Together with the recent wave of Windows Phone "Mango" news, Microsoft announced that the a Web-based version of Windows Phone Marketplace for apps and games will be coming as part of “Mango”, complementing the one in the Zune software and on Windows Phone. You can read more about Microsoft’s announcement on the Windows Phone Developer blog.
What’s particularly interesting is that on the screenshot provided on the official blog post, it appears to feature a completely redesigned Windows Phone portal. Interestingly, on the top navigation bar, you can see a reference to "My Phone", as shown below:
We’re not entirely sure whether this will simply take you to Windows Phone Live (http://windowsphone.live.com), or will it feature a completely new experience. Given the new web-based Windows Phone Marketplace will enable sign-in via Windows Live ID, it wouldn’t be surprising to integrate the whole experience together.
Remember that "My Phone" is actually an existing cloud service, similar to Windows Phone Live, for Windows Mobile 6.x devices. Besides supporting two different platforms, the main difference between the two is that Windows Phone Live is fully integrated with Windows Live services (such as SkyDrive, Calendar, and Contacts) while My Phone’s cloud service exist in its own silo. However, My Phone actually supports a greater range of backup options currently not available in Windows Phone Live, including backing up of all SMS text messages, favorites, music and videos. Not to mention the now-discontinued KIN Studio also features something similar to My Phone, but in a more engaging interface. Wouldn’t it be great to combine the best of the three?
There had long been rumours that KIN Studio-like features may make its way to Windows Phone Live, with Aaron Woodman, Director for Mobile Communications Business at Microsoft, saying the following during CES 2011:
We have a very, very small baby step with Windows Phone Live. It’s definitely part of the road map to have enriched services that make the phone more meaningful, and the Web more meaningful. That’s one way Windows Phone can continue to compete against Android.
With the Windows Phone itself getting so many updates in "Mango", we won’t be surprised that its easily-forgotten cloud-based counterpart Windows Phone Live is getting a major upgrade too. As Microsoft had promised, they will unveil more details about "Mango" over the next few weeks, let’s hope this means something.