updated 09:55 am EDT, Mon April 11, 2011
Alleged Windows App Store images pop up
Talk of an app store in Windows 8 was rekindled Monday after a post showing what's supposedly early screenshots of the portal. So far titled the Windows App Store, it would have its own dedicated portal app to browse categories and charts. Cnbeta's copy had a sidebar that would both show the installed apps as well as a way to manage the download queue.
The catalog as shown was full almost exclusively of Microsoft apps, although it included a copy of Angry Birds as well as Starcraft II, Mozilla apps like Firefox and Thunderbird, and China-friendly services from QQ.
Internal testing has reportedly already progressed to where a beta is coming "soon."
The discovery hasn't been independently confirmed and could very possibly be fake. However, Microsoft has long been mentioned as developing an app store and has been developing a new app system that would lend itself directly to an app store. AppX is intended chiefly for Silverlight-based apps but would create monolithic bundles that would both be easier to install than traditional Windows apps and would streamline writing apps that could work on Windows Phone 7 and, possibly, the Xbox 360.
The presence of a store may explain Microsoft's vocal legal opposition to Apple's App Store trademark. While a chance exists that it might be called an app "mall," the current Windows App Store title would directly run afoul of Apple's trademark and force a name change. Microsoft has been trying to argue the term is generic but may have motives to launch its own store with a similarly simple name and take a cue from the Mac App Store.
Windows 8 isn't expected to ship until late 2012 and may not get its own first beta until around September. The timing wouldn't necessarily preclude a separate app store, however, and could see the portal, if real, launched earlier on Windows 7. [via WinRumors]