Marketplace comes to China & India; also improves search and 7.0 & 7.5 app update options

Today we’re sharing several new Marketplace and App Hub enhancements that dramatically expand your opportunity with Windows Phone 7.5.

Expansion in China & India
To start, we’re pleased to announce that as of today developers in China can now register via App Hub and begin submitting apps for availability in any of our supported Marketplace countries (sorry, not including China at this time). This opens up the Windows Phone opportunity to the tens-of-thousands of talented and creative developers in China. We’ll continue working to bring Marketplace and App Hub to even more markets. In the meantime, we offer the Global Publisher Program in major markets around the world, giving developers in those countries access to Marketplace via local intermediaries.

Similarly, we’re pleased to announce that as of today Windows Phone customers in India are now able to purchase your apps and games via Windows Phone Marketplace!

Maintaining Windows Phone 7.0 and 7.5 Versions of Your Apps Simultaneously
Effective today, developers who have updated their Windows Phone 7.0 applications to Windows Phone 7.5 (OS 7.1, aka Mango) have new options for how they manage updates for both apps. The 7.0 and 7.5 versions of an application share the same catalog details, pricing (including trial and geographic distribution options), ratings & reviews and hidden/live property if in a published state. However, each version of the application can now be updated, unpublished and re-published independently. You can view both versions of the application on the lifecycle tab in App Hub.

It is important to note that there can only be one in-progress update at any time across both versions of an app. The update in progress must be published to Marketplace before another version of the app can be updated. Also, catalog details and pricing changes made as part of a 7.0 app update will affect the 7.5 version of the app and vice versa. Finally, be aware that if you publish a new 7.5 app there is no way to later add a 7.0 version.

More information about maintaining Windows Phone 7.0 and 7.5 versions of your app can be found here.

Fewer Keywords, Better Shopping
We know that app discovery and merchandizing are critical to your success. A customer’s ability to search for an app and quickly find what she or he is looking for is a core characteristic of an efficient Marketplace. To further improve the Marketplace shopping and download experience, we have started enforcing the published guideline of 5 keywords per application. While this should help maintain a more productive marketplace for everyone, you should take this opportunity to review the keywords you’ve submitted for your applications to ensure that the first five keywords best describe your app to potential customers. App Hub will still allow you to enter more than five keywords as part of your submission or application update; however, the search functionality across Marketplace will now use only the first five keywords.

As you can see, we’re working across all aspects of Marketplace to make sure we’re giving you the best and broadest opportunities possible. Marketplace is always evolving to give you and our mutual customers a consistently great experience. Your input is a major factor in determining what features and enhancements we prioritize. Please keep it coming.

As always, we thank you for your time and energy and encourage you to keep exploring the potential of Windows Phone 7.5.

Todd Brix,

Senior Director, Windows Phone Marketplace