I am dual posting this to my blog and the WP7S Backstage, but expanding it here.
The more I think about it, I'm actually really liking the idea of a 3rd Party Hubs for Windows Phone. I’m actually not sure if ‘Hub’ is the right term here, nor how you would organize it on the phone.
Perhaps, these thoughts would best be thought of as an extension to the Marketplace Microsoft has planned.
My take would be like this:
- A development company agrees to the terms and conditions (and periodic reviews) of the Microsoft policies for creating and distributing apps. The company would be 'certified' by MS, but the certification could be revoked if the company isn't playing along.
- That company gets it's own marketplace (or a view inside the marketplace). It is the user's option to install it, not forced down every user's throat. Perhaps, as part of the PC integration (or on the phone itself) you can select which marketplaces appear in your search results, etc.
- Through that marketplace users are able to a) purchase or trial apps, b) rate the apps AND the marketplace.
- App developers will decide which marketplaces it wants to associate with (or marketplaces can court developers) and maintain their own quality standards (user approval, certification, etc.)
- The community will decide which apps and marketplaces survive and succeed (and which ones tank).
The problem with iPhone and the App Store is that they have 100 very good apps, a 1000 decent apps and 100,000 pieces of turd.
BUT, if you give me the option to shop at "Joe's Exotic Discount T-Shirts", "Walmart" or "Banana Republic", I know - going in - what to expect for quality.
This would also add the ability to open up “adult” boutiques to those who so choose that path. Likewise, as a parent (and someone who is not into that content) I could block 18+ markets from showing up in my searches.
If a developer could prove their quality and align with a like-minded store, I think that would be fabulous.
This means that Microsoft’s Marketplace would actually become a collection of boutiques and specialty stores, not a volume-driven box store.