Microsoft's Windows Phone Store adds search, app install options

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Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is updating the online outpost of its Windows Phone Store application marketplace, adding streamlined search results as well as SD card-enabled software installs.

Windows Phone Store now boasts a universal search feature that collects app query results and how-to articles in one place, making it easier and faster for consumers to find what they're seeking. The store also supports app installation via SD card, a feature integrated into many Windows Phone 8 models. "This option can be useful when a cellular or Wi-Fi data connection isn't available," explains Microsoft Director of Program Management Mazhar Mohammed. "Just look for the 'Download and install manually' link on the app's details page. Click to download the app's installation--or.xap--file, which can then be copied over to the phone's SD card and installed."

Microsoft is also introducing an improved app reinstallation feature in conjunction with Windows Phone Store's My Phone user portal. "This feature comes in handy particularly if you lose a phone or upgrade to Windows Phone 8," Mohammed notes. "As long as you use [the] same Microsoft account, you'll see a Reinstall option beside each of the apps in your purchase history--just click it to put the app back on your new phone. This feature is available for both free and paid apps, which you don't have to buy again."

With the latest update, Windows Phone Store for the Web is now available to consumers in 112 markets worldwide, adding 37 new locations in Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The online marketplace complements the on-device Store, which is available in 191 markets across the globe.

Windows Phone Store stocks more than 120,000 mobile apps and games in all. Last month, Microsoft overhauled the storefront with the introduction of Picks for You, a personalized app recommendations tool powered by the company's Bing search engine. Picks for You offers suggestions based on the user's app download history as well as apps installed by Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) friends: Windows Phone Store also recommends multiple apps commonly downloaded together and pushes apps that are popular near the consumer's location.

Microsoft also rolled out Collections, which bundles six or more apps organized around a common theme and curated by Windows Phone Store staffers, as well as improved store lists spotlighting apps with high download counts and positive customer reviews.

For more:
- read this Windows Phone Blog entry

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