Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) rolled out a new App Hub developer portal as the company prepares to begin accepting Windows Phone 7.1 ("Mango") application submissions in August. App Hub improvements include a streamlined submission process that eliminates the requirement to upload artwork files on a one-by-one basis--developers may now select a bulk upload option to enter multiple files in one fell swoop. App Hub will automatically identify the image sizes of all art submissions and insert them in the correct artwork locations--developers may then edit or delete images before final app submission.
The revamped App Hub also introduces three new top-level app categories--Education, Kids & Family, and Government & Politics--as well as a number of new subcategories. Developers may now select categories and subcategories for all languages during the submission process. App Hub also touts new application management tools enabling developers to edit app metadata without submitting their work for re-certification, an enhanced dashboard supplying single-location access to performance, payout, distribution reporting and ratings data, more detailed reporting and a new Crash Count report to simplify the debugging process.
Microsoft also expanded the Windows Phone Marketplace application storefront to 19 new markets including Brazil, Finland, Greece, India, Japan, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, South Korea and Taiwan. The store now spans 35 nations in all. In addition, developers in seven new markets--Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, South Africa and South Korea--may now register on App Hub and submit Windows Phone apps. (Microsoft adds it will expand developer support to China within the next few months.) In conjunction with the international expansion, Microsoft is modifying Windows Phone Marketplace app pricing tiers to maintain consistent pricing across markets, also adding more pricing tier options below $5.00 U.S. to enable more flexibility in pricing.
"We're just about a month away from enabling developers to begin submitting Mango apps to App Hub," writes Microsoft senior director of mobile services and developer product management Todd Brix on the Windows Phone Developer Blog. "Developers will need to use the Windows Phone Release Candidate (RC) tools that we expect to make available in late August to finalize their Mango apps and submit to App Hub. In the meantime, developers should get the free Windows Phone SDK 7.1 Beta 2 here."
- read this Windows Phone Developer Blog entry
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