Developers

Marketplace

As Bruce Forsyth would say - higher or lower?

Bernardo Zamora has published an insightful blog post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog, which goes into detail on how developers should configure individual market pricing - if at all. It's an interesting part of marketing one's work. Building and submitting the app is one thing. Effectively pricing your app(s) is another.

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Devs

The big news for developers with Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 is of course the coming together of the two platforms under the same core. While it is far from being a 1:1 overlap in terms of coding, it is clear that developing on one platform will naturally lend itself to developing on the other, often with devs being able to recycle much of their code and design.

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We managed to finally get our hands on the finalized (or very near finalized) software development kit (SDK) for Windows Phone 8--the one where only select developers were given access too. The SDK had surfaced on the internet a few days ago via WinUnleaked and has been floating around ever since.

After spending a few hours configuring our PC for the SDK (you need Windows 8 Pro RTM 64-bit, seriously), we fired up Windows Phone 8 OS...

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WP Central

Carbon, has left the building...

Say what you will about Twitter clients, but the developers behind them can be a finicky bunch from our experience. That notion is being reinforced again today with the announcement that Carbon has been pulled from the Windows Phone Store for good.

The man behind Carbon, M.Saleh Esmaeili, took to his Google+ page to discuss what had happened after his interview on our podcast, Iterate. In short, Carbon was never meant to be multi-platform.

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WP Store

Left: the old Store search; Right, new Store search with developer lookup

Microsoft has been hard at work “doing things” to the Windows Phone store, which in theory will improve things (so far, all we’ve heard are developer complaints about delayed app publishing).

One of those areas is now coming forward although we have yet been able to verify in the US. WPArea.de has noticed that you can now search by the developer’s name in addition to their app. In a side by side with an HTC Mozart and a Lumia 800, they found the Mozart was able to get different search results when “Kik” was entered.

On the Mozart, Kik returned the developer house first, followed by the app whereas the Lumia 800 showed the more traditional KiK Messenger as the first.

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YoYo Games Windows 8

YoYo Games (www.yoyogames.com) announced yesterday that GameMaker: Studio, the cross-platform games development environment, will support upcoming Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. The studio enables developers to create games in a single code base and subsequently export with ease to multiple platforms and formats.

Current level of support includes HTML5, Facebook, Android, iOS, Windows and OS X. GameMaker: Studio for Windows 8 is stated to be available for developers prior to the OS launch, while support for Windows Phone 8 will reportedly arrive following device availability.

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Marketplace Dev Erro

It's another cryptic Microsoft error code...

Developers have been experiencing issues when submitting .XAP files to the Marketplace for approval. Whether it be new apps or updates for already-submitted content, developers are getting hit with an error code. Glenn Edwards, the brains and soul behind recently released MetroSpec, has also been having trouble getting his work published.

We last covered MetroSpec when it went live on the Marketplace a couple of days ago. The paid version got through, but the free, ad-supported baby brother is still being held back. It's an annoyance more than anything as the Windows Phone community love their trials and free versions of apps that seek their hard-earned cash - and rightly so. If developers can't publish all their work, then this could cost them valuable custom.

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Windows Phone 8 Emulator

The Windows Phone 8 SDK came a little closer to being released today with Microsoft announcing they accepting requests for access from developers. This will allow qualified developers to begin optimizing existing apps for Windows Phone 8.

Microsoft explains that the SDK for Windows Phone 8 isn't being publicly released due to the presence of features that haven't been announced.

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WP Central Microsoft reveals more about how enterprise will manage Windows Phone

We have already seen with the initial announcement of Windows Phone 8 that Microsoft is much more serious about building enterprise features into their next OS. Along with better security through full device encryption and secure-boot technologies Microsoft will allow business to deploy apps directly to the phone.

Currently the only way to manage a Windows Phone device is through the ActiveSync framework but this isn’t able to provide the level of granularity that micro-managing Systems Administrators need. Microsoft has now revealed that their In Tune product will provide the one stop shop for device management for Windows Phone 8 and also WinRT tablets. Hopefully this should mean much wider adoption of Windows Phone in the enterprise considering it will play nicely with existing Microsoft technologies.

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Windows Phone 8 SDK Preview comes in hot September 12

Windows Phone 8 SDK - Emulator

One of the missing components in the Windows Phone 8 developer story thus far has been the SDK. Aside from a leak back in July, there hasn't been any news regarding its official availability or state of completion. Well until now, that is.

Windows Marketplace Sr. Director Todd Brix just hit publish on a blog post this morning that outlines Windows Phone 8 SDK Preview bits that will be made available to a limited set of folks -- specifically developers with existing apps in the Marketplace. The rest of us will have to wait until the "full SDK" is available later this year when Windows Phone 8 goes gold.

As soon as the preview lands, WPCentral will get you the bits. Stay tuned!

Full post after the break.

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WP Central

While there is a lot to look forward to with Windows Phone 8, some of the changes may not be as noticeable but no less important. Windows Phone 8 will have a number of significant changes under the hood to bolster the security of the platform.

Windows Phone 8 will have device encryption throughout the entire device including the OS and its applications. Designed along the same lines as Windows 7 PCs, encryption kicks in as soon as you power up the device. This system, based off of Bitlocker (but adapted for Windows Phone) was something first reported on back in February as an early rumor.

BitLocker is a logical volume encryption system that is present in Windows 7 and will be present in Windows 8.  BitLocker is designed to protect data by providing encryption for entire volumes or drives within a computer to protect the integrity of a trusted boot path.  The main difference between the PC version of encryption and what we will see on Windows Phone 8 is that the encryption keys are not manageable on our Windows Phone as they are on desktops or laptops.

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      Windows Phone in the Central Kingdom      

Till this day, how big exactly is the Windows Phone ecosystem is largely a myth. Microsoft is keeping crucial figures all to itself. Over time, many tried to measure the ecosystem with various ways, such as the active users of the Windows Phone Facebook client.

Now WPDang and OpenXLive have decided to do it a bit more scientifically: with consolidated server data of 112 apps and games. Sadly the report only covers the Chinese market, because the majority of these data source apps either make sense only to Chinese users, or are well ranked only in the Chinese Marketplace...

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Modern UI Elements

With the official launch of Windows 8 on October 26'th, things in the developer world are heating up. Microsoft has been furiously getting quality apps onto the Windows Store via their App Excellence program, and devs have been touching up their XAML skills. And why wouldn't they be? With a potential market this big, any developer would be silly to not be planning to get something onto the store at some stage.

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Casual Connect Seattle lead
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Windows Phone at Casual Connect Seattle Wrap-up

It’s a bit late in coming, but at last we have an official wrap-up of our time spent at Casual Connect Seattle this year. Unlike the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), which is a console-focused event, Casual Connect centers around casual games – a ‘genre’ or subset found mostly on smartphones, tablets, and PCs.  As such, we ventured forth in hopes of scoring some juicy Windows Phone games coverage as well as gauging the casual gaming industry’s feelings towards Microsoft’s smartphone platform in general.

Head past the break to see what we learned, plus links to all of our exclusive Casual Connect coverage!

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Wordament lead

Microsoft themselves didn’t have as much of a presence at Casual Connect Seattle this year as we would’ve liked, but they did stage a fascinating presentation on the effects that switching to Xbox Live has had on popular free word game Wordament. We all know Xbox Live has helped Wordament become more popular, but the specific benefits and results of the switch are extremely encouraging and could have wide-ranging effects on future Windows Phone games.

Windows Phone Central has the full presentation video to share, plus a detailed summary and anaylsis. Check it out after the break.

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WP Central

We usually don’t cover these types of stories, especially since there will be many, many avenues for Windows 8 Desktop to become available over the next few weeks, but what the heck.

If you’re a DreamSpark Premium member e.g. a college student or professor engaged in science, math, engineering or other programs sponsored through the DreamSpark program. Earlier prediction via Neowin suggested the 25th was the release date, so it's a bit early. Still, if you’re a DSP member, head here to grab your order. Thanks, Jey Si, for the tip

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Unity Engine Coming to Windows Phone 8

The keynote address for Unite 12 has seen the announcement that Windows Phone 8 will get full support for the Unity engine.  Unity is a very popular engine and it was notably absent from the Windows Phone 8 announcement. The next version of the OS looks to be getting some excellent gaming support with native code and these powerful rendering engines.

The engine is used to power a host of games across and number of platforms and hopefully this means rapid porting of those games to WP8 devices. Unity is one of the top engines on the market so this support is pretty exciting for Windows Phone. 

Here is what David Helgason, CEO of Unity Technologies, had to say on Windows Phone 8.

 “Our mission at Unity has always been to provide solutions for developers to effortlessly bring their work to as many different platforms as possible. The Unity community has been asking for access to Windows Phones and have been eagerly anticipating the release of Windows 8. We’re happy to announce that we will support both.”

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WP Central

Me pondering what we look for from developers

If you’re a Windows Phone developer and want a peek behind the current on Windows Phone Central and our process on app reviews, you’ll want to head to the AdDuplex blog. AdDuplex as many of you know powers the developer promotion network behind many Windows Phone apps (and now Windows 8) and the service’s creator, Alan Mendelevich, was curious as to what we look for when developers contacts us.

Ah yes, the table has turned as we’re the ones being interviewed!

The conversation was with myself and Alan asks some really great questions, such as how many app-review requests we get, what we look for in those emails, are dedicated app-websites beneficial and more. Basically if you’re a developer it’s a roadmap on how best to get your app noticed by us for a potential review. (The first step though is the app or game better be good).

You can read that full interview here at the AdDuplex blog. And if you’re more curious about Alan and his role in Windows Phone, you can read our interview with him from February.

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WP Central

O iPlayer, Where Art Thou?

The on again, off again saga of iPlayer for the BBC and Windows Phone has been toying with anxious readers for months now. At first the Inquirer said it was coming and then Pocket-lint effectively squashed that rumor just three days later, leaving consumers with little hope for an effective media solution.

The hope was always that Nokia would some how come in and save the day for Windows Phone users but alas, that does not seem to be the case. One of our readers, Paul A., emailed the BBC asking for information as to their reasons for not supporting Windows Phone. Surprisingly, Daniel Danker who is the General Manager of Programmes & On Demand for the BBC gave a very thorough response to Paul’s question as to why there is no Windows Phone support.

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WP Central

Give us that sweet, sweet native code

Okay, we’re going to be honest here (and snarky) as we’re not that psyched for a landing page, in fact we can’t believe we’re writing this story. But for developers out there itching to get their hands on the new SDK for Windows Phone 8, we do like to throw them a bone every once in awhile to get them excited.

Yes, evidently last night developer Robert McLaws managed to find the elusive page which is now serving as a place-holder until Microsoft gives the green light for its release.  The page can be found at https://dev.windowsphone.com/en-us/featured/windows-phone-8-sdk, which depending on how much of a nerd you are may or may not get your blood pumping (we won’t judge as we stayed up watching anime till 6am last night).

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