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Windows Phone 7.5 devices are now available in Japan and Russia, and with several new phones announced this month, the rate of apps submitted that take advantage of new Windows Phone features (like fast app switching and multiple live tiles) is steadily increasing. Many of you are updating existing apps, so let me take a minute to follow up on my post from mid-August, “What happens when I publish a Windows Phone ‘Mango’ application update?”
Last month I noted that once you publish the 7.5 version of your application, you will no longer be able to modify the existing 7.0 version. I also acknowledged that some you might find this limiting, as several of you have since confirmed. We heard you, and are happy to report today that by the end of October we will enable functionality in App Hub that will allow you to publish updates to both the 7.0 and 7.5 versions of your apps. Knowing that on average people update their apps every three to four months, this October timeframe provides assurance that you that you can submit 7.5 apps today and still have access to your 7.0 app well before the next update is required. There’s no need to wait!
Again, I also recommended that you identify the Windows Phone 7.5 functionally of your app in both your app description and (if needed) in the screenshots. To make this easier for you and your customers, we have designed and are making available today screenshots and overlay graphics that you can add to your own screenshots to identify your app as optimized for Windows Phone 7.5 (examples below). These are the only screenshot text overlays that will pass certification. These new standard artwork resources are now available here and will be accessible via App Hub shortly.
Now is the time to submit your Windows Phone 7.5 enhanced app if you want to be there when customers take their first big bite out of Mango.
Thanks for your ongoing feedback to help us build a better experience and greater opportunity for you.
Todd Brix, Senior Director, Windows Phone Marketplace
That is good news for devs. With the update surely going to take a long time to roll out in the USA (which is the fault of carriers, not Microsoft), this will be pretty important.
Please clarify ongoing confusion re versioning. It appears that 7.5 is used for hardware but 7.1 is used for software when referring to the new Mango version. Or is that confused as well? There needs to be some explanation of when to use which codename or official name in which context and for whom. And the simpler the better for both developers and consumers. So is it 7.1 or 7.5?!?
This is better than nothing, but you should really follow Apple's lead (and your own practices with Windows), and release security and feature updates when they're ready, not when some third party approves. Over the air, globally available updates would let developers just publish 7.5 versions and be done.
Also, if you're not going to enable users to update (leaving them at the mercy of carriers and OEMs), the least you can do for developers is allow us to continue targeting users stranded on older versions. Apple and Google both allow this, and you should too.
Pretty sure ill have a galaxy s 2 by October. This is embarrassing.
Make sure the cert team know that this modification of screenshots is allowed, otherwise it fails Application Submission Requirement 4.6. There have already been reports of cert failing apps for this requirement after the dev followed advice to modify the screenshot to indicate it was a 7.5 feature.
@ctaswell: The OS is 7.5. The SDK is 7.1. Apps are built for OS 7.5 using SDK 7.1.
Awesome work WP7 team! I'm just hoping that you guys pressure carriers into pushing Mango out much faster than NoDo.
Very good move, Todd. It's good to see that certain requests get the attention it deserves :)
This is very, very bad. Please force users update their phones to Mango, Tango etc. ASAP. Do not recommend (or even let) developers support old platforms.
Today we have fantastic Windows 7 + .NET 4 + IE9, tomorrow will have brilliant Windows 8 + Metro, BUT we still need to support ugly Windows XP + IE6.
Please, please don’t do it to Windows Phone ecosystem.
P. S. You repeat a lot that you’ve heard community and do something for us. And it scares me a lot. Science and technology don’t work with democracy. You guys, at Microsoft, are very talented and bright people, so lead us towards the future, don’t follow blind community.
Although a dev myself, I don't develop on WP (yet!). So, a question about the user experience.... if I have 7.0 versions of apps installed on my NoDo phone - when I upgrade the O/S to Mango, will I automatically get notifications in Marketplace that there are updates available for my apps, where 7.5 versions are available? That is how I'd expect (and hope) it would work - is that right?
@Steve: I guess I should have been more direct and explicit in my remarks. Version naming schemes are at least to some degree arbitrary even with any agreements about conventions on so-called semantic versioning. But more importantly, I wanted to make the point that the marketing message for everybody needs to be clear and simple without the possibility for confusion... especially when Microsoft is playing catch-up with Apple iPhone and Google Android. So there's really no need to have different version numbers for the SDK and the OS. If a certain new version of the SDK is intended for a certain new version of the OS, there's really no good reason to have different version numbers for each when they easily could be synchronized to the same major and minor numbers (for example, either both 7.1 or both 7.5) . And that would lessen confusion for everybody, and improve the marketing message.
@Todd: As long as Microsoft has to play catch-up with other companies mobile platforms, it's very important that ALL departments at Microsoft be on board working together to move things ahead. I'm an example of a developer who's impressed so far with the actual WP 7 OS and software development environment, but continue to have concerns about issues with the AppHub Marketplace and the overall marketing and messaging coming out of the other related departments at Microsoft. I hope that the quality of the Marketplace, marketing and messaging for Windows Phone can be improved to the point where I can say that I'm just as impressed with the Marketplace and messaging as I am with the actual OS and development environment.
Here's a more detailed explanation of the real confusion that exists on the version naming problem:
There's been a suggestion that it's supposed to be SDK version 7.1 for OS version 7.5. There's been discussion in this blog post that apps are supposed to be called either 7.0 apps or 7.5 apps corresponding to OS 7.0 or OS 7.5.
But the problem is that the identified choices for the BUILD TARGETS in the SDK for Visual Studio 2010 are 7.0 and 7.1 (and NOT 7.5). So there is NO consistency and that's what continues to cause the confusion.
I have a question from a non-developer point of view. What happens if I load an app developed to take advantage of Mango (to avoid numbering confusion) features, like fast app switching, multiple tiles, on a pre-Mango phone? Does it not run? Crash if you try to access a non-supported feature, or just not comply with the request? (better be the latter) If the latter is there some way for the developer to alert the user that the particular feature being accessed requires an OS update, or is it possible that the option is variably displayable. Adding a Tile from a portion of the app for instance, would not be shown with a tap and hold on a pre-Mango device.
I will assume that any pre-Mango app will continue to run fine on a Mango equipped device. That better be a good assumption.
@sven: AS indicated before in this blog, A app using the Mango tools cannot be targeted to a pre-Mango phone. It will not install. Since it will not install, it won't crash when an unsupported feature is used.
An app targeting pre-Mango can be used on both a pre-Mango and a Mango phone (and according to Brandon Watson, any succeeding version of Windows Phone "n.n").
@Dusteater: expect to see all Mango updates availble very soon, not a "long time". However, don't believe rumors from some of the websites who are hit-hunting.
@Sergii: nice idea.... how do we force everybody to run Mango? I'd like to see that plan.
@ctaswell: The "build target" refers to the SDK version, not the phone version (which wasn't actually nailed down when the tools were released).
@Nater: What specifically are you thinking is "embarrassing"? I don't follow. Are you saying that rolling out the update is embarrassing, or that having an update is embarrassing, or that Todd's post is embarrassing, or that they are modifying the app hub so that devs can update 7.0 apps late in October?
On the contrary... this is very good. We're about to get some features that none of the other platforms have. Sure, we don't have all the apps, but Windows Phone is catching on because it has unique functionality that is built into the phone, not something you have to synthesize by using 10 or 12 different programs that don't talk to each other.
If you'd like to go to a fragmented, malware-ridden platform that is going to constantly need faster and faster CPUs and more memory to keep from being laggy, go ahead. It is a free world (unless you subscribe to @sergii's notion, that is)
Windows Phone 7.5 is delightful, just like the "B"-man said!
Hope you will also make the marketplace application available here in Portugal. I noticed Zune is already available for Portugal but it does not work until you release marketplace. I love my WP7 HTC Trophy but it is annoying to be unable to use all the great applications out there, because you do not free the marketplace application for my country. Hope this will be solved with the "Mango" update
All the best for WP.
@Leigh Build targets should refer to the app OS platform, and not the SDK (ie, development environment). We develop for a particular platform using a particular development environment. We can think of it, more or less, as the difference between "subject" and "object". And in my understanding and use of English, the attribute "AppPlatformVersion" of the element "Deployment" in the VS2010 Mango file "WMAppManifest.xml" refers to the app OS platform and not to the SDK. So I stand by my original comments that the various Microsoft departments should work together to use a version naming scheme that is less confusing, more consistent, and improves the overall marketing and messaging for the benefit of all --- meaning framework developers, app developers, end users and everybody else involved.
@ctaswell: Absolutely agree with every reason you provide, and it has been discussed extensively at the AppHub forums as well. We don't know the reasons behind it, and we probably won't ever know. As confusing as it is for devs and the users, sometimes we just have to accept things how they are and move on. At least that's where I am at now with this 7.1/7.5 confusion.
@Steve: Certainly, I agree with you! Nevertheless, my remarks here have just been an effort to do my little bit in support of common sense in product naming and versioning. If more of us answer Scott Hanselman's question about whether naming and versioning do matter, then maybe we'll begin to see some changes at Microsoft for the better. Check out Scott's blog post at www.hanselman.com/.../RequestForCommentsIssuesWithNETAndMicrosoftProductVersioning.aspx