Microsoft today updated their Windows Phone App Studio Beta with many new features. App Studio has now got over 160,000 users who have created more than 150,000 projects and built 65,000 apps since its launch. Based on the feedback from the community, they have added few improvements and new features in the App Studio. Few notable improvements includes the support for data caching, NFC, Fast Resume, FlipView, Ad SDK support and more.
- First, we’ve improved app development workflow by enhancing the code and projects that you create in Windows Phone App Studio Beta. For external data sources, with our new cache implementation, you can access dynamic data or RSS feeds even if the user’s phone is not connected. We’ve optimized Visual Studio projects to remove external references when they are not being used–this significantly reduces project size and complexity.
- With “Fast Resume” you can set a default language for easy publication in the Windows Phone Store.
- We’ve added “FlipView” which makes navigating between items in your data source easier.
- And you can integrate Near Field Communication (NFC) to share your app with other App Studio Beta users.
- We’ve also made it easier for you to integrate native phone functions into your app using “actions.” Simply create a menu and your users can choose to open Nokia Maps, play music, make phone calls, and use other native apps – all without leaving your app. You can also define these actions in your collection schemas as either dynamic or static, and choose in the bindings whether to display a button on the details page to execute that action.
- Finally, as we work toward integrating third-party SDKs, we have included calls to the Windows Phone Ad SDK. If you have a pubCenter account and want to add an ad control to your app, all you have to do is open the Visual Studio project, add your pubCenter ID, and then publish your app to the Windows Phone Store to start earning.
Read more from the link below.
Corona SDK is a tool which allows developers to easily create cross-platform 2D apps and is used by more than 300,000 developers worldwide.
Corona Labs has now announced coming support for Windows Phone and Windows 8.
The tool allows maximum code re-use, allowing developers to code 10x faster, and decreasing time to market and increasing iteration speed.
Matthias Schindler, CTO of flaregames notes, “Corona SDK makes it extremely easy to publish for iOS and Android with a single code base. By supporting Windows, Corona Labs will make it even easier for us to maximize our apps’ reach and success.”
“We continue to see strong growth within the Windows app ecosystem, thanks in part to contributions from companies like Corona Labs,” says Todd Brix, general manager, Windows Apps and Store, Microsoft Corp. “Corona’s platform has attracted a large number of successful developers who will be able to easily extend their apps into the Windows ecosystem.”
“Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 have proven to be great platforms for developers, and their growing user base presents a large opportunity,” says David Rangel, COO, Corona Labs. “We look forward to working with Microsoft, empowering Corona developers to build apps for Windows devices and reaching an even broader audience for their apps and games.”
Beta support for Windows Phone 8 will be available in the first quarter of 2014, followed by full support for Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8.
Read more at Corona Labs here
While Microsoft claimed there is no new developer APIs in Windows Phone 8 GDR3 (Or Update 3 as it is now called) it seems there is one new feature which will shortly be livening up our devices.
Developers can now use a custom sound for a toast notifications.
The custom sound files can be in WAV, WMA, or MP3 format, must be less than 10 seconds long, and must be stored in the app’s installation directory or local storage folder.
This means developers can now provide a wide range of distinctive sounds to help us know exactly which service is trying to get our attention, and it opens up a whole new range of possible customizations (including Obama announcing your WhatsApp messages.)
Developers must use reflection to access the new Sound property of the ShellToast class. Read the source link below where Microsoft has provided an example on how to take advantage of it. Developers should be aware of the fact that this feature will work only devices with Windows Phone 8 Update 3 (OS version number 8.0.10492).
Thanks to AI for the heads up!
South Africa developer Matt Cavanagh from Roguecode who has a number of popular apps in the Windows Phone store, has posted on his blog that he sees clear signs of an uptick in Windows Phone usage in his home market.
He posted the above picture from his download data, filtered to just show South African users.
He notes it shows pretty clearly that downloads have consistently increased since the release of Windows Phone 8 there, and also anecdotally that he has heard from multiple sources that Windows Phone is growing quickly and outselling the iPhone in the subcontinent, likely due to good low-end handsets like the Nokia Lumia 620.
This has resulted in South Africa now making up a significant 6% of his downloads, despite his apps not specifically targeting the region.
Have our South African readers also noticed an uptick in Windows Phone adoption there? Let us know below.
Bloomberg has surveys a small group of developers about their support for Windows Phone, and found that their enthusiasm remained rather tepid.
One of the dozen developers interviewed said: “With or without Nokia, Microsoft needs to demonstrate that they can capture a material segment of the mobile market. We will wait and see.”
Another developer complained their game made more in an hour on iOS than a year in the Windows Phone Store.
“What basket would you put your eggs?” said William Hurley, a co-founder of Chaotic Moon, adding that Chaotic Moon chose not to make their follow-up “Dragon Academy” for Windows Phone.
Developers complained that there were too many differences between Windows Phone and Windows tablets to create apps for boh.
Right now, the cost of developing for both isn’t worth it, said Jeff Smith from music-application maker Smule.
Making it easier to create applications that work across Microsoft’s smartphones and tablets will help developers, said Smith.
If rumours are to believed Microsoft is doing just that, but Joe Belfiore said their merger with Nokia’s handset division will do more.
Joe Belfiore said owning Nokia will speed creation of handsets with its software and result in a more cohesive marketing strategy. He said that the takeover will also let Microsoft utilize Nokia’s sales team to educate more people about Windows Phone, especially the staff at retail outlets where people buy their devices.
“If you’re not paying attention as a retail sales person, a customer walks into your store and asks about phones, you’re going to make your assumption about where Windows Phone is at based on the last time you paid close attention,” Belfiore said.
Belfiore said Microsoft will do more promotions for developers once it owns Nokia, including having apps pre-installed on phones.
Maybe there is hope. John Arrow, chairman of Mutual Mobile Inc., which makes apps for companies including Citigroup Inc. said Microsoft combined with Nokia “does not alter our thinking” in the short term, he said. “In the long term, this investment represents some unique opportunities.”
Nokia announced DVLUP developer rewards program back in November 2012 and the beta begun in the US and Canada. Today, Nokia’s DVLUP has officially graduated from its beta status today from more than 20 countries worldwide. DVLUP has also got a brand new look and feel, and the addition of a “Campaigns” feature. There’s also a new tool to book and manage marketing campaigns promoting their apps on both a local and global level.
“For the first time, developers will have a transparent path for their app to get featured in app discovery and marketing channels,” said Chanse Arrington, Global Head of Developer Business Tools at Nokia. “We feel this is a big step in creating a truly participatory and fair app ecosystem, where developers are in complete control of their own success.”
Read the full press release after the break. Continue reading
Last year, Nokia announced Ad Exchange, which allows developers to monetize their free apps using an easy to use ad control which works in over 200 countries and aggregates 120 ad networks. The service was powered by Inneractive and Nokia yesterday announced that they are transitioning Nokia Ad Exchange accounts directly to Inneractive.
Here is the message posted by Nokia,
Dear Nokia Ad Exchange user, We are now transitioning from directly managing Nokia Ad Exchange (NAX), a monetization tool powered by Inneractive, to recommending that you work directly with Inneractive to monetize your apps and games. You can use your Nokia Ad Exchange (NAX) credentials to log-in to Inneractive’s dashboard.
You will be able to access all your NAX assets including revenue, App IDs, analytics, and campaigns through the Inneractive dashboard. Most important, all your existing applications will continue to function in exactly the same way. If you have any questions, please contact us at [email protected]
As part of their 4Africa initiative Microsoft is training 40 developers from innovation hubs in Lagos including CcHUB and iDEA, as well as a number of universities across Nigeria in Windows Phone and Windows Azure development.
Nokia and Qualcomm will also be delivering sessions, with the aim of creating elite group of developers with the world-class technical skills needed to build highly relevant, immersive applications and cloud-based solutions.
Speaking to CIO East Africa recently, Jussi Hinkkanen, Vice President for Corporate Relations and Business Environment for Nokia Middle-East and Africa said Lumia handsets were gaining market share very quickly in critical markets around Africa and was competing head-to-head with top-selling devices.
He also said similar ventures has generated thousands of apps for their platforms, noting that devices were not enough, and that there was also a need for apps and a strong local ecosystem of IT professionals.
We joined developers in complaining the other day that Google has not updated their Windows Phone Ad SDK for Windows Phone 8, leaving developer with little choice except to use Microsoft Advertising ads, which has a really limited inventory and therefore limited the income developers could expect from their ad-supported apps.
The great news is that the coverage must have jogged some-one’s memory about the forgotten project, as Google has just announced a new AdMob SDK for Windows Phone 8.
The SDK will support:
- Create an AdMob banner view from code
- Embed an AdMob banner directly in an XAML file
- Show full-screen interstitial ads
- Register for ad events such as succeeding or failing to receive an ad
This beta version of the SDK does not include the following features that are available on iOS and Android:
- Ad Network Mediation
- Support for DoubleClick for Publishers
- Search Ads for Mobile Apps support
- MRAID support
The beta version of the AdMob SDK for Windows Phone 8 can be found here.
We do not take this development as a sign of relationships between Microsoft and Google warming up. More likely is that Google, an Ad company at heart, has realized it is missing out on 30-40 million Windows Phone users generating millions of dollars in ad revenue every year, and that that despite their best efforts so far Windows Phone is not going away, so they might as well make a buck.
At present Windows RT remains unsupported. Read more about the development at Google here.
Indie Game Developer: 10x The Downloads And 2x The Revenue On Windows Phone Compared To Their iOS Version
We have seen similar cases in the past where some indie game developers had more downloads and revenue for their titles in Windows Phone platform than Apple’s iOS platform. The reason for that is simple, the possibility of getting discovered/noticed by millions of consumers among thousands of apps in App Store is more difficult on iOS than Windows Phone.
Microsoft today detailed the success of one indie game developer, QONQR (pronounced conquer) in Windows Phone Store. The CEO of QONQR revealed that there are 10x the weekly downloads and 2x the revenue on Windows Phone compared to their iOS version of the game, which was released in the same month in 2012. QONQR’s revenue model is with in-app purchase.
The CEO of this game mentioned the following as key advantages of developing for Windows Phone,
The simplicity of supporting all the different phone models. In iPhone his team has had challenges ensuring full backward compatibility with previous versions of iOS, and in their efforts of porting to Android they have faced significant hurdles managing device fragmentation (different UI layout, international phones with different capabilities, different approaches to GPS depending on the device and OS version).
I hope more developers realize the huge opportunity in Windows Phone platform when compared to other competing mobile platforms.
Read more about it from the link below.
Source: Windows Team Blog
The latest quarterly survey by AppAccelerator has found waning interest in Windows Phone and Windows 8 tablets amongst mobile developers.
In their survey of 804 developers and COIs, they found 26% of developers were very interested in Windows Phone, down from 29% in the previous quarter, and 25% of developers were interested in Windows tablets, down from 30%. Additionally 60% of developers thought Windows 8 would ultimately fail as a mobile platform.
“That is probably a reflection of market demand. I think Windows hasn’t done too well in the market, and the interest for developing apps is following that. It will be interesting to see what happens with Nokia,” said Nolan Wright, co-founder and CTO at Appcelerator.
Microsoft’s on-device development environment TouchDevelop has just become a lot more powerful in version 3.1.
The app now supports accessing the outside world via Bluetooth Serial using the RFCOMM protocol, allowing one to control Bluetooth gadgets such as the Sphero Ball for example.
Radio support has also been added back, due to GDR2, and the app now has enhanced Live Tile support, allowing Pin to Start once, again, and allowing tiles which cycle through pictures.
The environment is now pretty feature rich, supporting:
- Access to accelerometer, location, maps, translation services, web search, share on Facebook or Twitter, and more
- Take screenshots, write comments, compete on leaderboards
- Code synthesis: When you search for available commands, just say what you want to do, and TouchDevelop will try to write the script code for you
- Fast game and physics engine
- Get push notifications when someone does something related to your scripts
- Define custom structured data types, objects, tables
- Create and reuse code with libraries
- Unified editing and execution environment with the TouchDevelop Web App on touchdevelop.com — that means you can edit and run your scripts on other devices in a browser
- Create sophisticated UIs with pages and boxes
- Authenticate web services with OAuth v2.0
- Access to NFC via the tags singleton
- Use built-in speech engine of Windows Phone
- Export your scripts as apps and submit them to Windows Store and Windows Phone Store
- Upload your own pictures and sounds to use them in your scripts
So if you are not quite ready to open Visual Studio, and found Windows Phone App Studio much too limiting, check out TouchDevelop in the Windows Phone Store here.
We wrote recently that Windows Phone developers were suffering as Microsoft Pubcenter was running out of ad inventory.
Microsoft Advertising has now released a new ad SDK to help developers to increase revenue by giving advertisers more options to present ads.
The new ad SDK will enable rich media ad formats including Expandable Ads that can include click to video and click to image capabilities. These ad experiences are intended to deliver immersive experiences that engage users within the app experience.
According to eMarketer, advertisers are projected to invest 44.2% of their total mobile budget on display advertising (rich media, banners and video) on mobile in 2013, and the new SDK allows Windows Phone developers to take a chunk of this cash.
To include the ads in your app read more at Microsoft here.