Windows Blog not only announced the availability of Windows Phone Web Store in 37 new countries, they also introduced a new feature in Windows Phone 8 Web store. This feature allows you to download and sideload / install Windows Phone Apps using the SD or the media card (Sorry Lumia 920 Users).
This feature is an enhancement for users who have difficulty in downloading the app to the phone either because the app is too big and you don’t have a wifi network around or your phone does not have mobile network connection at that moment.
Note : This is limited to Windows Phone 8 users. Though SD card was supported in some Windows Phone 7.5 users but not for installing apps.
Downloading Windows Phone App, Manually
- First Go to WindowsPhone.com > Apps + Game > Search, and Select the app you want to download.
- Next Scroll down a bit, and look for a link which says “Download and install manually”, click on it.
- This will start downloading the xap file. Best part is you are not asked to sign in to your Microsoft account before downloading it. So anybody can do it for you, and carry it for you even on a USB.
- Next copy this XAP file to your SD or the media card.
Installing App from Media Card :
- Insert the media card in your phone.
- Click on the Windows Phone Store Tile.
- Select SD Card from the option.
- This will list down all the XAP files or the apps available.
- Tap to install and it will appear in its respective place.
Few facts you should know :
- The XAP file which you try to install from SD card gets verified with Windows Phone store to check if its the latest version else it will be marked as incompatible.
- The above steps makes it clear that you need to have Internet Connection before installing the app.
- Now once verified with the store, any free app or game can be used immediately. A paid which has a trial version will be instantly available but if the paid app has no trial, you will have to first buy it and then use it.
What is the major goal of this feature ?
So if, the App will be checked with the store anyways, even just for version check, what is the big idea behind this feature. IMO the big idea is to get the app to your phone, so if in your area data connectivity is a problem, you still can get the apps installed.
Secondly this feature is only available for windows phone which has SD card. Now since, this feature is mostly useful for users who stay around on a weak mobile internet, chances are that low end phones will sell pretty well in those areas.
Lastly, if you argue that heavy apps can be download over WIFI, then what do you do when you don’t have WIFI around ? Or your computer does not have a WIFI ? So even if you can have a computer at home which has decent internet speed, this feature is a big boon for you.