On the Windows Blog Microsoft has announced a move to consolidate the pricing tier structure between the Windows Phone and Windows 8 store.
The move is intended to help developers create universal apps which will work and charge the same on both platforms, and which buyers ideally will only have to pay for once.
This has meant the introduction of the $0.99 and $1.29 pricing tiers to the Windows Store, which on the Windows Phone store makes up 55% of transactions.
In addition to the consolidation, Microsoft also made adjustments for changes in foreign exchange rates, taxes and market-specific pricing customs which may cause automatic pricing changes in some markets. Developers are advised to visit Dev Center to review their app pricing and make any necessary adjustments.
More can be read at the Windows Blog here.
There is a race to close the app gap between Windows and iOS/Android.
In that battle Neowin has noticed that a milestone has just been reached – according to Microsoft’s posters at BUILD 2014 there are now 400,000 Windows Phone and Windows 8 apps in the various stores.
The sign also proclaims that 14 million of these apps are downloaded per day, suggesting that there is certainly value in the combined ecosystem for developers. More than 50 million Windows Phones have been sold, and several hundred million copies of Windows 8.
According to Stephen Elop the largest balance of apps are in the Windows Phone Store, with 245,000, while more than 150,000 reside in the Windows Store.
While some may argue a large portion of the numbers are poor quality apps, this is unfortunately universally true with the other app stores also, and the number of headline apps in both the Windows Phone and Windows 8 stores are continuing to increase steadily.
The arrival of Universal apps which run unchanged on both Windows Phone and Windows 8 should soon mean that we see even more meaningful ecosystem synergies between the two platforms, which is only good news for both users and developers looking to make money.
Red Stripe Deals for this week is now live in Windows Phone Store. This week’s deals include 1 Xbox game, three indie games and two apps. Find the apps with store links and their deal prices in the list below.
WPCentral reports that the Windows Phone Store on Windows Phone 8.1 has had some design changes.
The store now surfaces the Featured apps as its first pane, and now includes Quick Links with featured apps, games, Top, New + Rising Apps, etc.
It now also includes a Categories section with general games, entertainment, lifestyle, etc. and a Personalized’ section for app recommendations based on your history, likes and interests with the ability to dispose of recommendations via a ‘not interested’ button.
The store will also feature an option for automatic updates over WIFI and the ability to offer apps via location.
The individual app view now gets a graph of stars for reviews and the ability to sort reviews by most helpful, most recent, highest rated or lowest rated; users can judge user reviews as helpful/unhelpful.
Overall the changes resemble the Windows Store on Windows 8.1, and as usual is designed to surface and promote quality apps.
Windows phone 8.1 is expected to be unveiled formally in less than a week at BUILD 2014 on the 2nd April.
Developers can be a righteous and finicky lot, as we recently discovered, and it is likely if they are given the ability to respond to bad reviews in the Windows Phone Store a percentage of them are not going to be very rational.
It seems sensible then that if Microsoft was going to given them the ability to do so, as is hinted by the new bullet point in the Report Concerns page of the Windows Phone Store, that users will be able to alert Microsoft if they get a bit too ranty.
Of course the ability to respond to a review may also be used to request more bug fix information or provide support if something went wrong, or gather endorsement if the review is glowing.
Do our readers letting developers respond to reviews is a desirable feature? Let us know below.
There are many complaints about the way the Windows Phone Store sorts apps, separating the wheat from the chaff of spammy apps.
It seems Microsoft has recently updated the algorithm which assigns Top Games.
According to the excerpt from a communication from Microsoft with a developer, previously the sorting was mainly via number of downloads over time.
The new rank will also depend on customer ratings, how frequently an app is pinned or unpinned from the start screen and how often it crashes.
The new algorithm is designed to encourage quality, well performing apps with high customer satisfaction, though we suspect the usual suspects will still try and game the system by encouraging high review ratings and making sure their app gets pinned.
Are our readers encouraged by Microsoft’s move? Let us know below.
Thanks Gerasimos for the tip.
Slickdeals reports that NewEgg is offering 20% of all Microsoft Windows Store Gift cards.
The cards are for the Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox Stores, to purchase digital goods such as apps and music
See the deals at the links below:
To get 20% off the cards simple enter EMCPGWB87 at check-out. The offer is valid until the 20th March.
IStartedSomething has posted a complaint about the Windows Phone Store which I have seen raised elsewhere recently too – that the store seems to be overrun with spammy applications that are little more than web apps, and which use the icons and even name from the legitimate app to confuse users.
A good example of searching for the official Facebook app in a market other than USA (e.g. UK) where the second Facebook app is by Popular Mobile Apps, is clearly simply the iOS version of the mobile website, and is filled with what looks very much like fake reviews such as:
That these spammy apps rank so high is testament to widespread manipulation of the Windows Phone Store and the situation is in fact worse than in the Google Play store, as there is less direct copying of the trademark logos, making it easier to see what is official and what is not.
The practice does not just confuse new users but also drowns out the efforts of legitimate developers who actually try and add value to the store.
Do our readers agree that it is time for the Windows Phone Store to have a major clean out? Let us know below.
Microsoft has still not announced the name of their next major Windows Phone update, but it better be called Windows Phone 8.1, else there is a whole lot of documentation they will have to change.
The latest place where this has shown up is in the Windows Phone Store. We saw a few days ago that apps were briefly marked as working with Windows Phone 8.1, but now, since last night, all apps have been marked as such.
We expect the OS to be formally announced on the 2nd April at BUILD 2014, but rarely has an operating system been leaked so extensively, short of actually being released in the wild, and what we have seen already leaves us pretty excited.
The updated operating system is expected to first show up on a new generation of Windows Phones such as the Nokia Lumia 630 and hopefully the Nokia Lumia 930, and then will eventually be pushed out as an update to all Windows Phone 8 handsets.
Red Stripe Deals for this week is now live in Windows Phone Store. This week’s deals include 1 Xbox game, four indie games and one app. Find the apps with store links and their deal prices in the list below.
Source: Windows Phone Store
Indian carrier Airtel has increased its support for Windows Phone-using customers by adding its own carrier app store to the Windows Phone market place.
As can be seen from the screen shot above, not much it present yet except for Airtel’s own apps, but presumably we will soon see this fill out with more exclusive carrier services and promotions.
With a large number of Indian OEMs such as LAVA and Karbonn soon set to release Windows Phones in the subcontinent, it is good to see carriers acknowledging the rise of the OS.
Thanks Shriganesh for the tip and screen shots.
We often hear about the Windows Phone app problem, but according to data collected by Statistic Brain there is one area which Windows Phone is pretty good at – earing money for developers.
|Smartphone App Statistics
|Total app downloads
|Percent of app users who have never paid more than $1 for an app
|Average number of downloaded apps per phone
|Total number of apps in store
|Total app store revenue in 2013
On the Windows blog Microsoft announced improvements to their app certification workflow for the Windows Phone Store which will mean app certifications will be sped up tremendously, to as short as one hour only.
Microsoft also announced other improvements, including better notification of certification results via email, and also improved reporting for in-app purchases and more details on devices and user demographics.
Lastly Microsoft is also giving developers control over publication date and time of apps, for more controlled launches, and also the ability to easily remove and restore an app from the store if bugs are detected.
Read more details at Microsoft here.