Along with the hardware, Windows Phone 7 devices also need to pair with software. That software is Zune which has just been updated to version 4.7. Be sure to download the correct bits for your version of Windows, the 32-bit version is not supported on 64-bit OS’s, you’ll need the 64-bit version for that. To be honest, little has changed since the last version with a couple of import exceptions.
Zune Software 4.7 now allows you to signup to Zune with your Windows Live ID from Australia. Previously this required a US-based account. Also one way to get apps to Windows Phones is to download and sync through Zune. Along with Videos, the Marketplace now has an APPS area. There’s all the usual categories or ‘genres’ on the left together with a list of ‘top paid’ and ‘top free’ apps. Considering the App Store is yet to officially launch, I’m assuming these are based of purchases from beta testers / reviewers.
So what’s in store for Australian WP7 applications ? It appears very little at this stage. We’d heard reports the initial batch of apps would be restricted to 2,000 at launch, but it was never confirmed just how many of them would make it here locally. As it stands right now, there’s only a handfull in each genre. Those that are there like RSS readers range in price from $1.30 to $6.30.
A surprising entry is GoVoice a Google Voice app. This showcases how the details of an application are displayed.
Something else to be aware of is that to purchase an application, you will have first needed to connect and associate a device with your Zune account.
Also added in the new version was the previously announced Video rentals from the desktop. While lots of Australians do have Xbox 360s and can use the Zune Video Marketplace there, almost everyone has a Windows desktop. So in the interest of increase potential market for the service, this move makes of lot of sense for Microsoft.
So what are the conditions ? It’s 420 Microsoft Points for a regular SD movie or higher for HD. This ties in with your Xbox Live points as its also associated with the same Live ID. The terms of the rental are such that you have 14 days to start watching and 24 hours after you begin.
Disappointingly there is STILL no way to add podcasts to a playlist or get a single list of unplayed episodes. Seriously Zune team, get this feature added, now.