"We know it's the experiences that mobile phones can offer to people that really matter," said Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices Division.
"The continued support from the world's top mobile operators, manufacturers and developers means you can choose the Windows phone, applications and experiences that are right for you."
A wide range of developers have already signed up to offer applications through Windows Marketplace for Mobile, including makers of productivity tools, information providers, mobile games developers and social networking sites.
There are over 20,000 applications available for Windows phones, but these have to be located and accessed through multiple distribution partners. Much like the iPhone App Store, Microsoft wants Windows Marketplace for Mobile to provide a central repository for these applications.
The Marketplace is due out later this year and customers will have the option to purchase applications with a credit card or have charges appear directly on their phone bill. Users will also be able to return an application after purchase within 24 hours for a full refund, and developers will be able to deliver updates to applications for free throughout the application lifecycle.
Microsoft has set up new partnerships with the Design Museum London and the Council of Fashion Designers of America to offer a variety of free designer themes for Windows-based mobile devices, including colour palettes and wallpapers. A Theme Generator will help owners create their own designs.
Microsoft is also releasing a free mobile version of Windows Live on 2 April giving Windows Mobile 6.x users access to mobile versions of Hotmail, Messenger, Contacts, Spaces and Search, along with enhanced photo uploading capabilities. The site can be accessed at wl.windowsmobile.com.
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