Developers

Back in late February Microsoft announced that nine new OEMs would be joining the Windows Phone ecosystem. It also announced a new site, oem.windowsphone.com, for OEMs to get information and learn how to bring Windows Phone devices to market quickly. Companies like HTC and Samsung won’t really need this portal. That site is now live and potential OEMs can get the help they need to build and ship a new Windows Phone.

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It was just this weekend that Microsoft unified pricing tiers to help make universal apps easier, and today they've opened the floodgates to developers and are now accepting Windows Phone 8.1 and universal apps for review. As a refresher, universal apps take advantage of new frameworks in Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 to allow developers to build apps once and deploy them across both platforms.

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Microsoft will be kicking off a new worldwide campaign for developers to help drive some new apps and games to its app stores. Next month, the company will host a number of day events for content creators to pop along and receive some advice and support from experts.

Attending the days, developers will enjoy free consulting time with a Microsoft engineer who will provide guidance on a number of Windows development related topics – perfect if you're eyeing up the Windows and Windows Phone ecosystems for your next deployment.

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Bookmark this: Microsoft's highlights from Build 2014

We’re still recovering from Microsoft’s //BUILD/ conference from last week. Build 2014 was the event that Microsoft finally showed us Windows Phone 8.1 for the first time publically. It was also full of information for developers throughout the week at all the various sessions. Microsoft has compiled a really handy recap of the event last week.

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One particularly interesting talk out of Build showcased Microsoft’s plan to bring Windows Phone into the car with a new embedded software concept. The idea here will be to project the data from the phone onto the dash display in a usable, safe format, but as you can see, a lot of the Windows visual style is retained. This is great, considering most embedded car system interfaces (Microsoft’s included) are pretty ugly.

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We've heard of the past successes of the Windows Phone App Studio, but today Microsoft is announcing an update. The number 1 question has apparently been; what about Windows apps? Folks asking that need worry no longer and say hello to the unified Windows App Studio.

The beta release is available for use from today – see the source link down below for more – and allows you the ability to create a universal project resulting in both Windows Phone and Windows apps in the same session. Pretty nifty.

Also of note:

New in this release, we’ve added the ability to build a template that allows you to wrap a mobile website into an app, and add native controls, called a WebApp. By simply entering the URL of the mobile website, you can create a Web App Template (WAT) for Windows Phone. This option is currently not available for Windows apps.

You'll still be able to download your finished apps directly to your devices, as well as getting them in packaged and source code form if you should wish. And if you're wanting to publish your apps to the store, don't forget to register for a Developer account first. After the recent announcements at Build, this is good news to be hearing. Get to creatin'!

Source: Microsoft Windows App Studio Beta

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Here’s some potential good news for a handful of ambitious developers. Google has released over 50 Google APIs for .NET. Google quietly made the announcement last week on their developer blog. The release of the Google APIs Client Library for .NET should hopefully produce some nice Windows Phone and Windows 8 apps that tie into Google’s services.

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In doing this job, there’s the easy news – apps, device reviews, leaks – and then there’s the hard news, like criticizing Microsoft, leaking too much or talking about illegal apps. Today’s story falls into the latter category, but it’s more about the aftermath.

Long story short, a developer named Al Gihuni released a free app called ‘Free Market’. The app did something unique: it allowed you to find an app listed in a different region, perhaps at a lower price. The idea here is that some developers price their apps differently based on the market, or sometimes they run regional sales. ‘Free Market’ though took advantage of that by letting users find those price differences with a few clicks and the app tagline – “Download paid apps for free!” – was quite inflammatory.

Developers were not pleased, to say the least.

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A week from now we’ll be packing our bags and getting ready to head to San Francisco. This is where Microsoft’s 2014 Build conference will take place. The focus is on developers and upcoming product innovation Microsoft is making for them. We’ll see what Microsoft has in store not just for developers, but consumers as well, when they unveil Window Phone 8.1.

Not only will developers be treated to an updated mobile operating system with new APIs and features, but we’ll also see changes on the backend. Changes to the Windows Phone Dev Center are expected to come as well.

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In-App Purchases are extremely common in mobile apps and games these days. As an AT&T customer, I have the option of paying for Windows Phone IAPs by credit card, carrier billing, or Microsoft account. People with different carriers or living in other countries might not have access to those same payment methods. And you normally couldn’t use carrier billing for Windows 8 purchases.

Mobile payment provider Fortumo allows app developers to easily integrate carrier billing for IAPs into both Windows Phone and Windows 8/RT apps and games. Fortumo is so serious about getting Windows developers on-board that they’ve just launched a fund to pay advances to successful developers for integrating Fortumo payments into their apps. How successful does a developer need to be in order to get the funding? Read on to find out.

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Earlier this month Microsoft teased DirectX 12. The company said they’d have info to share about the next version of DirectX at this week’s GDC gaming conference. The Microsoft press conference just took place this morning. The DirectX team announced and shared a ton of info about DirectX 12. Read on if you’re ready for gaming to get even more enjoyable on your console, PC and phone.

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Here’s some stellar news for Windows Phone developers. Microsoft is rumored to buy software development company Xamarin. Microsoft and Xamarin have always had a cozy relationship. Last November the two tightened their marketing and technical ties with a new partnership deal. Xamarin is a popular tool because it allows developers to create Android and iOS applications uses C#, the development language of choice for a lot of Windows Phone and Windows 8 developers. Now Microsoft might buy Xamarin.

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Build 2014 is only a few weeks away, and the world is expecting Microsoft to finally unveil Windows Phone 8.1. The beta SDK is already in some hands, and we’ve even heard some 8.1 hardware is now circulating too for some devs. This is unsurprising, because Microsoft is not going to announce this thing with no release details on April 2. Quite the opposite, as Redmond appears to be taking a “hit the ground running” approach, making the OS preview-update available that day with new hardware only a few weeks later.

In that regard, seeing Microsoft check app compatibility when submitting new XAP files to the Store should not be a shock. After all, they probably want to test some things out, and we’re sure little nuggets like this will make an appearance between now and April 2. The change in the Store happened in the last five days, with people noticing late last week.

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Microsoft teases DirectX 12 announcement for GDC

Microsoft has just teased DirectX 12. The next version of its collection of multimedia APIs that are popular in game programming. The announcement will take place at this month’s Game Developer Conference on March 20th.

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Advertising platform for Windows and Windows Phone, AdDuplex has launched a new sweepstake initiative where the company will give away three Windows Phones to developers each month. This deal will last throughout 2014, so there's plenty of time to get involved and earn your own smartphone. It's a perfect time to be building apps for the platform.

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Complete Nokia MWC developer keynote posted

Did you miss our live blog of the Nokia developer keynote at MWC 2014 earlier this week? Did you want to watch it again and find out the latest in apps for the Nokia X-series, Asha phones, and Nokia's expansive Windows Phone line-up? Do you just want to kill an hour marinating in Stephen Elop, Timo Toikkanen, Bryan Biniak, and the rest of the Nokia team? Then the video above of the Nokia Developer Day Keynote from MWC 2014 might very well be for you.

Source: nokiadevforum (YouTube)

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If there was any question today about what Microsoft thinks about the Nokia X and its Android phone, their public line is that they’re fine with it. During Nokia Developer Day, John Shewchuk, a Microsoft technical fellow responsible for “strategy for cloud platform services”, took to the stage to demonstrate Microsoft services running on the Nokia X, noting that they’re a ‘devices and services company’ first and don’t consider Nokia’s choice to be against their interests.

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Nokia today announced in Barcelona a new effort to support Android developers through its new X line of smartphones. Not only do we have a new platform with Nokia's branding, but the company is also busy enhancing tools and services available for Windows Phone developers with a new version of the Imaging software development kit (SDK), adding Windows 8.1 support.

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Earlier this month we told you all about a new game exclusive to Windows Phone called Vicious Attack Llama Apocalypse: Alpha (but we’ll just call it VALA: Alpha). The game was created and launched by Matt Cavanagh, aka @RogueCode, from South Africa. He’s been around the Windows Phone scene a long time making his own apps and games, while also doing work for others like MyEdit. VALA: Alpha has only been out for two weeks, but it’s picked up over 50,000 downloads. In a new blog post he shares what’s next for the game.

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