Making it easier to get started with Windows Phone App Studio beta, simplified phone registration, support options & more payout markets

I’m pleased to announce a number of new tools and capabilities that further expand opportunity and enhance productivity for Windows Phone developers.

New tools for first-time developers

We’ve heard from many potential Windows Phone developers who have great ideas, but who might not have the coding skills to create an app using standard development tools. Sometimes it’s a first-time developer with a small-scale idea for an app; other times it’s an accomplished developer who wants to frame up a concept before committing dev time. We heard you, and today we’re releasing a beta version of a new app development tool, Windows Phone App Studio, that can help you create your app without coding. Windows Phone App Studio is a free, web-based app creation tool designed to help anyone quickly bring an idea to life by applying text, web content, imagery, and design concepts to any one of a rich set of customizable templates. Getting started is easy – just create a Microsoft account, choose your template, and begin adding your content. Windows Phone App Studio does the rest. When you’re app is ready to go, you can download the app to your own phone, or share it with others by publishing it to the Windows Phone Store.

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We recommend trying out your new app in action on a Windows Phone before you publish it. Beginning today we are simplifying the developer phone registration process. Now, any developer can unlock and register 1 phone to load up to 2 apps. Registered developers with Dev Center accounts continue to have the option to unlock up to 3 phones and upload up to 10 apps on each.

When you’re ready to publish your new app to the Windows Phone Store, you’ll need a Dev Center account. We’re making that easier as well with our $19 “Summer Break” limited-time Dev Center registration offer (through August 26, 2013). With this offer, the annual Dev Center registration is just $19 (or equivalent local currency). See official terms for more details.

Getting help just got easier with new “Click to Chat” support

Windows Phone Dev Center now offers “Click to Chat” support. With this added support option, as a registered developer you can chat live with a support representative. Getting there is easy: from Submit a support ticket, just select your Problem type and Category to see the chat option, in addition to the anticipated wait time for the next available support representative. 

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You’ll need to log in to your Dev Center account to begin the chat.  And once the chat session is complete, you’ll receive a support ticket via email for reference if you ever need to follow up on the chat conversation. The new chat capability is available Monday – Friday between 8 A.M. and 8 P.M. Central Time beginning this week in all English and Chinese language markets.

And, although you can’t always see the behind-the-scenes improvements underway for Dev Center, each month we are making improvements to better serve you, focusing on improving performance and reliability.

More ways to get paid: New payout markets, expanded payment options increase monetization

This week we will add developer payout in 6 more markets via Dev Center, bringing the total markets that support payout to 128. The new markets are Costa Rica, Cyprus, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Malta, and Trinidad and Tobago. After this change is implemented, developers in these 6 markets will be able to submit both free and paid apps to the Windows Phone Store to reach users in 191 markets.

We also continue to add carrier billing connections. We now offer 35 connections in 23 markets, with new connections growing at a rapid pace. On average, developers are earning 3 times more revenue per active user in markets where carrier billing is offered. This increases to 6 times more revenue on average in emerging markets where credit card usage is more limited.

Transaction rate continues to climb

Finally, I want to tell you about the latest ecosystem updates. The recent launches of the Nokia Lumia 1020 with 41-megapixel camera sensor and the Nokia Lumia 625 with its 4.7-inch screen and affordable pricing are bringing new fans to the platform and to the Store. In fact, we recently added another billion transactions in under six months – one-fifth of the time it took to generate our last billion transactions.

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Windows Phone is growing every day and we’re working hard to make it even easier for developers of all types and skill levels to get started. Windows Phone offers you the canvas and platform to design and develop apps that provide a unique and personalized experience that other platforms don’t offer. I want to encourage you to try Windows Phone App Studio beta and register with Dev Center so you can share your great ideas with all Windows Phone users. See Emilio Salvador Prieto’s post for more info about Windows Phone App Studio beta. And, please let us know what you think.