Windows Phone Store
Windows Phone Store on Windows Phone 8
|Initial release||October 21, 2010|
|Development status||Active / 190,000+ Apps |
|Operating system||Windows Phone|
Windows Phone Store (previously Windows Phone Marketplace) is a digital distribution platform developed by Microsoft for its Windows Phone platform that allows users to browse and download applications that have been developed by third-parties. Like much of the new Windows products, it also features "Metro UI"; the UI is presented in a panoramic view where the user can browse categories and titles, see featured items, and get details with ratings, reviews, screen shots, and pricing information.
The Windows Phone Store (replacing Windows Marketplace for Mobile) was launched along with Windows Phone 7 in October 2010 in some countries. It was reported on October 4, 2010 that the Windows Phone SDK was downloaded over half a million times. At the end of February 2013, the Marketplace had more than 130,000 apps available. With the rollout of Mango (Windows Phone 7.5) the online web Marketplace was unveiled by Microsoft; it offers various features like silent, over the air installation of apps to the user's device.
In August 2012, Microsoft rebranded the "Windows Phone Marketplace" to "Windows Phone Store". The change was seen on Windows Phone devices and on the Windows Phone website; the Marketplace section was changed to "Apps+Games".
Pricing and features
Windows Phone Store has support for credit card purchases, operator billing, and ad-supported content. The Store also features a "try-before-you-buy" option, where the user has an option to download a trial or demo for a commercial app. Other features are said to be similar to Windows Phone Store's predecessor, Windows Marketplace for Mobile. The Windows Phone Store will have 61 categories split up into 16 main categories and 25 sub-categories. Apps can only be placed in one category. Windows Phone Store will also feature downloads for 3D games that will have integrated Xbox Live connectivity and features.
The ability to download an XAP file to a computer is also present, allowing a user to install an app from their SD card if no internet access is available.
Developers must pay an annual subscription fee of $99, (this, according to Todd Brix, the General Manager for Windows Phone Apps and Store team, is currently on an ongoing promotion at $19  ) to become an App Hub member and submit apps to the Windows Phone Store. There's no limit on the number of free submissions for paid apps. There's a limit of 100 free submissions for free apps; thereafter, there's a fee of $19.99 per submission for free apps.
Games and apps
A user can download games and apps from the Windows Phone Store; if an Xbox live account is enabled, the store can be accessed remotely from the phone itself. Microsoft has lined up a wide range of popular games to be available from the launch of Windows Phone 7. Also at Gamescom, Microsoft unveiled more than 50 premium Windows Phone 7 games and apps  that will make use of the Xbox Live mobile connection.
The Windows Phone Store has grown swiftly since its launch and by February 2012, it had outgrown Blackberry App World with 70,000 apps available (a milestone that Blackberry App World passed in March 2012). In June 2012, after 20 months, Windows Phone Marketplace has reached 100,000 apps. The growth to achieve 100,000 apps is faster than Android with 24 months, but slower than iOS with 16 months.
Apps in the Windows Phone Store are subjected to a content policy, that exists to guide app developers, and to facilitate a restriction or banning of certain content. Examples of restricted or banned content include pornography, promotion of violence, discrimination, hate, or the usage of drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Suggestions or depictions of prostitution, sexual fetishes, or generally anything that "a reasonable person would consider to be adult or borderline adult content" will be forbidden from the marketplace.
Windows Phone 7 SDK
Windows Phone 7 application development is based upon Silverlight, XNA, and the .NET Compact Framework. The primary tools used for development are Microsoft's Visual Studio 2010 and Expression Blend. Excluding unlocked developer devices, Windows Phone 7 only runs applications that have first been approved by Microsoft and are only available via the Windows Phone Marketplace.
Developers will be able to earn 70% of revenue made by their apps or developers and can include an advertising model built into their apps. Students can submit applications for free through Microsoft's DreamSpark program.
Windows Phone 8 SDK
Windows Phone 8 application development allows developers to use Visual C#, Visual Basic and Visual C++ to develop applications for Windows Phone 8. In the release of the Windows Phone 8 SDK, Microsoft actively stopped development of XNA in February 2013 allowing developers to code games in a managed .NET Framework language.  The development community has had mixed reaction to this decision; some in quite strong terms. The XNA framework (a wrapper around DirectX) has been discontinued in favor of DirectX for Windows Runtime and Windows Phone apps forcing developers to use native code to build games. There are third party alternatives to XNA such as MonoGame that allow developers to continue using XNA in Windows Runtime, Windows Phone 8 and in other platforms. The emulator has also been changed to use Hyper-V as the hypervisor and now requires Windows 8 Pro or Windows Server 2012 64 bit editions, and a system that supports hardware assisted virtualization. to run. Windows Phone 8 supports a subset of Windows Runtime objects for code reuse between Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 platforms. Native code support has been added to Windows Phone 8 but it can only be used to build DirectX games or Windows Runtime components. Apps that use XAML must still be built with managed .NET Framework languages. A limited support of a subset of Win32 APIs have been added in the Windows Phone 8 SDK. Microsoft has also added support for third party game frameworks such as Unity to make it easier for developers to port apps to Windows Phone. Developers can still develop Windows Phone 7 apps and it would continue be compatible with Windows Phone 8.
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