Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is rolling out its App Hub developer website to China, enabling coders in the enormous Chinese market to submit applications for availability across all supported Windows Phone Marketplace regions. Although Windows Phone Marketplace remains off limits to Chinese consumers, Microsoft concurrently announced that Windows Phone owners in India may now purchase apps and games from the storefront.
Microsoft also introduced new application management tools allowing developers who've updated their Windows Phone 7.0 apps to WP7.5 (a.k.a. "Mango") to more efficiently maintain both versions. Published versions of 7.0 and 7.5 apps can share the same catalog details, pricing (including trial and geographic distribution options), ratings and reviews, and hidden/live property, but developers may now update, unpublish and re-publish each version independently. "There can only be one in-progress update at any time across both versions of an app," writes Windows Phone Division senior director Todd Brix on the Windows Phone Developer Blog. "The update in progress must be published to Marketplace before another version of the app can be updated. Also, catalog details and pricing changes made as part of a 7.0 app update will affect the 7.5 version of the app and vice versa. Finally, be aware that if you publish a new 7.5 app there is no way to later add a 7.0 version."
In addition, Microsoft will now strictly enforce published guidelines limiting Marketplace app descriptions to five keywords, a move designed to improve discoverability and simplify customer search. "While this should help maintain a more productive marketplace for everyone, you should take this opportunity to review the keywords you've submitted for your applications to ensure that the first five keywords best describe your app to potential customers," Brix states. "App Hub will still allow you to enter more than five keywords as part of your submission or application update; however, the search functionality across Marketplace will now use only the first five keywords."
- read this Windows Phone Developer Blog entry
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