windows phone marketplace

Microsoft is constantly working to improve the Windows Phone Marketplace experience. A few months ago we saw a commitment to the quality of apps appearing on the Marketplace. Now Microsoft is turning its attention towards the turn around time it takes an app to go from submission to appearing on the Marketplace.

It now takes three to four business days, roughly speaking, for an app to go through the certification process and be published on the Marketplace. The lag time between certification and having an app available is now about one day.

For example, recent updates for Logoarama and People Search took about four days with the updates becoming available under 24 hours of certification.We are still seeing it take about 48 hours (or longer) to have price changes become visible but the overall app submission process seems to be improving.

Source: Windows Team Blog

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It's been a busy month for the Windows Phone Marketplace and it's nice to see the momentum building. In May we've seen new apps such as AboutOne, LinkedIn, Photosynth, Baseball Live and Talkbox. Add new games such as MonstaFish, Feed Me Oil, MissileDefender, Logorama and WordHog and the Marketplace continues to build a very nice resume of titles.

We also saw updates to Facebook, WhatsApps, Rowi, Skydrive, Monster Island and our own WPCentral app. Oh, and the list of $.99 Xbox Live gaming titles continues to grow.

May was a busy month for the Windows Phone Marketplace and it doesn't look like things are going to slow down in June. There is the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) next week which we could see more Marketplace news hit the press. You also have the Nokia exclusive apps lurking in the shadows. Could we see Angry Birds Space, Madden NFL or Tiger Woods PGA Tour roll out in June?

Many criticize the Windows Phone system as lacking a strong enough Marketplace. Sure... we don't see it that way and the growth the Marketplace has had over the past month may thin our critics a bit.

We leave you with this question. As the Windows Phone Marketplace continues to grow, what is the one app or game that is missing that would make your app/game library complete?

via: Windows Phone Blog

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Microsoft may not be dominating in the United Sates or Europe but that isn't stopping them from expanding to the rest of the planet. In their continued expansion of the web Marketplace, which we use everyday, Microsoft has added a healthy chunck of countries to the list.

Twenty-two in all were brought online today, including Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Croatia, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine, Venezuela, UAE, Bahrain, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kazakhstan, Israel, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Ubiquity is the key word here and Microsoft has always been a fan of market saturation. So long as Windows Phone apps and games are available everywhere, developers will be encouraged to create new products and customers will enjoy the convenience.

Launching last September, the Windows Phone web Marketplace has continually and constantly expanded over the last few months, enabling users to browse, purchase and send apps right to their phone without any wires. Recently however, there were some problems as Microsoft makes adjustments to the backend, resulting in some unplanned downtime for customers.

To learn how the web Marketplace works check out Microsoft's tutorial.

Source: Windows Phone Blog

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Whatever the reason for the Windows Phone Marketplace had for not playing nice earlier, the problems appeasr to have been resolved. We've been able to access the Marketplace online as well as from our Windows Phones.

Even the links to Marketplace apps are behaving as they should. The glitches we've experienced today as well as over the weekend could simply be the result of Microsoft working under the hood.

None the less, all appears to be corrected and we hope everyone is now able to access the Marketplace.  Sound off in the comments if you're still having problems.

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Microsoft Advertising is one way developers can earn revenue from Windows Phones. It looks like the Windows Phone game Shuriken Ninja and Taptitude have done rather well with the Microsoft Advertising SDK.

Shuriken Ninja

Geekworks, Shuriken Ninja's developer, has reported that the game receives 900 to 1,200 downloads a day with a total of 436,349 downloads since the game launched. The game accounted for almost 40 million impressions during 2011. All totaled, Geekworks games reached 145,000,000 impressions. On average the company earns $1.69 eCPM (essentially earning per impression) which gives Geekworks an earnings total of $245,000 a year.  Not too shabby at all.

Shuriken Ninja was originally a paid app for Windows Phones but Geekworks (a two-man team) saw limited success with the game. As with other developers, Geekworks changed the game over to a free, ad-supported game. The game took off and is currently sitting at the top of the Windows Phone Marketplace free strategy/simulation list.

Taptitude

Like Geekworks, FourBros Studios' Taptitude has seen equally impressive success. We reported on this a days ago as they reportedly pulled in $100K so far. Revenue is averaging $800 a day over the past month, peaking at $1,750 on Sunday, April 22, 2012.  If my math is correct, should FourBros maintain last months' average Taptitude would earn $292,000 for the year.

Taptitude isn't too far behind Shuriken Ninja's total downloads with over 300,000 downloads since launch. The Windows Phone game is also currently second on the Marketplace's top free games list.

Shuriken Ninja and Taptitude are very good games for your Windows Phone and it's nice to see both becoming Windows Phone success stories. If you haven't tried either,  Shuriken Ninja, you can find it here at the Windows Phone Marketplace and Taptitude can be found here at the Marketplace.

Source: Microsoft Advertising

          

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Although we're of the camp that doesn't mind that the Windows Phone Marketplace for apps has been retired from Zune Desktop, we imagine some of you think otherwise.

Luckily, Windows Phone guru Den Delimarsky has you covered. He figured out exactly what the change was that Microsoft pushed on to us all yesterday. More importantly, he also figured out to block that change so you can get back the Marketplace for those apps.

Unfortunately the change is a little tricky. Evidently the "update" comes from a simple modification in the configuration.xml that is sent from Microsoft every time you launch Zune Desktop. All you need to do is switch a "disabled" setting to "enabled" but the tough part is you have to intercept that .xml file.

That's where you'll need a mini-server (or something analogous). Basically you redirect your Zune Desktop to a local server where you can have it fetch your modified .xml file and boom, you're in business. Now of course, this is only works so long as you stay with version 4.8. If you update the Desktop client (and Microsoft is sure to push one eventually) you can probably kiss this trick goodbye.

Anyway, cool stuff just remember, you're using this at your own risk (sorry Microsoft if you get mad!). Go read the whole thing at Den's site for all the details.

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The other day we made mention of the upcoming Windows Phone game, Grow. Grow is an fish-eat-fish game that offers 78 levels of play that crosses seven environments. The game is due to launch on April 27th for $2.99.

We were recently informed by Epic Pixel, Grow's developer, that the Windows Phone game will now be offered for $1.99. A price that matches the cost of the full version over on the Android Marketplace.

After reading the comments on the press release, we decided the right thing to do is to lower the price of Grow to $1.99 to match the full price on the Android Market.

It's nice to see Windows Phone developers take consumer input into account and make adjustments to keep things equitable. Once Grow hits the Marketplace, we'll take a look at the game and share our impressions of things.

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In a surprising move, Microsoft announced today on the Windows Phone blog that in the near future starting today you, won't be able to purchase or browse apps using the Zune Desktop software. (If you launch Zune Desktop, you'll be notified of the changes). In addition, you'll need Windows Phone 7.5+ to access and purchase new apps in the Marketplace, basically forcing users who are still on NoDo to finally update.

The Zune Desktop move seems odd until Microsoft explains that the overwhelming majority of users browse and purchase apps right on their phone or at the very least, use the Web Marketplace. So trying to focus their engineering efforts where it matters, Microsoft has decided to concentrate their efforts on those two areas and to forsake the Zune Desktop client.

Of course, we've also heard a lot of rumblings that come Windows 8 (and Windows Phone 8), Zune Desktop as we know will be completely gone. Instead, purchasing Windows 8 apps and music will be handled more natively by the OS itself and plugging in your phone will be more akin to the Active Sync experience back in the Windows Mobile heyday.

The other requirement, needing Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango" to access the store is also an interesting move. Without going into specific details, Mazhar Mohammed explains "Requiring Windows Phone 7.5 is part of a larger effort aimed at improving Marketplace performance and security, and paving the way for even faster growth and more new features."

We're not sure what the engineering limits are that are forcing these changes but evidently Microsoft considers it a priority enough to enforce it in the Marketplace.

Regarding  the Zune Desktop situation we have mixed feelings. On the one hand, we have to recognize that it is very likely to be a thing of the past in 6-8 months and we need to move on. On the other, one could argue that Zune Desktop absolutely killed iTunes as far as usability and it was one of Microsoft's really innovative desktop apps, so we're sad to see it slowly loose functionality.

How do these changes affect you? Sound off in comments and let us hear your thoughts.

Source: Windows Phone Blog

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We reported a few days ago that Microsoft was experiencing a unique problem: the Windows Phone Marketplace has grown so much, so fast that their servers and backend getting hammered, resulting in app-publishing slowdowns. Everything from submissions, to certifications to the App Hub itself was getting slower.

Today, Microsoft's Todd Brix addressed the problem in a blog post noting that they have an immediate method for addressing these problems and a more long term one. The addition of all those new markets over the last few months has taken its toll on the App Hub experience, more than they had anticipated. As a result they will be re-working their backend, which will take some time:

"We’re already in the process of developing a more robust and scalable Marketplace service that will address current problems and pave the way for the even more rapid growth we’re expecting in the years ahead. But engineering work this significant doesn’t happen overnight. Our plan is to have it complete by late summer."

For the short term, they already have started to work on these two areas:

  • Adding more server capacity to better handle the increased load.
  • Streamlining our processes to accelerate the rate at which apps can be ingested, certified, and published.

As a result, developers are now seeing shorter turnarounds from their submission to publication dates, which is a good thing. However, the more substantial changes won't be felt until later this summer.

So once again, good news and bad news as Microsoft is adjusts to the sudden influx of new developers and markets for Windows Phone.

Source: Windows Phone Blog

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Best free apps for Windows Phones

WPCentral's list of the best free apps for Windows Phone

We've taken a look at must have games and must have apps for your Windows Phone, now we turn our sights on the best free apps that might interest every Windows Phone owner. Everyone likes free stuff, right?

The Windows Phone Marketplace is full of free apps and games. Some good, some bad. Some with ads, some without.  We've compiled a short list of free Windows Phone games and apps the we found interesting and thought you would too.

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Looks like the Windows Phone Marketplace is still working its way around the globe.

Over the next few days Microsoft will be expanding the reach of the Windows Phone Marketplace to thirteen more countries. They include; Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Croatia, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine, and Venezuela. The Marketplace storefronts won't open with each country overnight, but over the next few days things should be coming online with these thirteen new markets.

These thirteen new Marketplace storefronts join the launches earlier this year in Argentina, Indonesia, Malaysia, Peru, the Philippines and China. All totaled, this will bring the total number of Windows Phone Marketplace storefronts to fifty-four world wide. And Microsoft isn't stopping there. Look for Windows Phone Marketplace storefronts in United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kazakhstan, Israel, Thailand and Vietnam in the near future.

Oh, speaking of China, in less than three months Microsoft has added 20,000 apps and 15,000 registered developers to the new China Marketplace. If you're curious as to what's being offered in China, here's the link to the China Marketplace.

Microsoft's Marketplace expansion in such a short time, involving some challenging markets is impressive.  It's nice to see the global growth the Windows Phone Marketplace is experiencing.

source: windowsteamblog

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We saw this before with a fake Spotify app that was being sold on the Windows Phone Marketplace and now we're seeing it again. Scam artist Manikandan S is selling for $1.99 (with no trial) "Chrome" which he flat out claims "is same as a google chrome web browser":

"Keep Chrome Browser handy on your device, especially for those unavoidable times you are on a slow crowded network, away from Wi-Fi. This app is same as a google chrome web browser. It has most stylish search button. Facebook, Google, Yahoo! -with Chrome Browser, all your favorite sites work great on your windows phone."

Clearly, this is not the same and both violates Google's copyright and is false advertising. Rather, it's just IE9 with a not-so-fancy wrapper around it. What's worse is the plethora of negative reviews which we could only take as an indication of numerous purchases.

Hopefully Microsoft will respond by yanking this app ASAP like the fake Spotify, but in the meantime, consider this a warning.

Source: Windows Phone Marketplace; Thanks, q21701, for the tip!

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We're getting reports that the much anticipated web version of the Marketplace, which will allow you to try and buy apps and have them sent directly to your Mango phone, is going live.

The site can be accessed through the newly redesign portal both in Germany and here in the US. Going to the Marketplace, you can browser, search and try out any of the 30,000+ apps that are available, however if you try to buy an app or use the trial, an error will come back--meaning that Microsoft is still loading up this thing as we speak.

The Windows Phone Web Marketplace, first announced months ago, is an extension of the Zune Desktop and Marketplace on the phone and will give consumers even more flexibility for finding and purchasing new apps. From our earlier coverage:

"There will be more placements for featured apps that will bring more noticeability and reach, ensuring developers receive more potential conversions while their app is in the spotlight. Users who browse the web version will be able to share apps and games via social media and email to contacts and friends."

"Bing visual search will be re-configured too. Any end-user searching for apps and games will now be linked straight to the web Marketplace on their PC, ready to download and install. Your Live ID will be integrated so you wont have to activate a separate payment gateway in order to make a purchase. Simply click and go using card details on your account.

Indeed you can now Tweet and Facebook "Like" any app you find, which should go a long way to spreading apps and helping devs out.

Source: Windows Phone Web Marketplace; Thanks, Jan, for the tip!

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A new advertisement exchange service, called AdDuplex, has recently surfaced.  Its purpose is to help fledgling developers get word of their applications out to Marketplace users.  Here's how it works: a developer creates ads an AdDuplex control to their application and includes an ad for their own product.  That control then begins to display ads from AdDuplex's network of clients, including the developer's and AdDuplex iteself.

Basically "Help other developers promote their apps and they’ll promote yours."

The more users of the service, the more the word spreads.  Think of it like an advertising pyramid scheme, without the shadiness.  The service is free, and if a developer later decides that they want to include advertisements from another source, AdDuplex allows them to do so, though it looks like AdDuplex’s network of ads remains.

Despite the snarky headline, we think it’s actually a pretty inventive way for developers to help each other get their products out there. Sign up for free here.

Source: AdDuplex

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Justin Williams, owner and developer at Second Gear LLC, is an experienced OS X and iOS developer who has ventured over to Android for a week to see how he rated day-to-day usage in comparison to the iPhone. Justin has now had a good look at Windows Phone 7, and has made his opinions known to the world.

Although reviewing the software, the Samsung Focus was also a main point when creating the opinionated review and wasn’t positive when covering the hardware.

“The rest of the hardware? It’s pretty cheap. Apple hit a home run in the ‘feel’ aspect of the iPhone 4. When you hold it in your hand, it feels hefty (but not too hefty), solid and substantial. The Focus, on the other hand, feels light, cheap and full of air.”

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Disclosure: Well before the publication of this article, WPCentral contacted Microsoft's Brandon Watson directly about the breach and we are cooperating with Microsoft in any way we can. Microsoft may be providing a statement to us addressing this issue, which we will of course post in its entirety if they choose to do so.

Yesterday we reported on a controversial "whitepaper" over at XDA (since pulled) which gleaned publicly available information to outline how the WP7 Marketplace could be cracked. To some, this was new. For others, it was very old. And for others still, it was information that was plain incorrect.

For developers, the weakness in Microsoft's DRM for Windows Phone 7 applications has been well known for quite some time, and there have been calls for Microsoft to address these concerns (see here in their forums).

Since then, a "white hat" developer has provided WPCentral with a proof-of-concept program that can successfully pull any application from the Marketplace, remove the security and deploy to an unlocked Windows Phone with literally a push of a button. Alternatively, you could just save the cracked XAP file to your hard drive. Neither the app nor the methodology is public, and it will NOT be released (please don't ask). It is important to note that this was all done within six hours by one developer.

After the break, you can see a video of the application (called "FreeMarketplace") in action, demonstrating how easy it can be to download any app from the Marketplace. While many will condemn us for "promoting piracy," we respectfully disagree. We have heard many complaints from developers about this weakness for months now and it is their right to know about the flaws in the system. We are confident Microsoft will work hard to implement a stronger DRM system, in part due to this proof-of-concept demonstration.

Tobias, technical adviser for this article, can be contacted via WPCentral

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Yup, just a small but significant mention here: the Marketplace just hit over 3,000 apps this morning. Not bad 7 weeks out from the official launch and we suppose a great way to start off December. They only hit 2,000 about 3 weeks ago.

According to WP7AppList, there are around 3,050 programs now available, with an average of 68 being added everyday. That latter number seems to be increasing of late, something we expect to continue especially with the addition of the VB tools made available this week.

A big congrats to the Windows Phone Development Team.

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The Windows Phone 7 launch has mostly gone off with few if any hitches for developers, but there will always be something bothering them and in this case, it appears to be a legitimate concern.

Two developers, Justin James and Nicholas Yu (the latter making GoVoice)  have noted that they won't receive payments for their apps till February, which is quite far off especially if like Yu, your app launched with Windows Phone 7. Going further, the developers complain that there are no analytics to measure how popular their app is--in other words, they don't know how many they have sold.

For Yu and his GoVoice app, this is important because he wants to add the much coveted Push Notifications to his app (he already began rolling it out last week). But without knowing how many apps he has sold, nor receiving payment till February, he has to pay the server costs upfront and basically hope that he can recoup the costs. Hardly an ideal position for a developer to be in.  James concludes that for now, developers should consider WP7 a hobby instead of a source of revenue. Ouch.

Microsoft is known for treating developers pretty well--better than Apple and even Google--so we hope that they can at least address this issue before others start to feel the same way. On the other hand, these growing pains are to be expected for such a new platform--the test is to see how it is resolved.

Source: Nicholas Yu, Justin James; via BGR & Slashgear;

Further reading: Arktronic

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A few sites have sprung up of late offering an easy web-view of the Windows Phone Marketplace. Such was the case with MarketplaceBrowser, which indexed and gave quick links to all the software in the app store.

Now a new one has launched called WP7AppList and it looks to be a little more full featured as it includes price-drops and interesting stats e.g. who knew that 29% of the apps for WP7 are free and that the average price is $1.51? As interesting, an average of 49 apps are added each day. Cool.

The site designer's choice to use a Apple Cover Floweque design is a bit humorous and it's a bit garish at times. However,  we suppose using the site to check for daily price drops or new apps would be a good use, so take it for a spin.

And Microsoft, you should really get in on this web thing for the store soon. Try the site here.

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It's already rough enough for a lot of our international readers who will read about an app only to find it's not listed in their localized Marketplace. Or even worse, they don't have a Marketplace of to call their own (hi Sweden!). In Australia they do have their own Marketplace but as Long Zheng reports, there's a 101% transaction fee on top of every app purchase with a credit card.

This has to do with where the transactions are processed (Singapore) and that whole international banking situation. Australians are encouraged to use carrier billing as an alternative until, hopefully, Microsoft fixes the situation. Long Zheng is quick to point out he doesn't think Microsoft is doing this on purpose (and they don't seem to benefit from it) but nonetheless, it's just bad when a $0.99 app costs you $1.99.

Source: iStartedSomething

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