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WP7 Marketplace hits 25,000 apps

Awh yeah! The Windows Phone Marketplace is now reportedly featuring 25,000 apps according to Windows Phone app list. While we still seem to be experiencing some uncontrolled app injection (all providing the same features/functions such as RSS feeds), it's been just over a month (since the 20k milestone) to bring 5,000 apps to end users.

Another app featuring website is WP7Applist, which is currently tracking 24,784 apps with around 4,000 of the counted apps being inactive. Moving on up, according to the weekly growth chart over at Windows Phone app list, we had a spike yesterday with a fairly large number of apps being pushed through.

If you missed our coverage, we now have the likes of DC Comics, Vevo, American Airlines, E! and more that were recently published.

Head on past the break for the charts. 

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FoodSpotting app hits Marketplace

The official WP7 app for FoodSpotting has made its way to the Marketplace.  Just like the site itself, the new app helps users find nearby restaurants and review them, right down to the individual tasty tidbit.  Take photos of your favorite dish, upload it, and share it with others.  You can search by map or genre and even bookmark foods you want to try.  And all of this can be shared with other FoodSpotting users.

You can get it here.

Source: FoodSpotting Thanks goes out to Nicolas for the tip!

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Zune HD apps to be ported to WP7

It's been revealed that there are plans for some apps on Zune HD to be ported onto the Windows Phone platform. This is fantastic news if this goes ahead at some point due to the quality of apps available to Zune HD users is pretty high and the WP7 Marketplace could always use a slight positive boost (especially with recent spam).

In a Zune Insider podcast, Zune senior business development manager, Dave McLauchlan explained that Zune HD apps could make an appearance in the WP7 Marketplace.

"A question I keep getting around apps on Zune [HD] is, what about porting to Windows Phone? There are many thousands of apps on the Windows Phone Marketplace, it’s going gangbusters and not so much on the Zune HD Marketplace. And that’s by design, we designed the system such that we would have a very public, very open marketplace for Windows Phone. But hey, what about the apps that are on Zune [HD]? We had some very good apps there. When are they coming to Windows Phone?

The answer to that question is two-fold. Number one, we actually have some developers that have developed titles for Zune [HD] that aren’t Microsoft employees or aren’t on the Zune team. And those guys are very welcome to go and create apps for Windows Phone any time they like. The apps that we have built internally for Zune [HD], we’re actually looking at porting those over to Windows Phone. Right now, our focus for the app team is, more apps for Zune [HD]. Zune [HD] owners would like to hear that there’s more stuff coming. So that’s definitely the case."

You can check out the podcast where you can witness the banter surrounding the topic. What apps would you like to see ported?

Via: AnythingbutiPhone and Windows Phone Secrets

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More WP7 Marketplace spam

We've already waved our hands frantically to Microsoft to get their attention at the sheer volume of spam that was entering the Marketplace, one developer went as far as to create spam apps which served no purpose whatsoever, but were still accepted and certified. This didn't play well with WP7 owners when the platform had just passed the 20,000 app marker.

Microsoft later responded to the complaints and shouts from the community for them to alter certification and deflect any future submissions (we still don't understand how an app called SPAM which only contained information stating that it was spam got through). They basically told us that the team would be contacting companies and developers who have submitted a large number of apps that share similar functionality to offer advice in scaling down to one or a few apps (remember those real estate apps?) Also, the number of app submissions per-day were going to be limited:

"To avoid the scenario where bulk publishing crowds out other apps in Marketplace in the future, effective immediately, we are limiting the number of apps any one developer can have certified in a single day to 20. Developers creating a large number of apps can still submit all of them for certification, but they will be certified at a maximum rate of 20 per day rather than all at once."

While the response was welcomed, it hasn't proved effective unfortunately. Take a look at these new RSS apps that have flooded in the past two days (we counted 41 in total):

Seems as though Microsoft really does need better detection for spam or multiple apps, I'm not sure how the above RSS apps got through however. Surely one would expect the approval system/team would flag numerous submissions that appeared to be identical or similar to prevent duplication or fragmentation?

C'mon Microsoft, sort this out sooner rather than later. Mango is soon approaching and we need the platform to be spotless to aid conversions and potential buyers in taking the leap for WP7.

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Seems as though the Windows Phone 7 focus is going a step further with the planned closure of the Windows Mobile web accessible Marketplace on July 15th 2011. Fear not if you still use this platform since you'll still be able to purchase and download apps from the Marketplace on your Windows Mobile Phone.

My Phone is also scheduled to be discontinued on August 7th 2011, which will affect those who rely on this service for backing up your device content. Also starting on the 7th, Microsoft will begin transferring your My Phone content to SkyDrive. You'll be able to access this storage with the LiveID you used to register for the My Phone service.

Be cautious however, videos, music, documents and favorites will not be moved to the SkyDrive and will need to be manually backed up to your local machine. On October 6th 2011, the My Phone website will cease to be available. Microsoft will keep your content (on CD and DVD) from the service for one year, which can be shipped to you upon request by October 5th 2012.

For more information, please see this support article. In the meantime, can we interest you in WP7?

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Having bought my partner (who resides in Turkey) the HTC Trophy as she's smart and didn't want the iPhone or limited Android devices available (Turkey is horrible for smartphones, had to buy the Trophy here in the UK), I know second hand how frustrating it is for someone to use services on their WP7 outside supported countries. She gets by with Xbox Live and the Marketplace working fine with my bank card on file, but we've had to use workarounds and more to get the base line functionality working.

While we haven't attempted to get Zune Pass working with OTA music streaming, it seems there are plans for services to be moved beyond the US and UK so hopefully everything should work when Microsoft enhance their coverage (doubtful Turkey will be included). Joe Belfiore (Corporate Vice President of WP) mentioned, while enjoying the Mango Twitter integration, that there are plans in the works to expand the Zune services along with speech and more. This would definitely be a step in the right direction, especially for countries that don't have the services to cater for smartphones. 

We will keep an eye on the Windows Phone Team blog for more detail when released.

Source: Twitter, via: 1800 PocketPC

Update: Andrew Birch has posted a table which will be updated as country support is updated, very handy to bookmark and keep an eye on it!

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It was just yesterday that our own Richard Edmonds wrote an editorial here lamenting the sudden influx of many apps in the Marketplace from a single publisher. You may have seen this yourself, where the Marketplace under "New" is suddenly flooded with 50 apps that are all the same but "vary" by region.

We weren't the only blog to complain about it and your comments were unified: this was bad practice on Microsoft's part and it should be addressed sooner than later, otherwise we'll have another Android marketplace on our hands--and no one wants that.

Just 24 hours later, Microsoft has responded to the complaints via their Windows Phone Developer Blog. Todd Brix wrote up the piece and we have to commend Microsoft for both being quick and forthcoming on the process and their reasoning. They then present an fairly even-handed solution in two parts:

1. "To avoid the scenario where bulk publishing crowds out other apps in Marketplace in the future, effective immediately, we are limiting the number of apps any one developer can have certified in a single day to 20. Developers creating a large number of apps can still submit all of them for certification, but they will be certified at a maximum rate of 20 per day rather than all at once."

While 20 may still seem a lot, a cap is better than no cap and we hope that we rarely see as many apps from a single publisher. We imagine if it's still a problem, Microsoft could just as easily reduce that number. In fact, in order to prevent a developer from needlessly publishing apps, Microsoft has a part two as a solution to the problem:

2. "In addition, we are reaching out to the companies who most recently published a large number of apps with similar functionality in a short period of time. We’re offering to work with these developers to explore how they can better take advantage of the Windows Phone platform to improve the functionality of their apps and reduce the need for large numbers of similar apps."

By themselves, neither of these measures would be that effective, but combined we see this one-two punch to be a fair way to better control this ongoing issue and ensure a pleasant Marketplace experience. But now that Microsoft has said something, what do you folks think? We think MS deserves a lot credit for their response. You?

Source: Windows Phone Developer Blog; Thanks, Aleksandr K./Arktronic, for the tip!

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Marketplace populating numbers with spam?

After we got through the horrendous amount of champagne at WPCentral HQ with the milestone of 20,000 apps being passed, we decided to take a good look at the new apps being submitted (and approved) to see what really gave the total a sudden shove past the 20K marker. It seems to be down to a good number of apps including the recently famed real estate apps, which have been a constant addition for days now.

There's one better though. Check these absolute beauties out, which were developed by Eric_Rulz (I know what you're thinking, L337 right?). SPAM apps. No, not for the meat, they're not a spam history related app, nor can you order cans of the stuff to your doorstep. I'm talking about useless crap, that type of spam. This guy is trolling via apps. Microsoft is actually allowing someone (probably a competitive fanboy, who knows?) to clog up our marketplace with ridiculous content:

He's not the only one as well, which makes the whole situation more infuriating and this is where I get upset. Remember when we announced our awesome app and a short delay occurred due to the submission being declined? It was due to minute design problems, which (in my personal opinion) shouldn't have prompted the ban hammer to attack us. Now with that in mind, I would certainly find it entertaining for a member of the app review team (whom all seem to be either drunk/asleep or both at the present time) to explain how these spam apps are getting through the quality control?

C'mon Microsoft, you can't boast about reaching goals quicker than competitors if the said goals are being completed by spam, surely? Hopefully they'll get a hand on this soon enough and ensure this doesn't happen in future. 

Thanks Quicky for the tip!

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Not so long ago, 1800PocketPC reported that the Marketplace ranking system which moves apps and games up and down within a category depending on popularity and rating was broken (probably Chuck Norris had his app declined at certification and decided to round-house kick the Marketplace). Everything now seems to be back to normal and rankings reflective of respective ratings.

The problem was most notable with Lunar Lander, released on 11th May, has a two and a half star rating and was frozen at 68th position, while newly released Hydro Thunder GO, which has a four star rating was stamped at 1277th position. While this may not affect big developers much in terms of reach, indie developers who don't have Live titles in the games category would have found this particularly worrying, especially since they already have problems with Live titles getting more coverage.

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That's correct folks, we've reached the 20,000 app marker, which is fantastic for the platform in seven months. Our 10,000 milestone marker coverage mentioned how we were expanding at a faster rate than both the iPhone and Android. It's worth to note that the 10,000 app marker was surpassed in four and a half months (since launch) - we've since halved the time taken to get another 10K. Not to mention it's only been a month since 15,000 apps were announced!

RIM currently has little over 20,000 apps available for their platform since 2009, which we will be over-taking shortly. Will this growth continue for WP7? It certainly seems that way. Check the graph below to see the increasing number of apps being submitted, the line is becoming more steep as we advance in time.

Of course, there's always a downside to high numbers; fragmentation and spam - iOS began experiencing this when they reached the 20k marker for the App Store with a ton of LITE apps. Some of which we've witnessed lately with regards to some real estate apps (one being submitted per state), which could possibly be integrated into one offering? Let's hope the certification process starts becoming strict on these sorts of submissions to keep the Marketplace clean.

None of the above would be possible without our contribution - the wpcentral app. See, even we're helping out in the counters where we can!

Source: Windows Phone Applist

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Back in March we mentioned that WP7applist, the unofficial online Windows Phone Marketplace directory, would be getting its own mobile application. The WP7applist website doesn’t play well with Windows Phone’s internet browser, so an app was definitely needed. That app has beaten our application to the punch (if only slightly) as it’s now available on the Marketplace.

The app starts out on a Spotlight page, much like the official Marketplace. More useful is the Discovery page, which links to several categories of apps: all recent changes, just released, app updates, deals & price drops, and apps gone free. It’s a fast and easy way to find deals and other changes. The Most Popular page tracks numerous app categories, including games, news & weather, and more. A Reviews page tracks WP7applist’s handful of reviews. Finally, the Search page allows searches by title or publisher.

Once you’ve located an app that you’re interested in, selecting it brings up WP7applist’s unique App Details page. It contains the usual Marketplace description, screenshots, and user reviews, in addition to the app’s overall popularity rating and a history of its price changes and updates. Click the Get It button and the app seamlessly switches to the real Marketplace page for easy purchasing and downloading.

Oh, it has a Live Tile too that shows current Marketplace app count, number of app updates and new releases in the last 24 hours, updated every hour on the device.

WP7applist for Windows Phone is an incredibly convenient way to learn about new applications and changes in the Marketplace, easily outdoing the official Marketplace in several ways. It doesn’t quite have the full WP7applist website’s functionality yet – there’s no way to keep track of the apps you actually own. But the app is off to a fantastic start and hopefully even more features will come in the future.

The WP7applist application is free and a must-download. Grab it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

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Todd Brix, the overseer of the Marketplace, just posted an article on the Windows Team Blog which goes into more depth about the web version of the Windows Phone Marketplace. This was announced yesterday, which we relayed.

The new version of the Marketplace available on the web will launch later this year along with Mango. This will, as mentioned in the previous post, bring a new platform to developers that will automatically provide them with more reach to customers without requiring the developer to do (or change) a thing -- it's all backend as expected.

There will be more placements for featured apps that will bring more noticeability and reach, ensuring developers receive more potential conversions while their app is in the spotlight. Users who browse the web version will be able to share apps and games via social media and email to contacts and friends.

Bing visual search will be re-configured too. Any end-user searching for apps and games will now be linked straight to the web Marketplace on their PC, ready to download and install. Your Live ID will be integrated so you wont have to activate a separate payment gateway in order to make a purchase. Simply click and go using card details on your account. Applications and games will be downloaded over-the-air via SMS or email.

It will also be a huge plus for anyone using a Mac who doesn't have access to the Zune software. Oh, and it looks gorgeous, thank you Metro UI.

Update: We've been contacted by Microsoft for a clarification on how the Web Marketplace would operate, ideally:

Regarding how apps are pushed to the phone OTA, we expect the vast majority of customers to install apps to the phone from Web Marketplace in a single step, using our notification service. SMS would only be used the first time if the notification service is not already turned on. This means that customers get the app on their phone with no additional steps - - no links or added engagement on the phone. There is an alternate scenario whereby customers can choose to send themselves an email with a link as we discussed, but practically speaking, we expect most people to simply let the app install in the background.

Source: Windows Team Blog Thanks goes out to Jay for the tip!

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WP7 Marketplace hitting the web

We've always heard the constant cry for a web-accessible version of the Marketplace, especially those who use OS X (like myself) -- the Windows Phone 7 Connector is simply no Zune media center. Matt Bencke, in the same post where he announced the Mango SDK being available, spoke about plans to bring in a web version of the Marketplace.

"To better reach customers worldwide, I’m also pleased to announce today that Mango will offer a new web version of Windows Phone Marketplace. This will enable customers to shop, share and buy/download apps and games from any PC and send them directly to their phones. You get more visibility for your apps with no extra work. The Mango Marketplace will bring several new features and capabilities that Todd Brix will be expanding upon here a little later."

Great news all around. The ability to view and purchsse apps on your PC (or Mac -- hopefully) will surely improve the usage of the store and bring a new wave of users to WP7 developers.

Source: Windows Phone Developer Blog

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Can't have a major OS update without developer tools, right? And to that end, Microsoft has announced that the beta release of the Windows Phone Developer Tools that work with Mango will be available at some point today.

The big strokes, according to Microsoft:

  • Background processing
  • New profiler and emulator for testing
  • Use of Silverlight + XNA together
  • Silverlight 4
  • IE9 web browser control
  • Live Tile enhancements: use of back of tiles and ability to update Live Tiles locally
  • Deep linking into apps from notifications and Live Tiles
  • Additional sensors; direct camera access, compass & gyro
  • Fast application switching
  • Networking / sockets for communications
  • Local SQL database for structured storage
  • Access to calendar and contacts for apps

And that's just the tip of the iceburg. Along iwth the Mango release, the Marketplace is opening up to an addition 19 countires. They are: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, India, Japan, Korea (South), Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Sweden and Taiwan.

A fine update, indeed. Get the full deets at the Windows Phone dev blog, linked below.

Source: Windows Phone Developer Blog. Download: Mango Developer Tools

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We haven't tossed this one around in a while and with Verizon customers coming on board soon with the HTC Trophy, it was suggested (thanks Sam) that we touch on the top apps over at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

We've got two sources to draw upon (actually there's more but we decided to settle on these two). First there's Bing's Visual Search (as depicted above) that lumps free with paid apps in their list. Then there's the Marketplace top ten that breaks things down into a list for free apps and a list for paid apps (see below).

Follow the break to read what apps stood out from both lists.

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Paramount Digital Entertainment has announced that 10 more of their titles will be coming to the Marketplace and will be exclusive to Windows Phone as part of Silverlight Enhanced Movies. We've seen this before, way back in December when Paramount first started this new media-style,  Aside from just watching the movies, the new Silverlight Enhanced Movies include the ability to bookmark, create and share clips, and search for people and products in the films.  There is even a trivia game which will allow users to share results with each other over social networking sites.

The Paramount films will be available in the U.S., Canada, U.K., France, Italy, Germany and Spain.  Right now you can get Mean Girls and School of Rock for $9.99, and each week a new title will be available.  Keep and eye out for True Grit, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, Waiting For “Superman,” The Last Airbender, Zoolander, Gi Joe: The Rise Of Cobra, Beowulf  and The Italian Job.  An ecclectic mix, for sure.  Hopefully, more will be on the way.

via: GeekyGadgets

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If you are looking for a good YouTube app for WP7, head over to XDA and check out the latest version of LazyWormApp's YouTube.  This stunning client is packed with features, including customized searching, favorites, full comment support and streaming of HQ videos over 3G and Wifi.  You can watch videos in preview form, or rotate your phone for full size.  There are a number of new features and improvements over the previous version:

New features
- Lazylist (customizable video feed)
- Author details and subscription
- Regional settings
- Recently played videos (history)

- Subtle interface animations
- Selectable description text (Nodo only)
- Preview playback while browsing comments & author
- Usability improvements
- Bug fixes

You can download the Marketplace or from the original thread.

Source: XDA

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As Windows Phone fans who stay up till the wee hours probably know, the Marketplace usually updates with new apps and price drops between 10 PM and midnight PST. Thus the new Xbox Live game and Deal of the Week are available by the time most people get up on Wednesday mornings.

This week, however, there seem to be a wrench and possibly a squirrel in the works. As of 10 AM PST, Lunar Lander still isn’t available for purchase and The Harvest is not showing its discounted price. There are no new Non-Xbox Live apps either.

Did the guy at Microsoft who throws the switch on Marketplace updates call in sick? Is this just some technical error? Or is there something more sinister at work? With Sony’s recent and well-publicized shutdown of PSN due to malicious hackery, many gamers are on edge where online services are concerned.

The Marketplace’s stalled update will likely be resolved later today. Cleaning squirrel guts takes time! We’ve contacted the good folks at Microsoft, who are aware of the problem. We’ll let you know as soon as they have more information to share or the update goes through.

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When the platform was in it's early stage of deployment the beauty of the Marketplace on the Windows Phone system is that it seems to have superb quality control when accepting apps and games into the catalog. Forcing developers to test their apps and make sure that enough development has gone into not only the backend cog-work, but the aesthetically pleasing UI implementation too.

While we still haven't become anywhere near as fragmented as Android and iOS (LITE/LIVE apps anyone?), the Marketplace is beginning to show signs of growth with the inclusion of apps that just aren't up to the high standards of others. If anything, 4th & Mayor is a fantastic app that could be used as quality control, which developers would need to target. Check the Application Certificate Requirement changes after the break

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We all thought the worst was over after the Marketplace outage yesterday with scheduled maintenance, but now it seems Xbox Live is having an issue on multiple WP7 devices with backend Windows Live services. If you head on into the Xbox Live hub and await for the automatic update process to start, you should be left with a forever hanging "Updating..." at the top.

Both myself (Omnia 7) and our Daniel Rubino (Focus) have reproduced the error so it looks like it's not directly affecting a single location and multiple Live profiles are confirmed to be affected. Hopefully Microsoft will get the system back up to speed. For the time being they have stated on Twitter that "It’s a new issue that users are unable to access Xbox LIVE features at this time." Are you experiencing this issue?

via: WinRumors

Update: We've just had news (and have confirmed) that the Xbox service on WP7 is now back online. Thanks ash755 for the heads up!

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