Web-based Windows Phone Marketplace

The ability to download and install applications directly from a web browser is a feature Android users have been enjoying for some time. But today, Microsoft takes a leaf out of Google's book and opens the doors to its web-based Windows Phone Marketplace.

Windows Phone 7 users can now visit Microsoft's new web portal that will allow you to download new applications directly to your device. It's easier to search for downloads by breaking them down into two categories: apps and games.

You can then browse over 30,000 titles currently available to Windows Phone 7 users, with a selection of featured applications highlighted in a carousel at the top of the storefront, and dedicated sections for free, top, and new applications. You can also see what's on offer on Xbox Live.

When you find apps and games that you want to share with your friends, you now have the option to 'Like' them on Facebook, or tweet about them on Twitter. You can also rate and review applications from your computer — negating the need to write a long review on your smartphone's keyboard. This is one of the best new features, in my opinion. I've lost count of the number of times I've scrapped a review for an iOS app because I got halfway through and decided I couldn't write anymore on my iPhone's keyboard.

In addition to the Marketplace, there's a new 'My Windows Phone' page that allows users to manage their Xbox Live profile, Windows Live email, their SkyDrive storage and the Find My Phone feature.

The web-based service is available to 35 countries immediately, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and the United States.

Have you tried out the new web-based Windows Phone Marketplace yet? What do you think?