Microsoft has made it easier to download Windows Phone 7 apps by integrating its app store with Bing Visual Search.
Launching in the U.S. and U.K. only, the rather clumsily-titled ‘Bing Visual Search Gallery for Windows Phone 7’ essentially puts a user-friendly interface to its mobile-based Marketplace store, letting users search, sort and download with ease.
After opening the app catalog, which displays apps by icons, users can simply click on an app and are taken to a download link in the Zune Marketplace; this feature requires installing Zune onto your PC.
“Whether you’re looking to sort by category- say games, music or productivity- or by price, rating, top downloads or the ever popular “free”, we’ve got you covered,” Bing wrote in a blog post.
Launched in September 2009, Microsoft added the Silverlight-powered Visual Search feature to its Bing search engine, showing icons instead of text-based results.
Last month, Microsoft said its month-old Windows Phone 7 Marketplace had reached 1,000 apps, including Twitter, Netflix, and Google search apps. In an apple-to-oranges comparison, the Android Market has collected 100,000 apps since it opened in 2008 and Apple’s app store claims to have over 300,000 apps since 2008.