Developers just received a newsletter from Microsoft talking about the current state of development and where things are headed. Nothing earth shattering here but still interesting (note: hyperlinks were removed):
January 27, 2011First Windows Phone 7 Developer Payouts Processed
We are very happy to announce that all developer payouts have been processed this month as promised on December 9. If you haven’t received your payments yet, make sure you provided us with your bank and tax information. Please note that developer payouts will only be processed for those who reached the U.S. $200 payout threshold. More information on payouts eligibility can be found here. Windows Phone 7 Improvements Coming Soon
2010 was a very exciting year for the Windows Phone business. We introduced Windows Phone 7 in different markets across North America, Europe, and Asia, and the feedback from users has been very positive. As of today, over 2 million Windows Phone 7 licenses have been sold to OEMs worldwide, and, thanks to your support, customers can now find over 6500 apps and games in our Windows Phone 7 Marketplace. While we are pleased with our progress and humbled by the excitement and participation of so many developers, we know we still have a lot more work to do to help you sell your applications to a growing number of satisfied Windows Phone 7 customers.
As announced at CES, we will soon be releasing updates to Windows Phone 7 that reflect the feedback we have been receiving from customers and partners to improve the products we deliver. These updates will be pushed out to our existing customers and will include several changes. The two most noteworthy for Windows Phone users are the addition of copy and paste, and significant performance improvements when loading or switching between applications.
Existing applications already written and published will automatically receive the benefits of copy and paste and performance improvements when users update their devices. You will not be required to recompile or resubmit applications, nor will you have to change the way you have been utilizing our development tools and APIs. Although this is true for most cases, there might be some specific situations in which developers might prefer to recompile their apps to improve user experience. We will provide you with more information about these scenarios soon.
Additionally we are working to finish the release that will allow us and our partners to make new Windows Phones available from Sprint and Verizon in the first half of 2011. Accelerate Application Certification Want to know where to focus your attention before submitting an application for Windows Phone 7 certification testing? Following are the top seven areas to pay close attention, which will help shorten the time for your application to pass certification and be published in the Marketplace:
1.Technical Support Information. Include technical support contact information, such as an email address or URL, within the application along with the application version number.
2.Content Validation. Be sure that application visual elements are visible and legible in both Windows Phone 7 light and dark themes. The application description, the UI text, and media within the application must be in the corresponding target language the XAP supports.
3.Application Termination. Applications must provide a user-friendly error message when an application terminates unexpectedly.
4.Application Screenshot. Screenshots must not include any emulator chrome, be graphically enhanced, or use transparent PNG image files.
5.Windows Phone Marketplace Iconography. Icons must closely match the icon provided in the XAP package.
6.Declaring Application Capabilities. Use the method documented on MSDN regarding How to: Use the Windows Phone Capability Detection Tool. Pay close attention when referencing the WebBrowser control and be sure to access it from code-behind.
7.Application Localization. Follow globalization and localization best practices on MSDN and test applications using multiple regional and language settings
Top 10 App Design Tips This new series on the Windows Phone Developer Blog offers tips with step-by-step advice on common issues that can surface when developing a Windows Phone 7 application. Compiled by the Windows Phone Design team, the series tackles ten key areas with information that can help you avoid design pitfalls and strengthen your application.
With the Windows Phone 7 platform increasing in popularity every day, the number of applications is growing rapidly. These tips can help you make your application function even better, so it will stand out well when you submit it to the Windows Phone Marketplace.
Although some issues are quickly fixed, others are a bit challenging. However, the detailed explanations and illustrations are easy to follow. The series kicks off with a look at how to make your start tiles and splash screens great—so your application makes a good first impression.
The other 9 tips covered in the series are:
1.Make sure your buttons are visible even when the keyboard is displayed.
2.Manage themes on WP7. Build your application to respect system color changes.
3.Make sure your finger can hit the target and text is legible.
4.Give feedback on touch and progress within your UI.
5.Be very careful when embedding web content.
6.Place your buttons well… Flying buttons, home buttons, and back buttons… Oh my!
7.Right layout alignment and information hierarchy are key.
8.Use our common controls, and use them right.
9.Understand Pivots and Panoramic views.
Get all 10 tips, and check out the blog weekly for new postings. Windows Phone Recipes Available Now Windows Phone recipes are a group of open-source Microsoft Public License (MSPL) projects aimed at helping Windows Phone developers with their Windows Phone applications. Recipes are usually common patterns for topics that require some attention. The idea is to provide a sample with some reusable code that can be reused later and modified to fit other similar scenarios.
The first Windows Phone recipe made available for you is the Nonlinear Navigation Service . This Windows Phone recipe addresses a common pattern in some Windows Phone Silverlight applications that have a circular path (also known as loop) in their page navigation. Part of the beauty of Windows Phone 7 is the Back key functionality, which makes it easy for end users to step “back” through a stack of previously loaded applications and application pages. This functionality comes at a cost for the application developer, however, who needs to understand how the page stack operates in Silverlight for Windows Phone, and how to manipulate that stack in an optimal manner. You can download the recipe here , which provides you with the building blocks and instructional material to easily manage these tasks.
Check out our Windows Phone Developer blog to learn more about the Nonlinear Navigation Service and the following upcoming Windows Phone Recipes:
Windows Phone Server Side Push Notification Helper. A server-side library that abstracts the way the push notification backend works and includes a sample on how to use it.
GPS Emulator. A Windows Phone application and DLL that combine to let you simulate GPS input on the emulator on a real phone.
Basic In-App Logger. A simple logger that helps you track your application between tombstoning events.
Download for Windows Phone 7 Button You can now use the Download for Windows Phone 7 button to help users find your application. You can download the Windows Phone 7 button kit here. The kit includes the button artwork in three colors, five languages, and five sizes; the button usage policies; a pointer to the deep-linking documentation; and our branding guidelines. For more information on how to use the download now button, click here.
Incorporate Ads into Windows Phone 7 Apps and Games
Microsoft has created a great opportunity for you to build ad-funded apps and games with the new Microsoft Advertising SDK for Windows Phone 7. For more information on the Advertising SDK for Windows Phone 7, click here. Get Free Analytics Microsoft has partnered with PreEmptive Solutions to offer a free trial of Runtime Intelligence for Windows Phone. Visit http://www.preemptive.com/windowsphone7.html to sign up and start using it.
Windows Phone 7 Developer Events
The Windows Phone developer team will be at the Mobile World Congress 2011 (2/14-17). Come visit us at the Wednesday February 16 in the App Planet. We will hold day-long sessions that will examine all aspects of development on the phone, including building apps and games, marketplace monetization, tips and trick for certification, and an open panel discussion where you can get answers to your urgent questions.
Check out the details at MWC. If you are interested in attending this event, please rsvp to email@example.com with your first and last name, email address, and company name, and you will be added to the invite list.