Earlier today Microsoft and its partners announced the first wave of Windows Phone 7 devices and when they will be available. Events are taking place in regions around the world to give people a first look at actual devices by carrier. These events will generate tremendous consumer excitement for Windows Phone 7 and mark the beginning of launch activity that will take place during the holiday shopping season.
This is also a big day for Windows Phone developers for a few reasons. By now we hope it’s clear that your apps and games are central to the value we’re offering end users with Windows Phone 7. We’re taking every opportunity to demonstrate how the applications you are generating extend the new Windows Phone 7 experience. For example, starting today we are profiling Windows Phone 7 apps and games on the Windows Phone Blog and other social networks and properties, starting with BejeweledTM LIVE, an Xbox LIVE title, from PopCap Games. Check daily to see what’s new between now and launch.
One thing you can do to increase the visibility of your app is to take full advantage of Windows Phone 7 design elements and capabilities like Live Tiles, Hub integration, panoramic views, notifications, and the Bing map control. User feedback on apps that include these platform elements has been very encouraging. The people we’ve shown apps to appreciate the glanceability and quickly notice how much easier it is to use different applications that follow the same crisp and well-organized design system.
Today we are also unveiling our new developer website, App Hub, located at http://create.msdn.com.
App Hub is now the single place where Windows Phone and Xbox LIVE Indie Games developers can register; find development tools, support and resources; and submit and manage their apps for Windows Phone and Xbox LIVE. Every Windows Phone 7 customer will get all of their apps and games from the Marketplace Hub on their phone and from the desktop Zune software.
App Hub represents another step towards making it easier for developers to find the resources they need to build and distribute great apps and games for Windows Phone, Xbox 360, PC and the cloud. Over the coming months, we will be building up the Education Catalog on App Hub, so that it serves as the central location from which developers can find and access all Windows Phone and XNA developer educational materials from Microsoft. The biggest change with App Hub is that with one single $99 USD annual subscription, (still free to DreamSpark students,) you can now submit apps and games through your dashboard for both the Windows Phone Marketplace and the Xbox LIVE Marketplace. Learn more about how to get started with App Hub.
App Hub is open, but the app submission process for Windows Phone 7 developers is not yet self-serve. We remain on track to enable all registered developers to submit their applications through App Hub in November. Thousands of first-mover developers who signed up for the early submission process I outlined in my post last week are submitting apps and games via App Hub today. Some of these apps and games are already published in the pre-launch Windows Phone Marketplace.
Now we would like to further expand the number of early app submissions we are accepting, as promised. If your app or game is ready, and you are already registered for Marketplace, I encourage you to request early access to the Marketplace submission process by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your app title, a description of 75 words or less, and an optional link to a video or blog description of it. We will accept complete requests on a first come, first served basis between today and October 13th 12:00pm PST. Developers who request access will be notified later this week whether they have been accepted and will receive next steps on when and how to submit their apps and games for Windows Phone 7.
Windows Phone 7 is well on its way to capturing the imagination of consumers, and that spells opportunity for you. Join us.