Windows Phone 7 shows off unlockable features in apps

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Microsoft demonstrated one of their latest features, unlockable games from the trial-mode directly inside of the application, as spotted by istartedsomething.  Unlike Apple and Google's mobile marketplace, Microsoft will allow users to instantly upgrade games after trying it first from right inside the app.

Microsoft has included a handy API for developers (LicenseInfo) to allow users to play the trial game first, then unlock the game without downloading another app.  Microsoft is using the same concept as their Xbox360 Arcade marketplace, where users download the full game but with limited features, and can unlock the game without having to download again.

Apple and Google's Android currently allows users to download trial versions of games, and if they wish to purchase it, requires the user to purchase and download the full version of the game.

Although including trial-modes in games are not a requirement by Microsoft, it can be very helpful for developers, and even users, to maintain one code, one application and to also limit what features the trial can offer.

With the ability to support licenses for games and applications, developers can include subscription based services into their applications, with the possibility of unlocking specific features for advanced users, while standard users wouldn't need to pay for services they don't need.

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image credit: istartedsomething.com

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Man, why are they using buttons that look like the windows classic theme in one of those 'high contrast' blind people themes? -_- Everyone else has shiny buttons and stuff!

Not emitting a color (i.e. black, or the color of the screen) reduces power consumption as opposed to emitting a color (anything not the color of the screen).

Nas said,
Not emitting a color (i.e. black, or the color of the screen) reduces power consumption as opposed to emitting a color (anything not the color of the screen).

They coulda at least put a small gradient on the thing. It looks so ugly and plain right now, just like windows 95, except inverted! > there's even regular cellphones (not smart phones) with prettier UI than this!

My carrier won't release the Galaxy S until mid September at the earliest.
If a decent W7 phone is announced, I may end up ditching Android altogether.

Microsoft is definitely going all-out with the Windows Phone integration and using techniques they've learned in other instances. Kudos!

LOL..this kind of stuff can re-edit by apple/google android anytime soon without a doubt this won't make much different for Windows P7 !

c3ntury said,
Pretty good stuff, if Windows keeps this up I might be getting a Windows phone

Yeah, Microsoft really has things together for WP7... I can't wait to get one.

I thought this was what Apple called "In App Purchases". I've bought extra features this way on iPhone. I don't see why this would be any different. Apple suggests developers "load lazily". I think it actually makes more sense. Why download a 2 GB game to a mobile device when the trial portion is 100 MB and you end up not even buying the thing. I'm with Apple and Google on this one! Not surprised by the route Microsoft took....

In App Purchases aren't allowed on free apps, Apple says free apps stay free. This way you can download a demo of a game, unlock it in the game, and have it instantly unlocked. Apple's way would require you to download another app that costed money. These demos are better since they can allow trials which have all functionality for a limited amount of time. So yes if you wanted to try out all functionality, you would need to download 2GB twice on Apple's AppStore. Microsoft's way is much better, download it once, unlock all functionality whenever you want.

Electric Jolt said,
In App Purchases aren't allowed on free apps, Apple says free apps stay free. This way you can download a demo of a game, unlock it in the game, and have it instantly unlocked. Apple's way would require you to download another app that costed money. These demos are better since they can allow trials which have all functionality for a limited amount of time. So yes if you wanted to try out all functionality, you would need to download 2GB twice on Apple's AppStore. Microsoft's way is much better, download it once, unlock all functionality whenever you want.

In-app purchases are allowed on Free Apps, a while back Apple changed their mind and allowed it!

crazyfish said,
I thought this was what Apple called "In App Purchases". I've bought extra features this way on iPhone. I don't see why this would be any different. Apple suggests developers "load lazily". I think it actually makes more sense. Why download a 2 GB game to a mobile device when the trial portion is 100 MB and you end up not even buying the thing. I'm with Apple and Google on this one! Not surprised by the route Microsoft took....

This has to be the silliest post I've read today. APPLE'S solution requires you to download the game twice. Microsoft's requires you to download it once. How then would Microsoft's solution (In any way, shape, or form) EVER require you to download more than the Apple store would? Silly.

And I would really love to be pointed to a 2GB mobile app...

This is what I wish Apple had with games! Majority of the time the games I want to try out don't have a 'lite' version and the reviews online do it no justice when I want to judge for myself.. I've spent a small amount on games I don't play since the first time loading up, realized how awful it was.

Cupcakes said,
This is what I wish Apple had with games! Majority of the time the games I want to try out don't have a 'lite' version and the reviews online do it no justice when I want to judge for myself.. I've spent a small amount on games I don't play since the first time loading up, realized how awful it was.

This. But the app store is so big it can not be sorted.

Cupcakes said,
This is what I wish Apple had with games! Majority of the time the games I want to try out don't have a 'lite' version and the reviews online do it no justice when I want to judge for myself.. I've spent a small amount on games I don't play since the first time loading up, realized how awful it was.

I agree. Trials are necessary for me to buy almost anything. With this, the marketplace is going to be successful!

Cupcakes said,
This is what I wish Apple had with games! Majority of the time the games I want to try out don't have a 'lite' version and the reviews online do it no justice when I want to judge for myself.. I've spent a small amount on games I don't play since the first time loading up, realized how awful it was.

iOS 3.2 has unlockable in-app purchases. A lot of game and app developers already use this to allow unlocking of full versions and extra features. However, if you buy a full version of an app which is completely separate to the trial version, the full version database remains separate to the trial one, which is a pain.

andrewbares said,

I agree. Trials are necessary for me to buy almost anything. With this, the marketplace is going to be successful!

I agree as well. This is a big deal to me.

Cupcakes said,
This is what I wish Apple had with games! Majority of the time the games I want to try out don't have a 'lite' version and the reviews online do it no justice when I want to judge for myself.. I've spent a small amount on games I don't play since the first time loading up, realized how awful it was.
. Me too

Dessimat0r said,
... if you buy a full version of an app which is completely separate to the trial version, the full version database remains separate to the trial one, which is a pain.

Hence the reason for the comparison in the article.

djdanster said,
Couldn't this be exploited with a custom ROM?

No. They say "you don't need to download the game again". Is true. Also is true you will need to download another file, something like "DRM license key". This file will give the app information about your cellphone, and your Xbox Live or Hotmail user (Maybe isn't needed) and the app will read this and automatically will restart and load with all the features unlocked since it got loaded with your cellphone and your data validated.

If you try to copy the game, and this new file to another cellphone, wouldn't unlock anything since it doesn't belong to this new phone.

Pretty cool huh?

They learned a lot with the Xbox 360 and the license of apps. A modded console (or cellphone) wouldn't make the difference here.

Pulgafree said,

No. They say "you don't need to download the game again". Is true. Also is true you will need to download another file, something like "DRM license key". This file will give the app information about your cellphone, and your Xbox Live or Hotmail user (Maybe isn't needed) and the app will read this and automatically will restart and load with all the features unlocked since it got loaded with your cellphone and your data validated.

If you try to copy the game, and this new file to another cellphone, wouldn't unlock anything since it doesn't belong to this new phone.

Pretty cool huh?

They learned a lot with the Xbox 360 and the license of apps. A modded console (or cellphone) wouldn't make the difference here.

That's great, but I hope there's some mechanism to transfer your apps should you upgrade your phone. I know some people do this a lot, so it would be a concern for them...

M_Lyons10 said,

That's great, but I hope there's some mechanism to transfer your apps should you upgrade your phone. I know some people do this a lot, so it would be a concern for them...

This will probably be handled the same way it is with the zune. You can have three devices synced up to one account and if you upgrade you just need to add the new one on.

Mr Spoon said,
So long as they do a version of Plants vs Zombies, then I will be happy

Yeah Plants vs Zombies rules !!!