Microsoft announced a series of enhancements to its App Hub developer portal for the "Mango" release of the Windows Phone operating system. Developer submissions of Mango apps to begin in August.
Microsoft has released a bunch of new goodness for Windows Phone 7 developers, including the rollout of the new App Hub developer portal.
App Hub is where developers manage their account, change settings,
submit applications and stay up-to-date on Windows Phone. And Microsoft
has updated the App Hub for its "Mango" release of the phone operating
system. The updated App Hub features enhancements such as more
geographic markets for developers, consumers and advertising coverage;
new private distribution options; and enhanced application and account
management capabilities. Developers can begin submitting Mango apps to
App Hub in August, so Microsoft wants them to be prepared.
"The combination of new platform capabilities such as multitasking
and hardware-accelerated IE9 with the new opportunities that come from
our partnership with Nokia and expansion to twice as many consumer
markets is attracting a new wave of Windows Phone developers," said
Todd Brix, senior director of Windows Phone product management at
Microsoft, in a July 20 blog post about the new App Hub.
Brix said there are now 19 new consumer markets for Windows Phone
apps. "Starting today developers can publish their apps to consumers in
19 new countries, in addition to the 16 that Marketplace already
supports,' he said. "The 19 new markets include Brazil, Chile,
Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, India,
Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Africa,
South Korea, Sweden and Taiwan."
There also are seven new developer markets. As of July 20,
developers from seven new markets -- Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic,
Hungary, Israel, South Africa and South Korea -- can register in App
Hub and submit apps. And in a couple of months -- early fall 2011 --
developers will also be able to register from China. "We will also
expand the registration support already available in India," Brix said.
Microsoft also updated the Windows Phone 7 application price tiers
to maintain consistent pricing across markets. And Microsoft is
expanding its in-app advertising market using its pubCenter ad serving
application, Brix said.
"The international availability of Microsoft pubCenter remains a
priority so developers can receive mobile in-app advertising revenue in
their local currency," Brix said in his post. "To this end, Microsoft
Advertising pubCenter will support Windows Phone 7 app developers in
the following 18 countries by the end of 2011: Australia, Belgium,
Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy,
Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the
Brix also said Microsoft is working to provide more effective ad monetization and expand overall demand for applications.
In addition, Microsoft is offering developers two new private
distribution options: beta and targeted distribution. Apps distributed
through these private distribution methods can only be downloaded by
users using a deep-link and the apps cannot be discovered via browsing
or searching in Windows Phone Marketplace, Brix said.
Beta distribution enables developers to distribute pre-certified
apps to a group of up to 100 access-controlled beta testers for up to
90 days. "This distribution method gives you the opportunity to test
apps with a hand-picked set of beta testers more quickly and build
high-quality apps before publishing them in Marketplace," Brix said.
The targeted distribution enables developers to distribute
applications through Marketplace in a hidden state, where they are not
discoverable via browsing or searching Marketplace. "To enable targeted
users to access your hidden app you simply share the deep-link to the
app with the users you want to have access via email, text or other
mechanism," Brix said. "Unlike beta distribution, you may distribute
your app to as many users as desired and publish publicly in
Marketplace at any time."
Other enhancements to the Mango App Hub include better application
management, an enhanced developer dashboard, more detailed reporting, a
new "Crash Count" report, a streamlined application submission process
and new application categories - education, kids & family, and
government and politics.
In summary, Brix called on Windows Phone 7 developers to do three
things: Increase their global distribution opportunities, review app
prices and submit Mango apps in August.
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.