Developers

Microsoft continues to move around – and in some cases layoff – various employees or contractors associated with Nokia and Windows Phone. Although the significant cuts came a few weeks ago, there are still some aftershocks being felt. One of those deals with the Developer Ambassadors from Nokia, as that team is being disbanded effectively at the end of this month.

In a letter sent out to developers from Microsoft DVLUP, the news of the group's demise is revealed, in addition to giving a hearty thanks to the team for their dedication.

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Microsoft is rolling out the ability for developers to respond directly to reviews in the Windows Phone Store. Replying to reviews is a feature that we reported on before the Windows Phone 8.1 announcement and was later confirmed by Microsoft. Select developers have had the ability since April thanks to a phased rollout, but a wider rollout is taking place now.

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Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 is now rolling out to those enrolled in the Preview for Developers program. Enthusiasts and developers can try out the latest version of Microsoft's mobile operating system by participating in the program. This update introduces new features, like Live Folders on the Start Screen, and also introduces support for new device resolutions. Developers will want to grab the new Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 SDK and emulators to test against those resolutions.

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For a few months now, you may have heard us mention that smartwatches and smart accessories were on the horizon for Windows Phone, especially towards August and September. The FitBit app announced last week is the first in that volley, and more are coming later this month.

Developer Jeremy Sinclair has now gone through the Update 1 for Windows Phone 8.1 that is rolling out today for Preview users and documented all the new APIs available. It is quite telling, as many of these APIs are to handle background and telephony tasks for those connected devices.

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AdDuplex has recently announced that its new Direct service has gone live. To remind everyone what AdDuplex Direct is all about, it's a new platform for app publishers and advertisers to arrange direct advertising placement deals, negating the paperwork, payment processing hassle and other headaches associated with locating publishers to part with their cash for in-app advertising. AdDuplex already offers a range of options for developers (particularly on Windows Phone and it's great to see yet another service added.

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Starting with Windows Phone 8.1 users can select a background wallpaper for their Start screen. The trick only works with apps that have a transparent Live Tile, which has resulted in a massive push by fans for more apps with those see-through Tiles. But like all things in life, sometimes it goes too far. For instance, many people have – rightly – complained that they liked those 'signature' colors for certain apps because it made finding them easier. I agree.

What's the best way to rectify the situation? Give users a choice. Here's how to do it.

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Microsoft's June XDK release for Xbox brings more flexible performance to gaming at the discretion of developers. Director of Development, Xbox Software Engineering Kareem Choudhry revealed that developers now have access to more GPU bandwidth that could help boost gaming performance when resources are not used or tied up.

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Ready to find out how the Windows Phone Store and Windows Store are doing? Microsoft has just published a report showing trends for the two platforms. We learn a lot of interesting things in the post. For example, did you know that low-memory devices, like the Lumia 520, lead in app downloads? Highlights after the break.

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If you’re a Windows Phone user, probably one of the cooler things you’re noticing these days are apps labeled as ‘Made for Windows Phones and Windows PCs. Is there anything more satisfying than having the same experience on your phone and PC? Today, Microsoft added another notch with the release of their Channel 9 app for Windows Phone. The app had been on Windows 8 for a while but now Phone users can get in on the action.

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Two weeks ago I told you about the Boston Microsoft Developer Group, which helps Windows Phone and Windows developers make their apps better. The group holds monthly, informal meetings where guest speakers share tips, you can mingle with other devs, have some food and win prizes. They’re always fun and a great way to meet your fellow developers for further insight.

Tonight is the meeting for May and Microsoft is sponsoring it. Last we checked, there are over 130 of you RSVP’d and we’ve been informed a few more spots are open (you don’t need to RSVP, as you can just walk in, though it’s easier if you’re ‘on the list’).

What’s more, you’re not-so cuddly editor in chief will be present, giving a talk on Windows Phone and its future! Here are the full details of tonight’s plan…

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Adobe releases PhoneGap Developer for Windows Phone

We wish Adobe had more apps out there for Windows Phone. They’ve had Adobe Reader out for a long time and today just released a new app. Sorry, it’s not Photoshop or Lightroom for your phone. Instead it’s an app called PhoneGap Developer. Surprise. It’s aimed squarely at any Windows Phone developer using PhoneGap to make apps.

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AdDuplex has kicked off the next month in the Every Phone They Make campaign, which will be rewarding developers with a chance to win a Lumia 625 and Lumia 820 for simply marketing their apps with AdDuplex. It's a great program for those who have apps submitted to the stores to win some awesome prizes. What's more is for the month of May, AdDuplex is also giving away a Lumia 1020 to the general public.

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Microsoft is set to host a "Best of Build" event for those who reside in India who may have missed the massive event, which took place last month. If you're interested in Microsoft Visual Studio 2013, Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.1, the company will have the event running from 7 May 2014 at 3:00pm (GMT+5:30) through 8 May 4:00pm, with a session per week on every Wednesday.

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