Microsoft is allowing developers writing applications targeting the Windows Phone 'Mango' operating system update to submit their applications for approval starting in August.
Update: The exact date is August 22, according to Microsoft Windows Phone Corporate Vice President Joe Belfiore.
Microsoft announced the timing, as well as some updates to the Windows Phone App Hub developer portal on July 20.
So does this mean that Mango is "done" and that the code has been sent from Microsoft to handset makers and its telco partners for testing? The Softies would neither confirm nor deny when I asked.
"Mango App ingestion starting next month is the only news today. Will follow up once the team reaches the next platform milestone. As for update delivery, all I can confirm is that Microsoft is on track to deliver Mango to Windows Phone customers as a free upgrade later this year," a Windows Phone spokesperson said, via e-mail.
Mango is the next version of the Windows Phone operating system, expected to be named Windows Phone OS 7.5. It includes a number of enhancements, including a HTML5 compliant version of Interent Explorer 9; Twitter integration; third-party-app multitasking and more. (MobileTechWorld has a comprehensive list of the features expected in Mango.)
The updated App Hub portal adds support for 19 new markets beyond the 16 currently supported. The 19 new markets include Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, India, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and Taiwan. The App Hub also is allowing apps in seven new markets (Chile, Columbia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, South Africa and South Korea) to submit apps for Windows Phone. Microsoft plans to allow developers from China to register starting in early fall and will expand registration support for India at that time.
The App Hub also is adding an expansion in pricing tiers (below $5 U.S.) and an expansion of in-app mobile advertising support for Windows Phone applications.
The promised "private" and "beta" application distribution capabilities are available to developers who want to target specific groups of individuals with their applications.
In other Windows Phone news, some Samsung Focus users who have been waiting to get the 7392 update on their phones saw some progress this week. Updates for the Focus v 1.4 on AT&T began rolling out as of July 19. There's still no word on when v 1.3 users will get that update, however. The 7392 update is listed as being in the "planning" stage for Verizon HTC Trophy phones. The 7392 update includes the SSL certificate security fix, plus some other general firmware updates.
Update No. 2: Remember a few weeks back when Microsoft pulled the rug out from under its Windows Phone MVPs, telling them they were switching the focus of that Most Valuable Professional (MVP) program? It looks like Microsoft has created the rumored, new Windows Phone Consumer MVP designation and has started naming new MVPs for that particular program.