The Windows Phone App Hub developer portal has been updated this week with support for new markets alongside extra features including the ability to distribute apps privately - but not very securely.
According to the Windows Phone Developer Blog, Microsoft is:
"officially announcing the rollout of the new App Hub developer portal with key new functionality, multiple enhancements and support for several new markets."
The App Hub has been updated for Mango to add new markets for developers with support for seven new developer regions and 19 new consumer markets. Developers from Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, South Africa and South Korea can now register on the hub to submit apps.
On the other side of the marketplace, developers can publish their apps to consumers in 19 new countries, in addition to the 16 that Marketplace already supports. The 19 new markets are Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, India, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and Taiwan.
For existing developers, one bit of good news is that developers in more countries will be able to receive mobile in-app advertising revenue in their local currency by the end of 2011. 18 countries will benefit from this: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Microsoft made Windows Phone 7 in-app inventory available last month to all ad networks on the Microsoft Advertising Exchange for Mobile in any of the 17 countries where the Windows Phone Marketplace is currently live.
Another major improvement, and one that addresses a complaint from many enterprise developers, is the addition of new private distribution options. You can now limit apps to be distributed privately to users using a targeted distribution, so that if you develop an app for your company, it can be distributed to all your business users but not be visible to rival companies. According to the blog post, apps distributed through these private distribution methods can only be downloaded by users using a deep-link and the apps cannot be discovered via browsing or searching in Marketplace. This is better than nothing but it doesn't sound particularly secure.
The app hub has also been improved with better account management tools, a streamlined application submission process and more detailed reporting options.
It's not all good news, though. While three extra top level app categories have been added (education, kids & family, and government & politics) alongside several new sub-categories, games and Mango developers are still waiting for their options to be improved. The blog post says;
"Game developers please wait just a little longer. The App Hub is adding functionality to support game ratings and allowing developers to upload the associated rating certificates. Please be ready to publish your games to new Mango Marketplace markets in late August."
The post also says:
"We're just about a month away from enabling developers to begin submitting Mango apps to App Hub. Developers will need to use the Windows Phone Release Candidate (RC) tools that we expect to make available in late August to finalize their Mango apps and submit to App Hub."
If you would like to be informed about new articles on I Programmer you can either follow us on Twitter or Facebook or you can subscribe to our weekly newsletter.