With less than a week until the launch of Windows phones and Windows Marketplace for Mobile, I wanted to take a minute to thank the global developer and ISV community for rallying around Marketplace and offer a quick update on what we’ve been up to.
First and foremost, the response to Windows Marketplace has been impressive in terms of the number of creative developers we’re working with and the depth of engineering- and process-oriented feedback we’ve received and incorporated. Our commitment to transparency has generated a surprising level of collaboration that impacts Marketplace development on a daily basis. I know that getting in on the ground floor of an ambitious effort like Marketplace isn’t easy. I sincerely appreciate your patience, feedback and desire to help us create a world class experience for both developers and end users.
In fact to show that we’re listening and responding, let me run through a few of the top issues you’ve raised or experienced around registration and certification, and what we’re doing about it.
Known issues that we’re addressing because they slow the application submission process:
1. Marketplace catalog icons: We need to ensure that icons meet the correct dimensions upon upload. We didn’t make this as clear as we could have on the submission portal. This was recently corrected.
2. Screen shots: Screen shots also need to meet the correct dimensions and aspect ratio. New guidance on screen shots is available on the Windows Marketplace for Mobile technical forum and we will update Marketplace before launch to ensure that only the correct screen shot dimensions are submitted.
3. Expanding to multiple markets: ISVs have experienced problems when submitting their app to additional markets through the developer portal. We are addressing this in a Marketplace update prior to launch.
4. Finding the answers: We’re working to make it easier for you to find what you need to know. We’ve updated the Marketplace FAQ, remained active in the forums and produced videos to help guide you through the app submission process.
We’re also frequently asked what developers and ISVs can do on their end to help speed the process, here are a few tips:
1. Review documentation: Be sure to read through the Application Submission Criteria, Policy Guidelines, Prohibited Applications List and Market Validation Guide prior to application submission. It sounds obvious, but it really is best to spend the time on the front end of the process.
2. Alert your team: Proactively contact the Corporate Approver you designated during Windows Marketplace registration. The Corporate Approver will receive several emails from GeoTrust, who is partnering with Microsoft to provide identity validation services. This will accelerate the identity validation process and reduce the time required before you can submit applications to the Windows Marketplace.
3. Have your ID ready: Individuals may be required to send a copy of government issued photo identification to GeoTrust. Notarized documents for individuals are no longer required. (note that the preferred method for GeoTrust support is through live chat at http://www.geotrust.com/support/chat/order-processing.html )
4. Use App Verifier on Native Code: Remember that Application Verifier only applies to applications written in Native code.
5. Start with the emulator: We recommend testing your application in the Windows Mobile 6.5 emulator prior to submission to the Windows Marketplace. Even better, test the application on a Windows Mobile 6.5 device.
6. Keep reading this blog: Check back to review technical criteria and top tips to help your certification go more smoothly.
As we’ve been discussing since July, our plan is to deliver the full Marketplace experience in two phases. First, we’ll launch Windows Marketplace for Mobile with Windows phones on October 6th. We’ve also discussed following this launch with an update that will include support for Windows Mobile 6 and 6.1 by the end of the year. More specifically, we’re targeting November for phase two. In addition, this second phase will bring the PC based catalog and shopping experience, user generated app reviews, advanced key-based anti-piracy protection and other enhancements that expand your business opportunity and make it easier for a larger number of customers to find and buy your application.
As you can see we’re working hard to deliver on our two core commitments with Marketplace; to create a more open, transparent and rewarding processes for developers and ISVs, and to bring to market a fresh take on the mobile application store that delivers strong value and a great shopping experience for customers. We’re engaged with hundreds of ISVs on a daily basis who are eager to certify their apps and offer great insight into how we can further distinguish both our process and our user experience – keep it coming! And don’t forget that the apps in Marketplace at launch will have a head start in the Race to Market Challenge, and who doesn’t need a Microsoft Surface table?