Windows Marketplace, Microsoft's mobile answer to Apple's app store, has been beaten to release by a rival application.
Handmarket Apps for Windows Mobile launched on Tuesday, offering users of phones running Windows Mobile 6.0 and up access to over 600 applications and games, as well as around 50,000 ringtones and wallpapers.
The marketplace, created by mobile media company Handmark, has given itself a head start of at least a month on Microsoft, which has Windows Marketplace slated to arrive in early fall alongside its Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system upgrade, according CNET's Download Blog.
To reward early adopters, Handmark has opened the store with an 80 per cent reduction on some Windows Mobile games.
The free app store's launch ahead of its rival is likely to attract increased numbers to it, although there's a likelihood some will jump ship once the built-in store and billing system is released by Microsoft
While currently available only in North America, Handmark has confirmed it plans to expand support internationally in the future.