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The Globe and Mail

Microsoft's apps plan centred in Marketplace

The Windows Phone 7 Series Marketplace hub is the single convenient place where consumers can acquire applications, games, premium Xbox LIVE games, and music to personalize their phone.

With Apple and Android bragging about the number of apps available for their platforms, the obvious question is, what will Windows Phone 7 provide at launch?

Microsoft won't supply numbers - in fact, most developers can only submit apps starting Oct. 11, so it probably doesn't even know the real total. However, a large collection of high-profile apps are already being tested. Microsoft says that over half a million developers have already downloaded the free software developer's kit.

A subset of the goodies already in the works includes apps from Netflix, Twitter, Facebook, Seesmic, Amazon, Kindle for Windows Phone, eBay, IMDB, Flixter, OpenTable, Travelocity, and Yelp.

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Some of the Canadian-specific apps include The Globe and Mail, Telus, YellowPages Group,, MTV, Poynt, and MSN. And, of course, there's "Where's Timmy," an app that will use the phone's location awareness to find the nearest Tim Horton's.

Microsoft also has the advantage of owning Microsoft Games Studio, which means Xbox fans can expect to have exclusive companion titles to games such as Halo: Waypoint and Crackdown 2 available on their phones. And, you build your gamerscore when playing on the phone. In addition, Konami, Namco, PopCap, THQ and others have holiday offerings on the way. Microsoft says that every game will have a free trial mode, so you won't be stuck paying for something you hate.

You can check out the latest Windows Phone 7 gaming news here.

However, the company is not looking for quantity over quality. Apps for Windows Phone 7 will only be available from the Windows Marketplace and must be checked and approved to make sure they don't break phone functionality or include unacceptable or malevolent content.

The Marketplace supports four business models: free apps, paid apps, advertising-supported apps and "freemium" apps with a basic set of functions for free, and enhanced functionality available at a cost.

Ultimately, users will be able to pay for apps via their cell phone account, but at launch, you'll need a credit card.

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