There's plenty of buzz in the air about Windows Phone 7. If you are interested in WP7 then you'll be interested in the following events.
Monday 11 October at 9:30 AM EDT you can watch the Windows Phone 7 launch event live! Here's the URL for the streaming: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/windowsphone/ There's no telling what type of new information we'll hear at the announcement.
The other are the Windows Phone 7 launch events. I've for the information for the events in the USA. If you are in one of the nations in which it will be launced this year you may want to check to see if there are events in your area. The events are free two day events. There will be real Windows Phone 7 devices at the events and plenty of new information on what's coming.
One of the reoccurring questions that comes up in the user's forums is how does one remove an item from the Ready to Install list in the Windows Marketplace for Mobile. The answer to this question is You do not. There is no functionality in the Windows Marketplace for Mobile to do this.
On one hand this makes sense. The Xbox 360 works the same way. On the Xbox 360 every item you've ever downloaded is added to a list. Should you ever want to redownload it you can either find it in the Xbox Live Marketplace again or you can go to the list of applications you've previously downloaded and grab it again. I like having this option, especially when my xbox only had 20 gigs; it was reassuring to know that if I cleared space on my harddrive that I wasn't loosing content.
On the Windows Marketplace for Mobile user's are not as welcoming of this permanent list as they are on the Xbox 360. Though it seems that most Xbox 360 owners that I've spoken to don't know the list exists and thus don't really evaluate it. From my own viewpoint though while the functionality is identical on both devices I must admit it would be nice to have an additional option to hide items from the Ready to Install List. Perhaps it is because the 3 inch screen on the Windows Mobile device doesn't have as much realestate as the 50 inch HDTV that the Xbox is connect to, perhaps it is easier for me to scroll down the list with my controller, keyboard, or remote than it is to scroll down the touch screen. I'm not sure. But what ever the reason may be I know that I would like the option of being able to hide the items.
It will be interesting to see how Windows Phone 7 handles this. The RTM tools will be released nine days from now. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the RTM firmware will be available too. I guess I will know in 7 days.
In case you've missed it, Microsoft has published its application categories for Windows Phone 7. They are as follows
- Books & Reference
- Action & Adventure
- Board & Classic
- Card & Casino
- Puzzle & Trivia
- Sports & Racing
- Xbox Companion
- Health & Fitness
- Diet & Nutrition
- Food & Dining
- Out & About
- Music & Video
- News & Weather
- City Guides
- Travel Tools
I frequently come across a reoccurring question in the MSDN forums. The question usually looks like the following:
I don't see my country listed for the Marketplace, how can I register so I can sell my apps?"
The answer to that question is "You can't." It is sometimes followed by a question about trying to register within another country. I don't think that will work; when I validated my identity for the Marketplace it was against a government issued ID, a bank, address, and one of the national credit reporting agencies was involved in addition to a notary. I wouldn't have been able to validate against all of those things unless I had residency in another country. So there doesn't seem to be a way to circumvent that. HAving hit that brick wall the usual response from the would be Windows Phone 7 developer is a rather emotionally charged statement declaring that Microsoft needs to get it's act together and ad their country.
One might wonder why those other countries are not yet able to access the Marketplace. At present there are 31 countries that have access to it (at launch it was 28 countries). Why can't Microsoft just add the other countries? Answering that question requires that one knows what's involved in adding another country. Unfortunately Microsoft doesn't disclose its commercialization processes nor everything that it does to add another country. What is known is that when a country is added there's matters related to tax treties and international trade, identifying local decency standards, establishing agreements with carriers, establishing agreements with a financial institution that takes care of the deposits, agreements with content providers, and so on. Adding a country requires that Microsoft do more than just add another name to the country drop-down list.
As things stand right now Apple has the largest footprint for their online Marketplace covering a total of about 90 countries. Microsoft is in second place with 31 countries (though it is less than that for Windows Phone 7), and Android is in third with 11 nations for paid apps (but 46 if you want to distribute free applications).
I tend to keep track of what's going on in the Windows Marketplace for Mobile and remember seeing an application with the same functionality as mine in the store for India. As of last night it was also available in the USA application store. That's fine, after all competition is a good thing.
What I didn't notice until later was the keywords that the application was associated with. If one were to do a search for my application by it's title the other application comes up too. It reminds me of the Angry bird thing all over again (If you aren't familiar with that search for Angry Bird in the iTunes App Store. In addition to finding a game by that name you'll also find a number of other applications from other publishers making it hard to pick out the actual game).
This specific example is not one of much concern; the only reason the application has a price was to prove to some one that it wouldn't sell (and boy was I wrong). But it does bring up a higher concern. In addition to the Angrybird case there seem to be a number of different applications in all the Marketplaces that I've looked at in which one application intentionally makes an association with another to "ride on it's success." One could argue it's common practice. There was a USA case in which one insurance company had done something so that when web searches were done for some other insurance company both companies would come up. The other insurance company took it to court and the ruling was that the practice was fair. All the same it makes one ask how they can ensure that a consumer can differentiate their product from another. I can't say that I know the answer to that, but it is something worth thinking about.
Update : Ugh! I was trying to find an applicaiton called "SpeedTest" for the iPad and ran into problems identifying it. Turns out what I needed is named "SpeedTest.net." But now there are lots of other applications using "SpeedTest" in their names!
An updated version of the rules for the Windows Marketplace for Mobile have been published. The most significant changes is that you can publish an unlimited number of paid apps for your 99 USD yearly registration fee. You can publish up to 5 free apps for that fee. For each additional app over that $5 the fee is 20 USD instead of 99 USD. A trial API has also been added so that customers can try out an application at no risk. The full list of policies can be found in the Windows Phone developer portal at http://developer.WindowsPhone.com.
One of the things I don't like about the Windows Marketplace for Mobile is that there's no method provided for reaching out to customers. There will be an occasional customer that has a problem using an application and it's not the application's fault. This can occur if the .Net framework failed to install, if the user is using a cooked ROM that doesn't conform to normal behavior, or the OEM has changed an API and given it non confurming behaviour causing the application to not work properly on that one phone.
When ever something like this happens the customer doens't try to determine who has responsibility for the failure. The customer will quickly conclude the application is faulty and will some times leave negative feedback on the download page for the application. And a one star rating can do significant damage to the sales of your application. Som other users may see it as a warning sign and will steer clear of your application because of it. To make matters worst you've got no way to reach out to the customer to determine what is wrong or provide any assistant to correct the issue.
Microsoft's heard the developer feedback on this issue and is said to have a solution in the works. In the mean time whether than waiting on the rollout for the solution I've got another solution implemented. I've provided a method for the users to reach me within the application. This won't help for the instances when a user cannot start an application. But a majority of the issues Iv'e seen are not from the application ont starting so this solution provides good coverage. My thoughts on the matter are that a customer will take the easiest most visible pathway for expressing their thoughts on an application (satisficing) and providing a feedback mechanism within the application will help pre-empt negative feedback.
In putting my thoughts to the test I've included an option to provide feedback in the "FindMe" application that I submitted to the Marketplace and plan to see what type of feedback that I get. I'm not really interested in sales for this application, but at the same time I don't want to cause the sales of the two other similar applications to flatline. So I've made the application free in the marketplace for now but plan to raise the price back up (possibly as early as this evening).
Update - I reached the download count that I needed so I just put a price back on the application. So it's no longer free. I'm getting some suggestion e-mails though the application already.
About a week ago I made mention to an application I made back in 2007 called "FindMe" and that I was going to put a version of it in the Marketplace. It's there now. You can grab it for free for an undisclosed amout of time. . There will be updates to the code. The present version is actually less functional than the original (I left out the autorespond functionality because of some variance in an API implementation HTC made in the HD2).
You can grab it for free for now. I plan to put a price back on it later on. There are two similar applications in the Marketplace and I don't want to be the one to initiate the race to the bottom (for price) so I'm goint to raise the price back up (possibly as early as this evening, Eastern time). You can purchase it here.
Update: 2010/05/23- Wow, that was fast. Up to 400 downloads. I'll let another 100 download before upping the price.
I heard another developer speak about this, but I thought it was just a fluke, but it looks that the certification for the Windows Marketplace for Mobile has sped up significantly. The first time I submitted something for certification it took about a week for the certification process to complete. I went ahead and submitted the program I mentioned to the Marketplace late one night and by the next day I received notification that it has passed.
Good job Microsoft!
When ever a new application is made available in the marketplace it shows up in the "What's new" section. I decided to pull a sales report over a period of time to see if one day of the week had higher sales than another. My expectation is that one can maximize early sales by publishing their application on the day associated with the highest sales. First, here's the sales data that I collected:
Looking at this I can't really make much of a conclusion. The sales across each day of the week are too close for a trend to be clearly visible. So much for my theory...