marketplace

The Windows Phone 8.1 core has been finished today, so it seems appropriate to take a look at an area that is need of some improvement: the Windows Phone Store.

The Windows Phone Store has been both a source of inspiration (e.g. trials), and tribulations (e.g. weak tools for reviews). Luckily for you, it looks like the Windows Phone team is delivering some user-requested features and parity with Windows 8.1. Hopefully these changes will deliver a more satisfying user experience.

The information comes to us from people familiar with the matter, and we have been able to verify that the information is accurate. Having said that, there may be some changes to the final design for the RTM release of Windows Phone 8.1.

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If you have yet to receive the memo, Games for Windows Live Marketplace has been shut down for good as of yesterday. Microsoft states that userswill no longer be able to purchase new content through the marketplace, but previously purchased software will still be available to re-download. As Microsoft’s Xbox platform switched from Microsoft Points to local currency, the Games for Windows Live Marketplace was left behind in the dust.

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We’ve known it for a long time already, but today Microsoft’s Chief Product Officer for Xbox, Marc Whitten, officially announced that local currencies would be brought to Xbox 360 and Xbox One consoles to replace the soon to be defunct point system. The change was stated as being made as "a direct result of customer feedback."

The change allows customers to purchase content without the need to calculate how much an item actually costs in its default point listing. Microsoft states that you will still be able to purchase content from the Xbox store using current forms of payment presently available in your region. In addition, the new Xbox gift cards will be available for purchase online and through local retailers in late 2013.

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We've been hit by a number of reports this morning that the Windows Phone Store is playing up and not allowing consumers to download apps and games. We're able to confirm that the issue is indeed present, with the error 805a0193 displaying when attempting to grab an app for our handset. This isn't the first (and probably not the last) time the store has fallen unwell.

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Previously when we saw the release of the Vimeo for Windows Phone 8 we noticed that it had vanished from the marketplace for Windows Phone 7. Whilst concerned that it was being pulled for the previous version of the OS we did have a hunch it might just be a marketplace glitch.

Turns out our hunch was right and the app is now available to grab and install again from the marketplace.

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Most of us have suffered this pain, especially back in the early days of Windows Phone 7: There's a new Xbox Live title for Windows Phone, however those Xbox Live games aren't available in YOUR Marketplace. The Americans get them every Wednesday, but no such luck for those in Microsoft's "less favored" countries. Or the same game is priced differently in different regions of the Marketplace, for some absurd reason yours is a tad more expensive than everyone else's.

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Those of you who have just purchased a new Windows Phone 8 device might have noted that there are some gaps with regards to apps. Previously available apps are not showing in the marketplace and are in need of an update. One such app is the high profile Spotify offering.

The app was a long time coming on Windows Phone 7 and many subscribers rely on it greatly to get their mobile music fix. Even with the advent of Xbox Music and competing services like Rdio, Spotify still offers up a compelling selection, especially for those with specialist music tastes.

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Just like our London busses, you wait around for ages and then they all come at once. It seems that someone has flicked a switch somewhere and released a few updates today for Windows Phone.

Of particular note, Amazon Mobile on its way up to version 1.9.1 and picks up support for the oh-so close Windows Phone 8. It’s good to see some developers with early access readying their apps for the shiny new operating system which is only days away.

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Reinstaller is a free little app available for Windows Phone that aids consumers in starting fresh on a new handset, or when reseting a Windows Phone. The app essentially does exactly what the name suggests - it reinstalls apps already purchased by connecting to windowsphone.com.

Once the user has logged in and connected Reinstaller to the official Windows Phone website, Reinstaller pulls down all previously installed apps (both paid and free downloads). Instead of searching the Store for each and every app you've previously owned, Reinstaller provides a useful shortcut.

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As Bruce Forsyth would say - higher or lower?

Bernardo Zamora has published an insightful blog post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog, which goes into detail on how developers should configure individual market pricing - if at all. It's an interesting part of marketing one's work. Building and submitting the app is one thing. Effectively pricing your app(s) is another.

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Now you see it, now you may not.

Viber has been pulled from the Marketplace, according to multiple sources which include reports from Windows Phone Central readers. The app, which is currently a Nokia exclusive, was released over the weekend but is no longer available to a number of consumers. We're still able to access the listing and download the Nokia exclusive Viber from the UK. So, has it vanished? If so, why?

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It's another cryptic Microsoft error code...

Developers have been experiencing issues when submitting .XAP files to the Marketplace for approval. Whether it be new apps or updates for already-submitted content, developers are getting hit with an error code. Glenn Edwards, the brains and soul behind recently released MetroSpec, has also been having trouble getting his work published.

We last covered MetroSpec when it went live on the Marketplace a couple of days ago. The paid version got through, but the free, ad-supported baby brother is still being held back. It's an annoyance more than anything as the Windows Phone community love their trials and free versions of apps that seek their hard-earned cash - and rightly so. If developers can't publish all their work, then this could cost them valuable custom.

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Say hello to semi-Live Tiles

Yesterday we covered new changes being applied to the Windows Phone web Marketplace Store, which started rolling out in Australia and New Zealand. Microsoft has dived right in and the end result is fairly impressive with the use of tiles that show details on hover as a useful example of what improvements are being implemented.

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Windows Phone Marketplace is now the Windows Phone Store

We've heard rumblings that the Windows Phone website and Marketplace had been redesigned to give things a more friendlier approach. Microsoft has now made it official that they are rolling out these changes, globally, beginning with Australia and New Zealand.

The changes cover everything from how the Marketplace looks to a new name for our app store. For starters, say goodbye to the Windows Phone Marketplace and hello to the Windows Phone Store.  This will bring our store in line with the upcoming Windows 8 Store, the Windows Store.  You will also see the menu option on the Windowsphone.com website will shift from Marketplace to Apps+Games.

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If you've launched your Zune Desktop lately, you've probably seen the pop-up message alerting you that features have changed. When you re-launch Zune you will find that there is no longer a Zune HD marketplace listing.

The only options available under the Zune Desktop Marketplace listing are Picks, Music, Videos and Podcasts. The option to view Apps, both Zune and the resurgent Windows Phone 7 apps, have vanished. We know that Microsoft is in the process of renovating the Zune services over to Xbox Music and this change could be part of that process.

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We're back again with more spam (or useless app deployment) rants, folks. Apologies in advance but it really tickles the annoyed spot when we come across developers who either believe it's perfectly fine to publish copyrighted content with other owned properties, or simply launch themselves on a crap-posting-spree.

The last time we touched on spam itself, we were following the work of Eric_Rulz, but don't worry if you missed our coverage and investigation as his account is still present as well as the apps he produced. This is a developer who was obviously on a path to cause trouble by building and releasing apps that hold little (if any) functionality that's useful for consumers. In fact, he has an app called Spam.

Unfortunately we've noticed some more extreme levels of spam, from a developer called Bhavana Khatri.

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Back at the end of May, Microsoft surprisingly turned off the Windows Phone Marketplace from Zune Desktop. The “update” wasn’t software based but instead just altered a configuration file on the user’s computer, causing the Marketplace to be hidden.

We ended up using a simple hack (more of that below) to bring ours back but now a user in our forum (“rockstarzzz”) is claiming that they’ve received another feature-change notification…

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Marketplace fix has been applied but it may take a day or two deploy

As expected, Microsoft has begun deploying the digital certificate fix for the Marketplace that has resulted in some Windows Phone users unable to either install or update a select few apps (notably WhatsApp, NY Times and Translator). In a recent change to the Windows Phone Developer Blog, Todd Brix notes:

“We fixed the digital certificate problem and last evening resumed publishing new apps. It will take a day or two for the repair to fully deploy and newly-published apps to begin appearing in Marketplace again.  If your app was in the process of being published, you don’t need to take any action.  We have applied the fix and the app will continue through the certification and publishing workflow as normal.”

Of course as mentioned above that does not mean you can now instantly re-install or update those apps with issues as it can take time for the changes to rollout across their servers. Still, users should be begin to see updates by the end of the weekend.

Let us know in comments if you have had any success. Thanks, ThisIsMetro, for the heads up

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