As today’s consumer blog post notes, Windows Phone 7.8 will begin to ship preinstalled on new phones in the coming weeks. This release also presents an important opportunity to increase the reach of your Windows Phone 7 apps and games, since we’re working to expand the number of consumer markets.
Ideally we’d like to help you reach consumers in the 191 markets we support for Windows Phone 8. But that isn’t possible because we can’t make a key OS change needed to support some of the new markets. Testing is underway now to confirm the final expansion list, but early results have already yielded a 34% increase—to 95—in the consumer markets for apps and games, including Xbox games. We expect those numbers to grow and will check back with you once testing wraps up, likely in January.
If you haven’t already, I suggest returning to Dev Center and submitting your current Windows Phone 7 apps for worldwide distribution (or as many markets as makes sense for your app) to ensure you’re ready for new phones running Windows Phone 7.8 and 8.
This is also a good time to download the Windows Phone SDK 8.0 and update your apps to support the new Live Tile sizes and templates. This option extends to your existing Windows Phone 7 apps, providing an opportunity to refresh their look for the new Start screen. To support the new Tile sizes and templates, in your code check if the app is running on Windows Phone 7.8 ( TargetedVersion = new Version(7, 10,8858)). Then if this condition is true, enable the new Tile updates following the guidance in the article Adding Windows Phone 8 Tile functionality to Windows Phone OS 7.1 apps.
The Windows Phone 7 opportunity continues to grow with new devices reaching new markets. We hope you’ll take advantage of it.