Windows Phone Store
||This article may be too technical for most readers to understand. (March 2015)|
The Windows Phone store website, allowing users to purchase apps, games and locate their phone from the computer
|Initial release||21 October 2010|
|Development status||Merging with Windows Store|
|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 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 4 October 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".
In 2015, Microsoft announced that Windows Phone Store would be phased out and replaced by Windows Store which would act as a "universal" store for all Windows-powered devices. As part of this process, the Windows Phone Store website was moved to a site that also contained the PC Store creating a single site for Windows Phone 7.x, 8.x, and Windows 8.x applications.
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 a 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 a 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.
Developers may also choose to work with OEMs to deploy their apps; this allow apps to be preinstalled on Windows Phone devices or be exclusive to that specific OEM's products. This process is used by Nokia (later Microsoft Mobile) for apps specific to Lumia devices (including Nokia Camera, HERE Maps, and MixRadio). OEM exclusive apps are deployed and available to end-users in a separate channel available only on OEM-specific hardware. Most Windows Phone OEMs have a category, such as "Lumia Collection" (formerly "Nokia Collection"), "Samsung Zone", "HTC Apps" and "Huawei Selected" for this purpose.
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. The number ramped up to 150,000 in December 2012, followed by 200,000 in December 2013. The Windows Phone currently contains more than 300,000 apps as of August 2014.
Apps in the Windows Phone Store are subjected to a content policy, which 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 Store.
Developers will normally earn 70% of revenue made by their apps or developers and can include an advertising model built into their apps, however in some countries, the share is only 56.1% when the customer purchases with methods covered by the Commerce Expansion Adjustment. 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.
Windows Phone App Studio
Windows Phone App Studio is a one stop source for rapid app building for Windows Phone. With couple of configuration steps (complying with "separation of concerns"), users can generate a production-ready app for Windows Store. Once all the configuration and look and feel is set, this online studio let you publish the app directly to Windows Phone Store.
Windows Phone App Studio where make it significantly easy for non-developers to publish homebrew or small business apps without indulging them in source code or hiring a developer, it can be leveraged as a starting point for professional developers for boilerplate code generation. Once all the configuration is made, in addition to publishing the app, the user can actually download the Visual Studio project for advanced editing. This opens a new paradigm for rapid development, where the developers get initial assertion from clients in the form of readymade prototype code.
The service is free of cost and requires to sign in with Microsoft Account.
Merge with Windows Store
In Q4 2015, Microsoft intends to launch Windows 10 mobile. Microsoft's consolidation of operating systems means that the same, unified store will run on devices ranging from desktop, tablet, mobile and Xbox. Due to this, the current Windows Phone Store is due to be discontinued, in favour of the Windows Store.
- List of digital distribution platforms for mobile devices
- Windows Store
- Windows Marketplace for Mobile
- Movies & TV
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