Microsoft now accepting and certifying Windows Phone Mango apps

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is now accepting and certifying applications optimized for its new Windows Phone 7.1 (a.k.a. "Mango") operating system update, concurrently issuing the Release Candidate edition of its Windows Phone SDK 7.1. According to Microsoft, the revamped SDK (available in English and Japanese) includes a ‘Go Live' license enabling developers to publish apps to the company's Windows Phone Marketplace--the SDK also touts the completed Marketplace Test Kit, which supports certification testing based on the same tests run by the Marketplace team. "This should dramatically improve your chances at passing cert the first time," Windows Phone Division senior director Todd Brix writes on the Windows Phone Developer Blog.

The Windows Phone SDK 7.1 update additionally includes the Microsoft Advertising SDK for Windows Phone, enabling developers to begin monetizing their efforts. Microsoft adds it will launch the final version of WPSDK 7.1 will be available at the end of September, localizing the release into all supported languages.

Microsoft adds that game developers may now begin submitting their titles to the 19 new international Mango markets announced late last month. Microsoft previously asked devs to cross-submit their apps to the new markets but requested that they delay plans to cross-submit existing games. Windows Phone game developers can also leverage free access to the Pan-European Game Information game rating system via PEGI Express, an online tool that generates age rating certificates.

Expected to reach consumers this fall, Windows Phone 7.1 emphasizes tighter platform integration and promises a smarter approach to mobile applications. The upgrade introduces App Connect, which ties applications to Bing search tools to foster a more relevant and efficient user experience. For example, if a consumer searches Bing for movie information, their Windows Phone device will generate showtimes and theater locations but also anticipate subsequent ticket purchase requirements by presenting digital movie services provider Fandango's ticketing application. Also new in Mango: Improved Live Tiles to deliver more real-time information to the device's homescreen, app multitasking and Live Agents tools giving developers the flexibility to build app multitasking scenarios without compromising battery life and performance.

Windows Phone 7.1 additionally touts the new People Hub, which integrates multiple communications tools and social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Outlook and LinkedIn in one location. Mango additionally detects the best method of communication for interacting with contacts and introduces group text and IM options. Personalized Live Tiles offer real-time social media updates, and built-in text-to-voice and voice-to-text functionality supports hands-free communication.

For more:
- read this Windows Phone Developer Blog entry

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