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221

New images reveal an overhauled Store for Windows Phone 8.1, includes automatic app updates and more

The Windows Phone 8.1 core has been finished today, so it seems appropriate to take a look at an area that is need of some improvement: the Windows Phone Store.

The Windows Phone Store has been both a source of inspiration (e.g. trials), and tribulations (e.g. weak tools for reviews). Luckily for you, it looks like the Windows Phone team is delivering some user-requested features and parity with Windows 8.1. Hopefully these changes will deliver a more satisfying user experience.

The information comes to us from people familiar with the matter, and we have been able to verify that the information is accurate. Having said that, there may be some changes to the final design for the RTM release of Windows Phone 8.1.


NEW Store layout for apps in 8.1

When it comes to graphic design, the Store has quite a few noticeable changes:

  • ‘Store’ is now capitalized
  • ‘Featured’ is now the first pane, with more than one app or game presented
  • ‘Quick Links’ with featured apps, games, Top, New + Rising Apps, etc.
  • ‘Categories’ section with general games, entertainment, lifestyle, etc.
  • ‘Personalized’ for app recommendations based on your history, likes and interests with the ability to dispose of recommendations via a ‘not interested’ button

Overall, the new scheme looks to be tighter with a heavier focus on promoting fresher and higher profile applications. It also resembles the Store on Windows 8.1, which should be expected as Windows Phone and Windows 8 come closer together in their development.


OLD store layout for apps in 8.0

Regarding new features, we’re told there will be quite a few that Windows Phone users have been clamoring for, including dedicated sections for:

  • My apps – Checks for updates
  • Downloads – See active downloads
  • App Updates – Option for automatic updates; only over Wi-Fi
  • Use my location – For better app suggestions


New Store design for 8.1, including Settings

When diving into an app or game listing, consumers will have various new additions to make the Store more potent:

  • New layout – overview, reviews, details, related (versus: details, reviews, screenshots, related)
  • Menu (via ellipsis) – New shortcuts to Home, Share, My Apps, Settings, Downloads
  • App screenshots merged below app description instead of own section
  • Reviews – This section gets a graph of stars for reviews; ability to sort reviews by most helpful, most recent, highest rated or lowest rated; users can judge user reviews as helpful/unhelpful
  • App details such as language, version number, last updated is now on a separate page

While the screenshots here are from a slightly older build of Windows Phone 8.1, they should convey these general changes that are expected in the final release. We’ll have to reserve final judgment until we get our hands on 8.1 in the coming weeks, but so far it looks like the Windows Phone team has taken pointers from Windows 8.1 and consumer feedback to build off of an already solid foundation.

The ability to automatically download app updates see app update history and a more logical organization of software should make the Store an even better experience going forward.

What do you folks think of the changes? Let us know in comments!

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Comments

There are 221 comments. Sign in to comment

Studio384 says:

Great, looking forward to this update!

Kadcidxa says:

That joke is boring now.

hotraia says:

No it's not =P

hotraia says:

No it's not :|

hotraia says:

No it's not :'(

dalydose says:

It REALLY is.

Miistercoool says:

You didn't even use it right anyway -_-

hotraia says:

Then Mr. right how should I use it

We hate it every time, but it is usually for updates, ESPECIALLY Facebook app updates...

ahmadsamhann says:

just..stop.. I hate reading that joke because I have to dig the funny part in it. so please, 

chmun77 says:

Seems getting smaller..... here.....  :(

Arda Ozkal says:

lol lets reply 4ever to make this 1 px :)

Winnabe says:

Yes, it is not.

birdman_38 says:

No, it is not. Is.

sahib lopez says:

Well you're saying it wrong :P

pedrodg28 says:

There's a special place in hell for you....

J4rrod says:

Not it's not

Daniel Meek says:

Would you rather debate about the Store's ability to 'run crysis'?

pierrerv says:

It's funny cause it didn't make any sense

greedypnguin says:

IM sensing hostility >_>

Talk4Lig says:

Cool, but I hope they will change the boring black background to something like the main picture of this article ;)

Studio384 says:

A design close to the Windows Store would be nice. :)

Talk4Lig says:

That's not a bad idea. The store would feel a lot more greener (xboxish) xD

twentythreee says:

That's true, this one rocks. Looks a bit XBOX-themed.

Reach4zasky says:

How is black boring ???Who gives a fook about colour?? Windows Phone ain't for sissies.

NIST says:

Who gives a took about color, says the man using a screaming yellow Lumia.

chmun77 says:

Your reply is really........ disappointing.... Don't tell others you are a windos phone user. Disgrace us.

Forc3 says:

I find it quite funny that the Playstore App look a ton more Beautiful then the WP store App. Thats hilarious and sad at the same time. Fix that Microsoft.

Marco Gomes1 says:

The dark themes are one of the most appealing"things" in WP imo. If they're to change it at least make it optional.

ortizang says:

You know everybody is begging for the background pictures, I think Microsoft will include that option but they are keeping it as a secret to be revealed in April. Maybe that's most requested feature!!!

2tomtom says:

Background pictures creates a translucent effect which is visually appealing.

Coolaaron88 says:

Love the new store!

Denegar says:

No, no... You mean "Store". The "S" is now capitalized. :P

Jonas_H says:

Ah, finally a more detailed WiFi icon in the status bar! :)
I really like the new review section. So much better!

DreadVenom says:

Nice spot there. Could never really tell how good your connection to WiFi is.

hotraia says:

I actually have seen but it was like it's normal thing but when I read this comment I like omg O_O =)

EzraWard says:

Wait, does the WiFi icon right now actually not show signal strength? 

Yea it shows all bars or none

Unless the screen shots were taken mid-connection when the icon animates..

That can also be true, but I think it will show you the signal in 8.1

Tech King says:

sweet!!!!!!! Keep them coming WPCentral & Microsoft!!! WP8.1 is gonna be AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!! cant wait to get in on my phone!!
+925

Awesome! Automatic updates will remove the need to have a store live tile. I currently only have the store live tile to know when updates are available.

Shantek says:

I'm not sure im a fan of automatic updates. You then don't know what's updated. Usually i check out a store listing to see what's new the the time i update the apps/games

DJRedLine says:

Its an option so you can still update manually if you want

NINJA PLZ says:

IOS tells you what's new when you have automatic updates, so I don't think that's a problem.

Jack Larson1 says:

Auto updates on my iPod are very annoying, it leaves the "Updated" section for about a week or two, so you have piles and piles of already updated apps, most of which are minor bug fixes. Glad this is an option for 8.1

glassadam says:

Android tells you when and what apps have auto-updated as a listing in the notification center. Hopefully WP8.1 follows suit.

Jack Larson1 says:

I hope that list can be cleared on demand though, it gets crowded quickly.

djgreedo says:

It's great for developers. I occasionally check my crash reports and I still see crashes from people using really old versions of my apps...crashes that have all been fixed in the latest version.

 

It seems that a lot of users simply don't bother (or know) to update apps.

dukrem says:

Unfortunately those same users may not know/bother to update to 8.1.

WishuKaiser says:

The Action Center features ghost notifications right? Maybe there will be a section for the Store, that show us new updates or done updates. I think this would be the best way. I also hate to have the Store Tile on my screen, I don’t use it unless there is an update.

KrankyKoder says:

I have to say, I'm not a fan either.

There's no way to look at update history of store apps. 

There should be an update history for store apps, just as there is for Windows updates.

jaethos says:

I don't care about automatic updates, but I'm really looking forward to manually checking for updates all at once. No more having to go to each app if I want the update before my phone checks in the evening.

WishuKaiser says:

Oh yes. One of the most annoying things on Windows Phone.

I cant wait for Build; April 2 :)

I just cant wait until build:(
And im afraid if they say that pushing updates starts later ....

Marco Gomes1 says:

Do you really believe you'll get 8.1 by "build" time?! Really?!?!

erzhik says:

Off topic, but why is when I leave a review, it always shows up as User?

Kyle Stilkey says:

I know this happens due to one of two things, if you havn't fully setup your Microsoft account with info, besides a email or if your privacy settings are set to private to protect you info.

Because you are a user, perhaps.

glassadam says:

At least you can see your reviews! I can never find mine, and it leads me to believe they don't get posted.

Auto-updating and being able to look for updates are the two things I'm most excited for with the Store overhaul. 

DreadVenom says:

My 1020 is purring at the greatness that awaits it.

damo579 says:

Same here can't wait.

AskaLangly says:

Manual update checking. I APPROVE.

DJCBS says:

Will have to test it. I'm not a fan of the W8.1 store so I'm not sure I'll like the changes on the WP one, but we'll see. I'll judge it when I try it.

SwimSwim says:

I personally won't use automatic updates (I like to keep tabs on updates, #ControlFreak). But awesome for those desiring this feature.

thaman04 says:

I totally agree... BUT with the new Notification Centre/Action Centre, it'll show you a the notification that it was updated! :D

blackfire says:

That would be awesome. Sorry if I missed any previous article, but has that feature to show updated apps in the notification / action center been already rumored to be in for WP8.1?

SwimSwim says:

I'm not sure if the Store is getting integration into the Action Center or not. I've not heard anything of it. Guess we'll find out in 7 days.

SwimSwim says:

I just keep the Store app as a Small Tile on my Start Screen, it the top row on the far right. That way, whenever app updates are waiting for me: I just look at the Store tile.

But I suppose that's the great thing about the Action Center: it lets users make the choice to have the most important stuff on their Start Screens, and the less important stuff in the Action Center.

Talderon says:

It shows you that apps were updates, but not which ones.

dalydose says:

I like to read what's new in the updates.

SwimSwim says:

Exactly my point. I wouldn't be happy if I were to open an app one day and find everything has been changed.

Nay, I keep all my updates manual: as a preference. That way I can keep on top of what's doing what and when.

ScubaDog says:

The purchase history is sort of okay, of value basically if you are setting up a new phone.  I didn't have any issues with the current layout, so there's nothing about the new layout that I really care about.  I don't care to have apps suggested to me, period.  I am not so lame that I care what is "trending" because I frankly don't care what anyone else is downloading.  I do like the ability to update apps automatically rather than waiting on a prescribed time for the notification to show up in the Store live tile.  The Downloads is a bit useless since I can't think of a single time when I felt the need to WATCH the download of apps (and they usually are so fast that the time is negligible anyway).  So, overall this is "meh".

Welcome change, specially the My apps section is welcome addition. Automatic update is very good to have feature.

MrVol84 says:

Giggitty!

Posted via the WPC App for Android!

Cleveland2k says:

Yay a new store! Its about time, cause I'm tired of this old, basic, tired store that's been used since wp7. We needed a refresh.

astroXP says:

The layout between the  WP7.x Marketplace and WP8.0 store did change.

Evan Thomas says:

I've been hoping they're gonna separate Apps and Games into two different sections of the store. Anyone know if that's gonna happen?

thaman04 says:

What do you mean?  Apps and games are separate categories.  They're both considered 'apps' but they are classified under different categories.

Maybe he meant the default store search? That messes up apps and games together...

evath says:

Exactly. I want to be able to search for an app, or search for a game. Separate searches. Like Music, or Podcasts.

Its a basic need. They should've fixed it over changing "store" to "Store"... Lets hope they fixed it as everything isn't out yet ;)

CanGueler says:

Indeed they are separated :P

Camaroon says:

This, and the notification center, are probably the two updates I'm looking forward to the most.  I've lived without a notification center since 2010 so I'm fine without it, but it's a welcome addition.  And the store has needed updating for a while.  If they also improve on the related apps section, which I used heavily with Android and had good luck with, then this will be a huge win!

Aashish13 says:

Man I love icon

I wish it was in India...

traduma says:

Nice. We have to wait for one more week.

Ultimateone says:

I hope we get surprised next week at Build and not having everything already leaked 

RaRa85 says:

And hopefully "related apps" will actually be related. Lets go baby!

luuch says:

Lol hopefully

xankazo says:

Not having a "My apps" section is REALLY retarded. I'm glad they're "fixing" that. And again... I CANT WAIT!!

I wish they had re-designed that Quick Links screen... It looks uggly!

Even more stoked for 8.1! This is going to be so much more than I expected 8.1 to be :) 

Any chance the store will have a landscape view?

Talderon says:

No. :( Would be nice though.

anirban130 says:

Beginning of new era with 8.1, waiting to hit my rig with this update...

I knew they would do this they needed too and they shouldn't stop point blank because windows phone is growing :D

Aashish13 says:

If the store could allow us to contact the developers via email. So that we can request them showing more interest by launching more apps for wp.

borasar says:

If the dev's app is in the store they already released the app, in which case they'll track download rates and can tell if there is demand for their apps.

thaman04 says:

A 'developer' page would be a great idea!  Like where we can see a profile, review them, and see all their apps and optional contact information.  But I feel some developers prefer to keep their info private, and keep their support/contact options on the 'about' page WITHIN their apps.

CobraJ82 says:

At last they fixed that dull miserable place.

msftguy says:

Slap me! you are saying win store did not have an automatic update ?

keep your eyes open MSFT developers ... see what your competitors doing ... try to be on top of them 

The search results are terrible, hopefully they fix that

 

Many a times the official apps are hidden by unofficial ones when looked for. That really sucks...

thegooner says:

Hopefully they'll fix search for the apps. So frustrating to not find an app, even when we know it's out there. E.g couldn't find Facebook Beta and was lucky WPCentral had the link in the article.

thaman04 says:

That's becaues the Beta is set to private.  You need a link to download it.

CanGueler says:

A bit of a fail on youre side here :D

thegooner says:

Heh :) Of all the examples I could have come up with, I had to choose one of a beta app lol

doubleodon says:

Unfortunately, MS is getting a reputation for brain dead search.

I actively try to avoid the search in the WP Store, and now rely mostly on WPCentral links.

A competent 21st century search capability is a foundation piece of a first class ecosystem.

I am hopeful that MS will step it up, or they will need to step back so that they don't get hurt as the rest of the world rushes by.

(tough love comments)

Maybe your search queries are the problem, I've never not been able to find an app in the store.

ebin5 says:

Search for youtube and in all those results it is some web apps except mytube wheras mettotube and toib is not seen.MS need to fix this first.

gonza1520 says:

Can't wait to see all the new features! It needs a major overhaul! This doesn't seem major, but it will do...for now.

mango.lover says:

Daniel, I have a request for the Modern WPC app. Can you make it like the Windows Phone app where we can see a slideshow of the images for an article. I wanted to zoom in on the store screenshots but was unable to do so within the app.

Neo Nuke says:

You need to direct that to Jay Bennett.

Tiodeen says:

There are two ways to zoom in on an image in the WPCentral. First, double tap the image inside the article itself which isolates the image and you can zoom or save to phone. Second, when inside an article, slide right and click "IMAGE" then zoom or save to phone.

aitt says:

As long as it don't become cluttered like Google Play

Omar 11 says:

Wish list
Is there a wish list

^^THIS!!!!
I don't feel like taking a screenshot of the app details when I can't download at such times, all the time. It is needed.

F3rzz says:

yes!! with music too

cyborg4 says:

I disapprove of the word "Store" being capitalized. It doesn't fit the rest of the OS.

Just my thoughts. The lower case was better and looked more native.

waqqas31 says:

They need to implement a "Wishlist" or a "Cart" where we can short list apps we are still thinking about or want to hold off downloading until we have a WiFi connection.

meathead88 says:

Hopefully download large apps over mobile data is an option. I have unlimited data and hate having to wait to get to a hotspot.

Agree, it really sucks when it denies me from downloading large apps without Wi-Fi. I always have to return home for downloading...

DVELOPinc says:

Totally agree. I have unlimited data and dropped my internet because my data is so much faster. So annoying to have to go hunt down a reliable enough hotspot to download apps\updates when my data can do it alot faster.

I believe they have already moved the limit up to 100 MB, how often are you updating 100+ GB apps?

"App Updates – Option for automatic updates; only over Wi-Fi"

Why only over Wi-Fi? Why can't we choose if we really want to!? There are many unlimited plans 3G/4G over there.

12Danny123 says:

No in other,places around the world. There isn't

Again, why cant we choose? If you have a unlimited plan you should be able to download.

DVELOPinc says:

Agreed 100% Let us choose.

We don't have a decent and working unlimited 3G plan at least here and whichever are available, are way too costlier than my unlimited Wi-Fi plan that I prefer, but still I believe MSFT should have nothing to say regarding our file download size limit and automatic updates (if its so).

Talderon says:

Ok. The only over Wi-Fi is an option you can turn OFF. This means it will download over cellular unless you tell it only over Wi-Fi.

Why is store now capitalized? Does that mean pictures and people are now capitalized too?

Man "Was this helpful? Yes | No" is the feature I was dying for. This will certainly eradicate the me-too factor and stupid comments reactions...

The_Lord23 says:

Yes, yes, YES!!...ahem...

sumton says:

i prefer windows 8 store design

I see W8.1 and WP8.1 coming closer in terms of store too ;)

CanGueler says:

Exactly what I wished for. 8.1 is shaping to be the best thing happens to Windows Phone to date

Darren Walsh says:

They are copying the wpc layout a bit lol

MrVol84 says:

Daniel gets all the good post! Haha

neonspark says:

AUTOMATIC APP UPDATES!!!!

The innovation has arrived!

I like that too, just as it is in Xbox & Windows 8... however, I also like to know when apps are updated so that I can check what has changed.
Maybe there will be a notification that an update has been installed.

Tafsern says:

It might be, or you can do it the old way :) 

sdreamer says:

Looks really good. Looks more like a mature store interface.

colinkiama says:

All this is good but will the OS still be fast for 512mb devices?

MrSimmix says:

Anyone notice that the WiFi signal at the top of the screen is now actually showing the strength of the signal (been waiting for this for a long time!)

crise says:

Don't get your hopes up, this can also be seen when the WiFi is connecting, if the screenshot was taken at this very moment, you are going to be disappointed.

MrSimmix says:

Gee, thanks. Now all my excitement is gone. Lol

Tafsern says:

You seem even slower than slow. 

crise says:

I wish I could disable all suggestions for games. I don't ever play any. A checklist for what categories you're interested in would be nice.
Also, I would like to see number of downloads.
And at last, they better not make the OS inconstant by only giving the store a capital letter...

aldofarias82 says:

This week of crappy news is killing me slowly, guys at WPC why didn't you just took some well deserved vacations instead?

rysliv says:

What about app updates? There needs to be some separate change log rather than just pulling up the app description every time. It's nice to know what's new in each release, not every developer keeps their app descriptions up to date.

Talderon says:

Unless the developer provides it, how is MS supposed to k ow and provide that info?

By making it a requirement like on iOS. 

QilleRz says:

Looking forward for this ! But I don't think I will download the developer preview cause still don't want to break my warranty yet.

powerd says:

On a side note, can we have the WPCentral app free for a day? I'm sure all the readers will appreciate it.

BioSmart says:

I hope that too

powerd says:

Please send me a cheque though even cash would be fine. Thanks.

Sekyal says:

I hope the app recommendations works correctly. In Win8 I say "not interested" and apps show back up. It doesn't work as it should, so ends up being useless.

I just wish you could "Download" a free app or an app you already own and "Buy" a paid app.  That terminology drives me crazy when I already own it. 

spazzmeister says:

The signs of an immature product.

Lasp24 says:

Best part is definetely that users can rate the ratings. That way Bad/ meaningless ratings won't hurt the developer as much

 

twint7787 says:

Thank the lord. I hate when I see a user give 1 star and then literally say nothing, or worse, make a comment that seems to have nothing to do with the app.

BioSmart says:

Please make this awesome app FREE

TechAbstract says:

Now, if we could have option to revert to previous working version of an app. Some app updates mess up, would be nice to have that option to go back.

Here's hoping they make the "Top" and "New+Rising" categories worth a damn. As it stands, they're usually populated with garbage that has garbage ratings, and not even necessarily a lot of them.

venetasoft says:

I hope they add the feature to run an app I own from the Store too, like in other platforms. Often I search for an App I already have, and it s a pain to search it again from the app list :)

corproberts says:

I wanted them to add how many downloads an app has had.

Jacob Heston says:

For god sake i hope they have an actual wallpaper for your tile screen in this update. Not like the ones on the tiles in all these leaked photos. Ill be very disappointed!

JimmyRespawn says:

Really looking forward to it. I am really getting tired of seeing two-color interface. Glad they make some difference. :)

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