Microsoft unveils Windows Phone development centre

The software giant has revamped the mobile developer process to create apps and get them onto the Marketplace faster

Microsoft today launched a new version of its development centre for Windows Phone devices, hoping to encourage more developers to create apps compatible with the mobile software.

The Dev Centre has evolved from the App Hub previously used by Windows Phone developers, but has a much cleaner public interface representing the improvements in the latest mobile operating systems and Microsoft’s Windows 8 OS for PCs and tablets.

The homepage features quick links to commonly used developer tools – namely the ability to submit an app, download the software development kit (SDK) and view code samples.

Microsoft has also added support for more countries, enabling apps to be sold across 180 countries, compared to the 63 previously available. Developers will be able to tailor their pricing for apps too dependent on country, to make up for any changes in currency.

PayPal has been integrated into the Dev Centre so users can to settle their accounts or to get paid when their apps are bought around the world.

Microsoft claims the submission process for apps has been simplified by rejigging the default settings when you submit an app to reflect more developer preferences. The account management associated with this has also been made easier so changes can be made quickly, from a new address to new tax details.

The final boost to the Dev Centre is better analytics. The new tool enables developers to track the sales and/or downloads of their apps by a number of verticals so they can keep on top of how well their creation is doing in different markets.

The site is live now and can be used to develop apps for Windows Phone 7.5 or earlier versions of the OS. However, it is clear from its appearance it is ready for the Windows Phone 8 SDK to be added to the mix.

Now, Microsoft is looking feedback on the changes.

“We’ve made numerous upgrades and improvements to the developer portal and its underlying architecture; so many changes in fact, that it’s possible not everything will work perfectly out of the gate,” wrote Ash Wahi, group programme manager at Microsoft, on the company’s blog.

“If they don’t, please tell us, and we’ll get it fixed as soon as we can.”

The new Dev Centre comes just days after research figures showed Microsoft is finally growing its much beleaguered mobile business.

A study from Canalys showed that whilst Windows Phone still only held 3.2% market share, shipments had increased by a huge 277.3%, growing from 1.3 million handsets sold in the second quarter of 2011 to 5.1 million in Q2 2012.  

Whilst this has had little effect on Google’s Android mobile OS, which now accounts for 68% of market share, iOS, Blackberry and Symbian all fell in market share, with the last two also losing out on shipment numbers compared to last year.

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