The app's opening panorama now has a "highlights page" (with featured apps displayed in a grid with author and rating information), "collections" page (list of categories / topics), a "new" page (filtered list of apps recently added to the Windows Phone Marketplace) and a "search" page.
As in earlier version of the app tapping on an app icon anywhere in the drops you into the appropriate app page in the Marketplace app, from where you can download and install the app in question. And the apps shown in App Highlights will be determined by your regional (market) setting. Nokia experts in each country curate the apps that they think are most likely to be suitable for their market.
The new opening page now displays 12 apps at a time, 9 of which can be seen without scrolling, double the number of the previous version of the app. Collections (topics lists) have also been expanded. There are currently 13 collections available in the UK version of the app (nokia collection, euro 2012, olympics games 2012, top apps, starter kit, news, travel kit, business apps, gaming, staff favourites, new and newsworthy, card and board games, and free productivity apps), compared to just three in the previous version of App Highlights (cool stuff, start kit, top apps). As indicated by the presence of a euro 2012 entry, collections can be updated dynamically to reflect current trends and events. App Highlights version 2.0 automatically updates both the collections list, as well as the apps listed in them, every time the app is started.
The new page lists apps that have recently been added to the marketplace. However, an app will only be shown here if it has been rated one or more times, which effectively acts as a basic quality filter (we calculate our quality app metric in a similar fashion).
The new search functionality show results in a pivot (popular, top rated, trending). Effectively this lets you create your own custom collection / app list, which is a easy way to keep track of apps around a specific topic or keyword. Searches can also saved for future use (with saved search terms shown in a list just below the main search box).
Both the "new" page and search results can be filtered by price (free / paid) and star rating. For example, you can make sure you see only the best apps by applying a four start filter here. It would be helpful if you could also specify a minimum number of ratings, so as the exclude apps that have just been rated a few times, but that's currently not available.
This beta version shows where Nokia is intending to take App Highlights. It's a significant up from the version that shipped with Nokia's first Windows Phone devices, taking the app discovery tool from a nice to have option, to something that's a really useful companion to the main Marketplace app.
App Highlights is the best way to discover great apps in Marketplace. Tell us what you like and we'll show you personalized recommendations based on your interests. We'll also let you know when new apps matching your favorite searches become available, and keep you up to date with a hand-picked selection of the newest and hottest apps in store.