Microsoft improving the Windows Phone Store experience with new features

Microsoft seems to be constantly tweaking and fine tuning the Windows Phone Store experience. The latest upgrades will be seen with Windows Phone 8 store and covers a few design changes, a little under the hood tweaks and a hand full of new features.  All designed to help consumers with app and game selection and to help developers get thier works seen.

If you are curious if an app or game has Live Tile support, the Details Page of the application will make note if the app has a Live Tile.  This may not be a major improvement but how many out there have been curious is an app or game they are shopping for has Live Tile support and it's not noted in the description?

The under the hood upgrade deals with the algorithms that are used to generate app lists. This will not only help consumers find quality apps and games but also developers by improving exposure for quality, stable apps. According to the Windows Phone team,

"Previously the list algorithms were based primarily on downloads over time. Now we’re able to factor in measures including an app’s customer rating, how frequently it’s pinned or unpinned from Start, and performance (does it crash often?) to determine its overall ranking."

This algorithm change will provide better ranking and discoverability of apps.

The Windows Phone Store upgrades includes a few new features to help you find apps and help you decide what apps and games are appropriate for your kids.

Windows Phone Store Collections

Collection is a new feature that should appeal to the consumer interested in specific kinds of apps. Each Store will have thirty collection that will include six to twenty apps tailored to each collection.  Currently there are 450 Collections spread out across 19 Windows Phone markets with more to come.

Picks for You is a new personalized recommendation engines that suggests apps and games based on what Windows Phone users already own and what their friends own.

Windows Phone My Family

You also have the My Family (opens in new tab) feature on the Windows Phone website that is designed to make it easier for parents to decide when their children can buy apps or games. My Family will also let you determine which game ratings they are allowed to play on their Windows Phone 8 devices. It reminds me a little of the Family Center (opens in new tab) over on our Xbox Live accounts.

When you find that app you've been looking for, you can buy your apps through the new Wallet feature and expanded payment options including PayPal and Bing Rewards. There may be limitations to these options based on your location.

And Microsoft isn't overlooking the Windows Phone 7.5 shopping experience. There will be a new algorithm put into place that takes into account downloads, customer ratings and actual usage patterns for a more accurate image of what is trending in lists such the Top, Free and New filters.

All in all these efforts are designed to get consumers to quality apps and games in a faster, more efficient manner.  The changes will also help developers get their apps and games seen through the improve algorithms and more refined selections such as the Collections and Picks for You features.

Source: Windows Phone Developer Blog (1 (opens in new tab))(2 (opens in new tab))

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.

  • Amazing how fast windows phone 7 has been forgotten by Microsoft
  • try to read a little better. 
    And Microsoft isn't overlooking the Windows Phone 7.5 shopping experience. There will be a new algorithm put into place that takes into account downloads, customer ratings and actual usage patterns for a more accurate image of what is trending in lists such the Top, Free and New filters.
    It's right there, you just didn't read it.  WP8 is an important step, they aren't forgetting you just improving and working on new stuff.  You also still have 7.8 that is coming up soon.
  • What is this Windows Phone 7 thing you speak of? (Lumia 710 user)
  • Learn to read
  • You didn't read that correctly: That is why you fail.
  • Get over it already... Enough with the crying about how we are left behind. Most people (not all) who purchase a Lumia 900 were already aware new phones were coming.
    Technology marches ahead and Microsoft needs to battle giants in the battlefield. I personally felt burned for quite awhile but business is business.
    Either wait or upgrade but enough complaining about this old topic....
  • I really hope this does the trick because the search and lists on WP store are horrible. 
    Sometimes search results are just bizarre when i don't get the obvious popular choice first, but 6 ringtones and then the proper app. 
  • Damn, that's a gorgeous phone.
  • Funny you said that because the second i saw that picture of the 8x I thought dam that looks good." smacks self against the head"
  • "When you find that app you've been looking for, you can buy your apps through the new Wallet feature and expanded payment options including PayPal and Bing Rewards."
    Bing Rewards?! Oh snap!
    Already got some Amazon gift  cards and XBL point cards through Bing Rewards. Can't wait to get some "free" apps too.
  • WP store credits are listed as a reward on Bing rewards right now.  535 points for $5 worth of store credit.  Not great, but definitely an achievable and worthwhile goal.
  • I saw an exclusive HP app on my HP Laptop. I can't remember what it is because I'm not home but it looks like manufactures and carriers can start playing this exclusive game like Nokia
  • Needs to be a changelog pivot.
  • I'd like a bookmark feature (ala webOS).
    And for a given app, do they show the date of the last update - or just when it was released (not as useful)?
  • This has been happening for centuries. OEMs often bundle their own software with Windows on their machines. It is also true that 99% of the time, it is utter crap and only weighs down the machine.
    This exclusive HP app thing is just a natural evolution of this concept. Good for you though, at least you'll be able to get rid of it.
  • It's been happening for millenia
  • I hope it doesnt slow down my 7.5
  • Can someone help me??? I have an unlocked HTC on the TMobile Network.. And my phone hasn't received any upgrade in months. I believe I am two upgrades behind because I have a constantly dissapearing keyboard, and I don't have the new Windows Phone Store (its still Marketplace). I called HTC and the rep was acting like he didn't know what I was talking. His answer: "THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A SOFTWARE UPDATE FOR THE HTC TITAN.." Clearly, he failed. Soo can anyone help me out???
  • *HTC Titan on TMobile network
  • Oh good to see them adress issues with WP8 and completely leave WP7.5 users in the dark.
    Maybe some day when windows phone 9 comes , they will finally have Global Phone Search, search within texts, and MAYBE , JUST MAYBE , they will let you use a custom ringtone for your email, or text messages. 
  • nice improvements, but i hope the algorithm changes also improve the relevance of 'related apps'. its comical that for every game the related ones shown are just the top xbox live ones... even for the wpcentral app, all i see is the top news and (mostly) weather apps in the category.. not very useful. it should at least filter by subgenre for games and maybe related keywords for apps..
    also, one thing i've been wanting to see from day-one is a separation of 'games' and 'apps'. the store already lists them as separate categories, which is nice, but then we have the 'top apps' list always showing mainly games; kind of defeats the purpose behind the split.
  • The apps and games have been separated through the course of these changes. They're now only combined on the Spotlight page but that only highlight the top 6 paid or free apps. There are then links to 'all top free apps' or 'all top free games', etc., which are completely separated. It took far too long to happen but it's definitely there!