Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Windows Phone Store expands to 42 more countries

Microsoft on Friday announced that they’ve expanded the Windows Phone Store to cover 42 more countries, taking the number of markets they serve to 113. In a blog post, the company also announced that it would be rolling out an update for the Windows Phone Dev Centre and the Windows Phone Store.

The update contains fixes to issues identified by users, feature enhancements and reflection of new country-specific policies. “On tap for this wave of updates are several behind-the-scenes changes designed to help improve the reliability and performance of the Dev Centre, in addition to the app submission process,” read the blog.

The 42 new markets include Angola, Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Congo (DRC), Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, Liechtenstein, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Pakistan, Paraguay, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Togo, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uganda, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Microsoft is also urging developers to go for worldwide distribution of their apps by working with the Dev Centre in order to maximise the reach of new markets, where a variety of new Windows Phones have or will soon be released.

Microsoft is finally stamping its authority in the smartphone market with the release of the Store in more countries, which brings it neck-to-neck with Android’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store. Currently, Play Store paid apps are available in 129 countries and the Apple App Store is available in 155.

Microsoft has also asked third-party app developers to have privacy notices in place. “With ever-increasing attention to app privacy practices, we encourage you to have an adequate privacy notice in place,” the company said. Microsoft is also allowing developers to add a link to their privacy notice so that users can read it before downloading an app.

The launch of Windows Phone 8 has given a boost to Microsoft's fortunes, and the warm reception has encouraged developers to create more apps. Windows Phone 8 was launched in late October and featured the ‘highly customisable’ Start Screen and Live Tiles. Users can pin their favourite people, apps, games, and music to the Start screen and colourful Live Tiles will light up with real-time information and updates.

The Windows Phone Store has over 120,000 apps to choose from, and hundreds are added every day. Hit apps on iOS and Android such as Angry Birds Star Wars, Cut the Rope Experiments, Where’s My Water, Living Social, Temple Run and Urbanspoon are being rolled out in Windows Phone Store in time for the holiday season. Microsoft also announced that Internet radio service Pandora would come to the store with one year of ad-free music in early Q1 2013.

Microsoft has said that the next wave of updates will be in January.

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