marketplace

Explained: A familiar error message for some Windows Phone users

Ever since WhatsApp was pulled and then re-released this past weekend, we have had a small deluge in complaints from users that they cannot install the update. Instead, they are greeted with the above error message, resulting in user frustration. What’s more, uninstalling the app, resetting the phone and dancing around in a circle did not fix the problem either.

We’ve been trying to figure out exactly why some users have the problem while others, including ourselves, do not. Just as interestingly, we wanted to know which apps were exhibiting the error.

Microsoft has now detailed the problem on the Windows Phone Blog and there’s good news and some bad news. The good news is they acknowledge that there is an issue and they even know what is causing it. As it turns out, there are some problems with certificates for new apps published in the Marketplace within the last week. 

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Lo and behold, WhatsApp for Windows Phone has returned. The popular messenger app vanished from view just over a week ago and has remained "private" since. We got in touch with the WhatsApp team in attempt to withdraw information detailing the reasons why it was hidden from consumers who may be looking to download (or reinstall) the app, but had no luck with replies received from employees.

We later relayed the news that WhatsApp for Windows Phone was possibly removed because of security concerns and vulnerabilities. A German website reported an Android WhatsApp sniffing tool was able to intercept messages sent using the messaging app over a WiFi connection. WhatsApp later denied this as the cause for the app pull and assured Windows Phone Central that this was not a security related incident.

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Nokia Netherlands has confirmed with WhatsAppen, a dedicated WhatsApp website, that an update for the Windows Phone app is well on its way. This is to follow the mysterious disappearance of WhatsApp, which is now set to private and is unavailable to those who do not have it installed.

It was only a few days ago when we first covered the disappearance of WhatsApp from the Windows Phone Marketplace, and were later contacted by the WhatsApp team who denied reports suggesting this pull was due to security issues. Unfortunately, they were unable to inform us exactly why the app was set to private, but it shouldn't matter in the next 48 hours as that's when Nokia has stated the app will return with the update.

We'll fire up a quick announcement when the app is once again available on the Marketplace.

via: WhatsAppen; thanks, Dennis, for the tip!

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Update from Pulse: "We have been prioritizing web and updating iOS and Android platforms and will look at the Windows phone in the near future. In the meantime, can we persuade you to check out the web app on a desktop platform." In other words, Pulse for Windows Phone looks to be dead for now.

Yet another mystery has fallen on Windows Phone users as the popular Pulse newsreader app has disappeared from the Store. We’ve reached out to the Pulse team for an answer on the matter and will update accordingly.

Recently, the company launched a very snazzy web-based version of their service that is really a sight to behold. The service now syncs between your web version and the app, allowing seamless management of your feeds and news. Unfortunately, any mention of Windows Phone has all be been erased from their site...

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You'll soon be purchasing apps from the Store

In the recent announcement of Microsoft launching the new Developer Center for the Windows Phone community, the company has also revealed a potential rebranding of the Windows Phone Marketplace. This is an expected move, which we'll rate as a strong possibility. The Windows 8 Store is present in the next version of Microsoft's desktop operating system, so to remain consistent it makes sense to bring in a new name.

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With the launch of Microsoft's new Outlook.com, which is set to replace its current Live (formerly Hotmail) email service, a number of Windows Phone owners quickly acted to save their desired @outlook.com email address. All good and dandy, but using the new Outlook address in place of your Live ID is a separate matter.

Should you decide to completely replace your Live ID with your new Outlook address, then you'll be required to reset your Windows Phone to be able to make use of integrated services and the Marketplace. This is a pain for those who have a lot of apps installed and have the device set up to the way that suits the owner. The good news is that all your purchases are saved and moved across to the new Outlook address, but what if you weren't aware of the fact you'd need to reset your device and don't wish to do so?

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Many Windows Phone owners noticed this morning they could no longer see WhatsApp, the popular messaging service, in the Marketplace. WhatsApp was bumped to version 2.0 back in May earlier this year and we can't think of a reason why it would vanish from view without prior warning - though we've almost grown used to this occurring with many other apps disappearing.

We've reached out to the WhatsApp team and will update this article accordingly. Of course, in the meantime there are plenty of alternative apps on the Marketplace, Kik being a popular alternative. Should you already have the app installed, fear not as the service works as one would expect. As for those who don't and wish to download it, we'll hopefully have more information for you soon.

Update: The app has not been completely pulled from the Marketplace as the hard link still links to it. Instead, the app has been marked as 'private' probably on error by someone--that mode is for when it is in closed-beta testing. WhatsApp could be re-working the app and may have another version going live soon (this is what happened with the CNN app the other day). We'll keep you posted. In the meantime, you can still see the app from this link though downloading is not allowed due to the 'private' status.

Update 2: WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton responded to the fan site WhatsAppen.com noting that their team hopes to submit a new version to the Marketplace soon. No other details were given but this sounds like an execution error rather than something more deleterious.

We're starting to suspect that WhatsApp will begin charging for the app (it's $0.99 on other platforms) and this is the changeover period. 

Thanks to everyone who tipped us!

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UK newspaper The Guardian has taken five Windows Phone to the side to query them as to how they view the development process on Windows Phone and why they view the platform worthy of both time and effort. The results were extremely positive.

The five developers included 7digital (music service), Addison Lee (private taxi hire firm), IndieSkies (Kaleidobooth), Escapist Games (Star Chart), and Distinction (Weather Flow). The short conclusion drawn from the results was praise for the OS itself and how apps can be quickly prototyped and subsequently released. The only downside was the developers' restraint over download and sales figures.

We've previously looked at how the developer interest in Windows Phone has continues to remain at a high level, while the likes of RIM falls rapidly. So this shouldn't be too much of a surprise that established developers are singing praise for Microsoft. Head on past the break for more juicy details.

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Microsoft in a surprising move has updated the Windows 8 Marketplace so that there is now another SkyDrive app available. This is not the WinRT version but instead a shortcut to the full-blown desktop app that is currently available to all. SkyDrive is going to be a linchpin of Microsoft’s cloud based continuous client strategy. So what are they up to?

Windows 8 already has the WinRT version of SkyDrive, but currently that does not support folder synchronisation. I have to say I find this rather odd. I would have expected MS to simply update the existing built-in app to support such a function.

I do think there are number of reasons they have chosen this route. Firstly, it could be that a pure WinRT version will make it impossible to execute that level of interaction with the classic desktop environment. It could also be there to help aid install until a fully featured SkyDrive app baked in  with the WinRT environment and the Classic environment.

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The overwhelming majority of Lumia 900 users are loving their phone

We know from personal experience that owners of the Lumia 900 (review) have a lot of pride in their device and that feeling has now been quantified in a new study commissioned by Nokia. Nokia hired Nielsen’s back in April to survey US buyers of their flagship Windows Phone to see how happy they were with their purchase decision. The numbers speak for themselves:

  • 96 per cent of owners are extremely satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their Lumia 900
  • 95 per cent of owners are willing to recommend the Lumia 900
  • 83 per cent say that their expectations are better or much better than expected
  • 85 per cent say they would repurchase the Lumia 900
  • 91 per cent think their phone is better than other mobiles out on the market
  • 95 per cent thought downloading an app from the Marketplace was easy to do

The survey was the online one we reported back in May and consisted of 810 people averaging 18 minutes to complete the questionnaire. Of course we wonder now how many of you skewed the results lending a sampling bias to Nielsen by not necessarily representing the average consumer (as opposed to “enthusiasts”). Ahem.

Results from the Nokia-Nielsen study (April 27, 2012 and on May 18, 2012)

Interestingly, nearly two-thirds of the people sampled had purchased their Lumia 900 through AT&T in a store as opposed to an online dealer like Amazon Wireless. We don’t have any numbers for comparison but it’s clear that in-store purchases are still king even when heavy-discounts are offered online (Amazon Wireless is routinely cheaper than AT&T direct).

Having said all of that we don’t doubt that many Lumia 900 users, either average or enthusiast, are very happy with their purchase. Nokia tends to garner brand loyalty and we’ve already seen how “Lumia” trends higher than “Windows Phone” reinforcing that notion. Today’s results are just as impressive.

Source: Nokia Conversations/Nielsen

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According to some of our readers, the Windows Phone Marketplace appears to experiencing some issues. We've confirmed ourselves that the UK and US Marketplaces are down, throwing a "c101a249" error when an attempt is made to download an app. As was the case with previous outages, we'll not get too worked up about potential maintenance.

Hopefully this downtime will be minimal. Have you experienced any issues today? Let us know in the comments. 

Update: Xbox LIVE and Zune are also down for a lot of users, so evidently the two are connected

Thanks, revamp, for the heads up!

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Todd Brix has announced on the Windows Phone Developer Blog that Windows Phone 8 will support 180 countries at launch. The platform currently covers 63 markets, making this a fairly sizeable improvement. Developers will also be able to make full use of this added support, which will be a bonus for consumers in those markets.

So which countries are being added? Check out the chart after the break for all the juicy details...

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The folks over at Windows Phone Geek have finally made their Developer Marketplace open to all. We last looked at the Marketplace when it was released in beta to a select few. The Marketplace enables Windows Phone developers to pick up (or sell) components, tools, templates, frameworks, and more.

The scheduled month to open up the Marketplace to all developers was September 2012, but with increasing interest Windows Phone Geek have decided to bring the release date forward a few months. Boryana Miloshevska, Founder and CEO, had the following to add in the press release.

"Previously, we announced that the private beta was expected to continue until September 2012. I am pleased to announce that, due to the huge interest, we are starting the public beta two months earlier! Starting today, our component marketplace is open to everyone."

Should you be interested to share any supported projects to the community, you can either give items away for free or publish a price tag to fund some beers. Be sure to check out the Marketplace regardless as the purpose of such a place is for developers to create better quality apps for consumers.

Source: Windows Phone Geek

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Earlier yesterday we reported that in Italy you can get a free Windows Phone prop for your Xbox Avatar. The prop was specifically a Nokia Windows Phone and it was "locked" to those in Italy.

Now reader Illum1na has done some searching and managed to turn on up in the Dutch Marketplace. Actually, he found four in total:

  • Black
  • Magenta
  • Blue
  • White

Not too shabby. Once again, these items are locked to the Dutch Marketplace meaning you probably won't have much luck trying to get 'em if you're not in that region. But if you are, you'll want to go to this link and grab 'em. You can actually get all four of them, in case you feel like changing it up a bit. 

Thanks, Illum1na, for the link!

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Microsoft is constantly working to improve the Windows Phone Marketplace experience. A few months ago we saw a commitment to the quality of apps appearing on the Marketplace. Now Microsoft is turning its attention towards the turn around time it takes an app to go from submission to appearing on the Marketplace.

It now takes three to four business days, roughly speaking, for an app to go through the certification process and be published on the Marketplace. The lag time between certification and having an app available is now about one day.

For example, recent updates for Logoarama and People Search took about four days with the updates becoming available under 24 hours of certification.We are still seeing it take about 48 hours (or longer) to have price changes become visible but the overall app submission process seems to be improving.

Source: Windows Team Blog

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According to data published by AllAboutWindowsPhone, using their in-house Marketplace tracking system, the Windows Phone Marketplace now boasts a healthy catalogue of apps / games. 100,000 to be almost precise. It has taken just 20 months to accumulate the total, which is four months quicker than Android, but slightly behind iOS at 16 months. Data shows that approximately 300 apps are being added to the Marketplace on a daily basis.

The chart below takes us through the submission numbers per-month since Windows Phone officially launched back in October 2010. What's clear to see is the substantial increase in 2012 compared to numbers from 2011. Of course, out of the 100,000 available apps, there are a number (estimated at around 10,000) that aren't available to consumers, due to Microsoft and / or the developer pulling content. But it's not always about quantity, right?

AAWP have noted in their report that UK and US data show a stable 12% of apps being of some quality - taking into account apps and games that are frequently downloaded and rated numerous (more than five) times. It's relatively difficult to judge how many available apps are useful to consumers and are not spam, but the report does suggest that Windows Phone is no different to competitor platforms. In the end, there'll always be crap in the Marketplace. 

The above (and last) chart shows us the category breakdown of the Marketplace. Surprisingly, it's not games that takes up the largest chunk. Entertainment is up top at 19%, Tools + Productivity is next with 15%, and Books + Reference is third at 13%. All-in-all, taking into account the growth figures above, Windows Phone is on the steady increase. With Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, and the announced updates to Xbox Live this coming fall, not to mention Xbox SmartGlass, we could see the momentum build for the platform. Here's hoping anyway.

We'll not repeat all details that are contained in AAWP's report, so be sure to head on over there for more juicy graphs and info.

Source: AllAboutWindowsPhone

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A few weeks ago, at Google's request, gMaps Pro was pulled from the Windows Phone Marketplace due to a copyright infringement request.

According to the developer Alexey Strakh, gMaps Pro was originally to be hidden from the open Marketplace while the app was re-branded. For some reason (Alexey notes a problem with Microsoft)  the app wasn't hidden and eventually pulled. Gmaps was flagged for violating Google's trademarks, something we reported on earlier as other apps had the same problem.

The skinny of it all is that gMaps Pro v1.23 is now available on the Marketplace but upgrades from previous versions are not possible without paying for the updated version. Because it was pulled or deleted from the Marketplace, v1.23 is considered a new app creation and updates to the old versions not possible.

Strakh has suggested for those who had already purchased gMaps Pro before the re-branding complain to Microsoft about having to pay for the app a second time. It's not the best of situations but on has to wonder if Google could offered the new version of gMaps Pro for a limited time as a free app to allow previous owners to upgrade for free?

Nonetheless, gMaps Pro is back on the Marketplace with a free trail version available to let you try things out before buying. The full version is running $1.99 and previous versions are not upgradeable.

You can find gMaps Pro here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Source: gMaps Pro (Facebook)

Update: We've just learned that Alexey Strakh is working on offering gMaps Pro v1.23 for free this Friday.  We aren't sure if it will be a midnight to midnight offer and once we get all the details, we'll pass them on.  If you are a current gMaps Pro user, it may be worth the wait to hold off on updating for a few days.

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We're getting a few reports, including one over at tech site cnBeta.com that the Windows Phone Marketplace is undergoing a lengthy blackout. Specifically when users try to download an app, the progress bar gets about half way (full downloaded) and then an "attention required" message pops up with an error 805a01f8.

What's perhaps worse is these errors have been going on for nearly 20 hours now, making this a significant down-time for many new Windows Phone users in China.

The error users are seeing in China right now when they attempt an app download

Word from cnBeta is that there is no official comment from Microsoft China on the matter and users are basically on their own until the system is fixed, leaving many users disgruntled and frustrated. 

Companies like Nokia and HTC have both recently made a large push into China signaling a successful attempt at selling Microsoft's OS to new customers, however such a setback with the Marketplace could create some negative blow-back from early adoptees. 

If you're in China and experiencing these problems or if they have resolved themselves, let us know in comments.

Source: cnBeta.com; Thanks, x. wang., for the tip

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It's been a busy month for the Windows Phone Marketplace and it's nice to see the momentum building. In May we've seen new apps such as AboutOne, LinkedIn, Photosynth, Baseball Live and Talkbox. Add new games such as MonstaFish, Feed Me Oil, MissileDefender, Logorama and WordHog and the Marketplace continues to build a very nice resume of titles.

We also saw updates to Facebook, WhatsApps, Rowi, Skydrive, Monster Island and our own WPCentral app. Oh, and the list of $.99 Xbox Live gaming titles continues to grow.

May was a busy month for the Windows Phone Marketplace and it doesn't look like things are going to slow down in June. There is the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) next week which we could see more Marketplace news hit the press. You also have the Nokia exclusive apps lurking in the shadows. Could we see Angry Birds Space, Madden NFL or Tiger Woods PGA Tour roll out in June?

Many criticize the Windows Phone system as lacking a strong enough Marketplace. Sure... we don't see it that way and the growth the Marketplace has had over the past month may thin our critics a bit.

We leave you with this question. As the Windows Phone Marketplace continues to grow, what is the one app or game that is missing that would make your app/game library complete?

via: Windows Phone Blog

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It's no secret that there will be compatibility issues with some Marketplace apps running on Windows Phones with only 256mb of RAM (like the Nokia Lumia 610). Up until now, finding out which app is or isn't compatible with the 256mb Windows Phones was done by word of mouth.

Not sure when the switch was thrown but now Microsoft has added an asterisks under system requirements in the Marketplace (website) listing for any incompatible app or game. Any app or game that won't run on 256mb devices will have "*Not available for all phones" listed beneath the required operating system.

There will be a link for more information that explains,

Some processor-intensive apps have memory requirements, and won't work on phones with 256 MB of RAM.

Some developers (such as Rovio and Angry Birds) are working on updates that will optimize these apps and games for use with the 256mb devices. Hopefully the number of asterisks on the Marketplace will start to decline.

Still the notation is nice and may prevent a little frustration when shopping for apps and games.

Thanks, Alex, for the tip!

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