Sure, Apple created the most popular and well-stocked mobile app store in the market, but does Apple provide a Web-based interface to it? No. Through Apple’s official channels, you can only browse the store’s contents in iTunes or on your iPhone/iPod Touch.
There is an unofficial site hosted on Google App Engine which provides roughly the same experience Apple provides in iTunes, but it lacks search functionality, and if you try to download something, it launches the iTunes installer.
To prevent this problem, Windows Marketplace for Mobile, the app store for Windows Phones, launched a Web-based storefront yesterday. Users can now go to marketplace.windowsphone.com to browse, search, buy, and download Windows Mobile apps from within their browser.
When users select an application from the site, it’s put a the download queue which will immediately run the next time the Marketplace client is run on the user’s mobile device.
“Marketplace has been extremely active and I couldn’t be happier with the reactions from both developers and customers,” Microsoft’s senior director of mobile services, Todd Brix said. “We’ve been open for just over one month and already we can see that there’s demand for an application marketplace that doesn’t compromise on quality or experience.”
Out of the many app stores put up in the last year, only a few storefronts have been brought to the Web browser. The Web-based Android Market, for example, provides a weak overview of what is available instead of an actual database of the more than 10,000 Android apps available. Users cannot buy directly from the official Web interface, either.
The Web interface for BlackBerry App World, however, has a substantial catalog which can be browsed, and apps can be sent as emailed links to the user’s device.