainment in Marketplace. I’ll also cover the Games hub. With its strong Xbox pedigree, Windows Phone 7 is quickly shaping up to be a killer gaming machine.

You’ll find Marketplace on both your phone and PC. Think of the PC version as the flagship store: It has everything Microsoft has to offer. The Marketplace hub on your phone is a branch outlet. It deals only in apps, games, and music. But the hub has the advantage of convenience, since you can shop directly on your phone. By the way, not everything in Marketplace costs money. Many apps and games are free. Some paid apps in Marketplace also let you try them before you buy them.

Speaking of games, Windows Phone is the first mobile device to fully weave in Xbox LIVE, Microsoft’s hugely popular online gaming service, with more than 20 million subscribers. If you’re one of them, you’ll have access to your avatar, gamerscore, and other familiar Xbox goodies right on your phone. So let the fun begin!

Touring the Marketplace Hub

The Marketplace hub is one of the default tiles on your Start screen. The hub is divided into several areas, including a list of featured apps and a main menu. On the menu you can pick from Apps, Games, Music, or any custom category added by your cell-phone carrier. This screen also shows the status of items you’re downloading and whether any software updates are available for apps already on your phone. Apps-short for applications-are the add-on software programs that give smartphones their smarts. Because Windows Phone 7 is the new kid on the block, only time will tell how many you’ll find for it in Marketplace. But early signs look promising. Marketplace is expected to have 16 categories of apps, including books, business, entertainment, finance, games, health and fitness, lifestyle, music and video, navigation, news and weather, photos, productivity, social, sports, tools, and travel.

Caution

You need a Windows Live ID to use Marketplace. If you don’t already have a Windows Live ID, you’ll be prompted to create or register one the first time you try to download an app.