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
Switching to the CZ 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:
As I predicted on Sunday, App Hub was updated. Now it seems that new countries were added:
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)
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.
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
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:
- Czech Republic
- 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
New features? XNA? Maybe my bet wasn’t so safe… 🙂