Windows Phone App Hub Enhancements

[This post was cross-posted from the UK MSDN Team Blog]

If you’re a Windows Phone developer, the scheduled App Hub outage last Monday probably piqued your interest, along with a number of new features you may have noticed that started to roll out during the week.

Sworn to secrecy here at MSDN UK towers we were excited to the point bursting. What a relief that Todd Brix has spilled all the beans. So what’s the scoop?

It’s another milestone in the lead up to our Mango release with a slew of new App Hub features. Think:

  • More markets
  • Private distribution options for your apps
  • Better application and account management features
  • Streamlined app submission
  • Better reporting
  • New Marketplace categories
  • More price points
  • Enabling Microsoft Advertising SDK in more markets

More markets means more consumer markets (ie where people can purchase apps) – that makes 35 in total – as well as 7 new developer markets (and China will be following very soon). This means many more potential customers for your applications (particularly if you’re localising your apps) as well as inviting many more developers onto the platform in new geographies.

Private distribution options include Beta (quickly deploy apps to up to 100 nominated testers for up to 90 days) and Targeted (deploy your apps to Marketplace in a hidden state – apps are distributed via deep links).

Account and application management features have had a major overhaul. The whole App Hub UI has had a revamp. Your dashboard now shows lots of useful information at a glance: payouts, app highlights (downloads, crashes – can crashes be considered a highlight?), reports, notifications (such as missing information or incomplete submissions) and how to links.

App Hub Dashboard

You can now edit the metadata for your apps without having to go through the whole resubmission process and updating an existing app is made much easier as the metadata doesn’t have to be re-entered. Oh, and the iconography submission is smart enough that you can now just point it at a folder and it works out what’s what.

We’ve added crash count reporting and reviews and ratings by country as well as enhancing the reporting capabilities including adding an export feature. We’ve also added some new app categories and sub-categories to make it easier for people to find the apps they want.

Additional price points have been added in the sub-$5 options (the most frequently used price points) to give you greater flexibility in tuning your prices. Some work has also been done to try and re-align tiers across currencies / geographies. It’s worth reviewing the country-by-country prices for your apps to make sure you’re happy with them.

We’ve done some work to ready App Hub for the availability of the Microsoft Advertising SDK in markets outside the US (coming to 18 countries before the end of this calendar year).

Oh, and the registration process has also been simplified.

That’s a lot of changes. On top of that, Mango is almost upon us. We’ll open up App Hub for Mango app submissions in about a month’s time – those apps will need to be built with the Windows Phone Release Candidate (RC) tools that should be available in late August.

In the meantime, continue to build with the Windows Phone SDK 7.1 Beta 2 tools, enjoy the new App Hub features and build some amazing Windows Phone applications.

For full details of the recent App Hub changes, see Todd Brix’s post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog.

Comments (2)
  1. Wayde says:

    Does Microsoft have something against free applications? I would have thought these would be encouraged as it would provide more reasons for consumers to use WP7. If you look in the market place at any of the sections under the "Top" heading, not one of these is a free application. I make a free application which provides as many, if not more features than other similar applications which developers charge for, yet their applications are the first a user will see, regardless of the number of users my app has.

  2. MikeO [MSFT] says:

    Hi Wayde. I don't know how the "Top" list is determined but "free" apps do get their own seperate page (paid apps do not). On the desktop Marketplace client you get both "top paid apps" and "top free apps" listings and paid / free are displayed together as apps are ranked by "top selling" by default. Mike

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