Microsoft has started pushing out Windows Phone 7.5 Mango software. This means that sometime in the next week or so there’s a good chance existing Windows Phone 7 users will be prompted to download and install an update. There are plenty of new features coming in Mango, including tighter integration with Microsoft’s SkyDrive cloud services, improved social networking and music features, and turn-by-turn driving directions.
Microsoft is also making it easier to discover Windows Phone apps — even if you don’t have a Windows Phone device. Anyone can now browse or search for apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace using a shiny new web interface.
You can view featured apps and games from the home screen, and sort apps by free, top, and new. Clicking on any app takes you to a page where you can views screenshots, reviews, and more details. And if you do have a supported device you can login with your Windows Live ID to purchase apps from the website.
The process isn’t quite as smooth as Google’s. If you have an Android device, you can tap a button on the web and your phone or tablet will automatically start to download and install an application. But the Windows Phone Marketplace will instead send you a link via email or SMS. You have to click on that link to start installing the app.