More details on apps and the WP7 Marketplace

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At WPC 2010, Todd Brix, Microsoft’s senior director in charge of the  WP7 marketplace gave an in-depth look at the aforementioned marketplace during the [WP03] Windows Phone 7: what ISV Partners Need to get Ready session. It is over an hour long so I decided to provide a timeline and commentary of the points I thought were important. There is a link to the video at the bottom which I had  trouble embedding here.

  • 6:27 – Windows phone 7 has a smart design. Slide showing Metro UI concepts.
  • 9:20 – Hardware acceleration of the UI. Gives an example of the calendar & email app.
  • 10:30 -Talks about hubs as an aggregator for related apps. For example, all photo applications will install in the photo hub. That basically turns them into “super folders” and solves the problem of an endless application list.
  • 12:00 – Marketplace hub. Contoso is a placeholder for a section in the marketplace where mobile operators and device manufacturers can showcase and sell their apps.
  • 13:20 – Marketplace hub features app notifications, available updates and featured items of the day unique to each local market.
  • 14:03 – Optimized ecosystem slide.
  • 16:00 – Marketplace is the only place to distribute all applications.
  • 19:55 – Standardized hardware specs slide. Same processor and GPU specs. Same available RAM.
  • 24:21 – Elements of the application platform slide.
  • 25:50 – Cloud services Slide. A developer can deploy their own web service, a custom web service, existing services like facebook or Microsoft’s Bing service for mapping, Location services APIs and access to the phone GPS, Xbox live, Windows Live and push notification services.
  • 29:10 – Runtime framework slide. Silverlight and XNA.
  • 36:45 – Compatibility slide. Ability to run same code on PC, phone and Xbox with minor modifications.
  • 38:20 – Demo of the marketplace gets aborted because of technical difficulties with the laptop. Bummer!
  • 45:00 – Easy discoverability of applications by rotating new sets of content daily that are specific to each local market.
  • 47:37 – One button search through the hardware key where the user can enter a text string or use voice command. The user can also browse by genre or categories.
  • 49:00 – Trial API for apps. This eliminates refunds so all sales are final.

  • 51:00 – Revenue sharing 70% to developers after taxes.
  • 51:35 – Different modes of monetization including trial, freemium, ad supported or subscription.
  • 52:00 – Notifications through live tiles and automatic updates.
  • 53:10 – Deep linking referral where users share an app with their friends. The friend receives an email with a link on their phone or  their pc and leads them to the relevant section on the market place. If they are on their computer, they are prompted to download a  marketplace client where they can then complete the purchase.
  • 55:00 – Publication process is transparent with a self service portal. developer vetting process takes about 10 days while the application approval only takes 5 days. Monthly payout so longs as totals are over $200.
  • 1:00:00 – Two ways of distributing apps. The public cloud through the marketplace or a private cloud that is not enterprise ready at the moment. The private cloud enables developers to distribute their apps through deep links to their beta testers. MS will also handle all the taxes and credit card billing. They don’t handle the 3rd party subscription services however.
  • 1:03:00 – Says most customers are not extremely price sensitive. If similar apps are for example $2.99 they are willing to pay that price. MS has mechanisms  to try and avoid price wars by setting price tier bars of 89 cent increments. They also provide listings for the best reviewed apps or the ones with most revenue to balance the most downloaded apps that are usually free.
  • 1:07:00 – Microsoft has dedicated tax experts and developer support forums to aid developers in dealing with their country’s tax laws.

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