Category Archives: Windows Phone Marketplace

Windows Phone Marketplace opens in 19 new countries: Not yet

Great news from Microsoft are coming these days:

Geographic expansion: A large part of your success in Marketplace hinges  on your app’s discoverability and reach. I’m excited to announce a number of new  consumer and developer markets to help get your app in front of more people.

  • 19 new consumer markets. Starting today developers can publish their  apps to consumers in 19 new countries, in addition to the 16 that Marketplace already supports. The 19 new markets include Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, India, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and Taiwan.
  • 7 new developer markets: Also starting today developers from 7 new markets (Welcome!) can register in App Hub and submit apps. The 7 new developer markets enabled include: Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, South Africa and South Korea.
  • In a couple of months (early fall 2011), developers will also be able to register from China. We will also expand the registration support already available in India.

But what does this mean in reality? As a developer, I am able to publish my WP apps in 19 new countries now, but are people in these countries able to buy them?

I cannot change my WP device locale now, because it requires a reset to the factory state. But let’s try something much simpler – to change Zune PC client behavior. When you change the locale of your Windows 7, the Zune opens with locally available features. To be able to browse WP7 marketplace, I have my PC set to the UK locale. Let’s look at the Zune menu now:

Zune July 21st 2011, UK locale

Zune July 21st 2011, UK locale

Switching to the CZ locale…

Zune July 21st 2011, UK locale

Zune July 21st 2011, UK locale

So, that’s it. We are not there yet, it’s not possible to buy or even browse neither paid nor free apps in the Windows Phone marketplace on a correctly set PC in Czech Republic. Perhaps you may do it from a correctly set phone, but I doubt it. If any of my readers is able to reset his or her phone now and try a Live account from any of the above mentioned countries, please let me know.

The Beatles, Wait:

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Windows Phone App Hub updated with new features and new countries

As I predicted on Sunday, App Hub was updated. Now it seems that new countries were added:

New Windows Phon App Hub Registration

I didn’t complete the registration yet, so I can’t confirm there is no remaining obstacle for Czech developers, but I don’t expect it.

There are other improvements too, as many devs report. Just an incomplete list for now:

  • New private beta Marketplace – you can distribute your app to max. 100 selected testers and it will work for 90 days. This way the app probably won’t go through the certification process.
  • You can edit some app details (category, artwork) without submitting update
  • Updated layout
  • New crash reports
  • Export of download/purchase details
  • Updated App Hub tems (no details known yet)

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Developers from Czech Republic and other countries to get Windows Phone Marketplace access tomorrow! (hopefully)

At Prague Mango Event in June this year, Ondrej Strba from Microsoft said that Czech developers will get official access to the Windows Phone Marketplace in the second half of July.

Mango Event Prague in June 2011.

Picture from the Mango Event in Prague in June 2011. Notice the new square Windows Phone logo.

At MIX 2011, the attendees were told there will be a new version of the AppHub this summer.

And this notice was posted on the Microsoft App Hub (the gate to the Windows Phone and XBox Marketplace for developers) on the last Friday:

App Hub down July 18 for service upgrades

Submitted
7/15/2011

Pardon our dust. App Hub will be down for service upgrades for most of the day starting around 10 a.m. PST on Monday, July 18. During this period, developers will be unable to register, to access their Windows Phone developer accounts, or to use the forums.

We appreciate your patience.

So I bet the safe conclusion is that the Marketplace Access for developers from Czech Republic and other new countries is finally coming!

As I reported before, this should be the list of the new countries now eligible for the application submitting:

  • Chile
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Czech Republic
  • Hungary
  • India
  • South Africa
  • South Korea

Sure it’s not a long list and I especially regret Slovakia is missing. However, it is still a pretty good reason for celebration for us!

And let’s hope other AppHub improvements are coming too. For example – the Marketplace can be opened for buyers from new countries. I rather doubt it, because it seems Microsoft waits for new languages to be implemented in Mango before it. Or the submission of the Mango-compatible app could be newly supported. Again, I don’t see this coming, because the Mango developer tools are still in beta and I expect Microsoft to require the final version to be used for the published apps. But on the other hand, just one big Marketplace update this summer would make sense too. Any improvement would be welcomed.

Update under progress

create.msdn.com

AppHub update under progress

New features? XNA? Maybe my bet wasn’t so safe… 🙂

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Yalla Apps Experience – Account Activation and Phone Unlock

In my post Yalla Apps Experience – Registration I have explained why I have chosen Yalla Apps publishing service for my Windows Phone Apps and covered the registration process.

This time I want to go through the activation of your account (which includes payment for the first year of the service) and the unlocking of your developer device. Next time, in the last installment of this mini-series, I will cover the Application Submission.

As you can see it the right panel of this blog, I already have the first app in the Marketplace – Agile Metronome Beta. So chances are you won’t wait for long. 🙂 But Metronome is online for less than 48 hours now and no download statistics of it found their way into Yalla Apps dashboard yet, so I’m going to wait a bit with this third and closing part, because I want to include a stats screenshot in it.

Let’s go!

That’s it! 🙂

Just a couple of notes:

  1. The first device registration (unlock) is for 0 Credits. Registration of the second or more devices cost 50 Credits, while subsequent re-unlocks of a previously unlocked device (when you reset it to the factory state) cost 25 Credits. Consult Yalla Apps web site, because these prices are perhaps time limited. When you spend your initial 100 Credits, you can buy another 100 for 80 USD.
  2. When you choose your online appointment time for the unlock, don’t forget you need to set it in Dubai time (GST = Gulf Standard Time = UTC/GMT + 4 hours). Free WP7 application World Clock will help.
  3. You will receive an email one hour before the appointment. When the time comes, you must be connected to the internet with your Windows 7 development computer, have free development tools installed, have your phone connected and be ready for the assistance. A person from Yalla Apps will connect to your PC via Copilot and proceed with the unlock. It should take less than 10 minutes.
Recommended reading on Ailon’s blog:

The State of Worldwide WP7 Publishing after MIX11
Windows Phone App Publishing through Yalla Apps

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Yalla Apps Experience – Registration

If you happen to live in one of the white countries, behind the Windows Phone Marketplace Iron Curtain, and still want to develop and publish your Windows Phone apps, you have several options:

  1. Move to a green country.
  2. Establish a foreign company.
  3. Ask a developer living in a green country.
  4. Ask some other non-developer friend living in a green country.
  5. Use unofficial unlocking tool ChevronWP7 (available here) and distribute your apps by your own means outside the Marketplace.
  6. Use services of a Marketplace Publisher.

I have seriously considered all these options. For example number 1: It is quite easy for an European Union citizen to move to another EU country for several days, register with marketplace and then move back. By the way, I live 60 km (37 miles) from Austria, which is green. But the marketplace identity verification process is repeated every year, so you have to repeat this nonsense every year. Once your verification fail, your MP account is blocked and all your apps are removed from the phones of all your customers. (At least this was the case the last time I checked the MP policy several months ago, they could have changed it since then.)

Or the option 2 – a foreign company. I could quite easily establish a Ltd in the UK. Sure, it’s more expensive than a yearly marketplace fee $99, but still affordadble. But it is almost impossible for a non-UK resident with no business history to get a British bank account. I could easily get an Austrian bank account, but I wasn’t able to discover if both the company and its bank account must be in the some country or not. I haven’t found the answer on Microsoft web pages, asked several wise people including Microsoft employees, but nobody knew the answer. It would be stupid to try it blindly. By the way, you can pay for WP7 apps by the MoneyBookers British MasterCard from a lot of countries, but MB account cannot be used for receiving money.

The options 3 and 4 in short: It is a lot of work to maintain your apps in the marketplace. 5 – good for a lot of things, but not for making real money.

So the only viable option is a publisher. We know Marketplace is coming to Czech Republic with a Windows Phone Mango update soon. Mango is coming this fall, although considering the NoDo update execution the fall 2012 is a better bet. Just kidding. Microsoft Czech Rep. says devs could expect the Marketplace access this summer. In short: The best case is July 2011, the worst some time next year.

The selection of the publisher is a key decision. Once you publish your app with it and somebody installs it, your client is locked to your publisher forever. Thus, although there are several publishers now, for example Kinabalu Innovation or Appa Mundi, I decided to go with Yalla Apps, the only publisher officially supported by Microsoft. (And, by the way, the cheapest one too.)

In the best case I am going to need my publisher for just two months – May and June – but I am going to pay him the yearly MP fee for years ahead. So the simple question is:  Will my apps, published in the next two months, generate at least $99 yearly? I hope the answer is yes, so let’s go ahead! (By the way, the  arabian word yalla means go ahead or hurry up.)

Procedure

  1. Choose your publisher Nickname.
  2. Register as a new user.
  3. Activate your account by paying $99 for the first year. You get 100 credits in exchange.
  4. Order the unlocking of your phone.
  5. Publish your apps.
  6. Buy credits as needed.

I would stress the importance of the step 1. The product description of your application in the Martketplace will include the following sentence: “Developed by [Nickname]“. When I registered several weeks ago I choose a nice Nickname, but I realized the Nickname.com domain is taken later. And guess what? The Nickname cannot be changed. I hadn’t activate the original account, so I registered again, under a different Nickname. But you cannot have two accounts with the same email and cannot change the email too, so I was forced to use a different email for the second registration. But the first email was the email associated with my PayPal account, which is required if you want to get paid. 🙂 So I have to change my PayPal email now. (I have never did it before, so I hope it’s possible.)

I’ve asked Yalla to delete my first account and change the email address on the second one. So let’s see the outcome. 🙂

The first gallery covers the user registration process step by step.

After the registration, this is your user dashboard. Notice which fields you can and cannot edit.

Yalla Apps Dashboard

The next step is to activate your account and unlock your developer phone.

To be continued…

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