Microsoft has been busy updating their Windows Phone App Hub. This is where Windows Phone developers go to manage their accounts, change settings, submit applications to the Marketplace and generally stay up to date with everything Windows Phone. We mentioned some of the details of the update earlier but here's how it breaks down.
The update focuses on three areas.
More geographic markets for developers: Essentially Microsoft is broadening Windows Phone's horizons by adding 19 new consumer markets that include Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, India, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and Taiwan.
There will also be 7 new developer markets that include Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, South Africa and South Korea.
In addition to market expansion the App Hub is now localized for Korean and Simplified Chinese and price tiers have been successfully modified on a country-by-country basis to adjust for fluctuations in the global currency exchange rates.
Lastly, on the geographic front, Microsoft's Advertising PubCenter support will be extended to 18 additional countries by the end of 2011. They include Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. This will enable developers in these countries to receive mobile in-app advertising revenue in their local currency.
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New private distribution options: We've touched on this before but the update gives Windows Phone developers the option to distribute apps privately, as well as publicly, under two options.
Beta Distribution enables developers to distribute pre-certified apps to a group of up to 100 access controlled beta testers for up to 90 days. It gives the developers a means to field test their apps before publishing them to the Marketplace.
Target Distribution enables an app to be distributed through the Marketplace but in a hidden state for targeted users only. Targeted users would be given a deep-link to the app and there is no limits to the number of users for these apps and they can be publicly published at any time.
Enhanced Application Management: These are updates designed to give developers better account management tools, a streamlined application submission process and enhanced reporting capabilities. Features such as detailed reporting, enhanced dashboard, and the ability to edit the apps metadata without submitting the change for re-certification are among the updates.
Consumers will likely see this update most notably with the new app categories to make apps easier to find. The three new categories include education, kids/family, and government/politics.
Along with all the details about the AppHub Update, Microsoft offered a few suggestions to developers. One of which may give us some insight as to the timing of the Mango update. Apparently Microsoft will begin accepting Mango app submissions in late August. While no hard date was announced, it was phrased, "We're just about a month away..."
Could this mean that Mango will be released shortly there after? Regardless, Microsoft isn't wasting any time and continues to improve upon the Windows Phone environment.