Device unlock without having to pay to publish
Developers should be free to test their code on real devices. You are not supporting Win Phone 8 development. You should seperate publishing and testing accounts. I should not need to pay for real device testing, but pay when i put it on market. By the way you lose developers to Android world. I would not buy my Nokia Lumia 920 if I knew I had to pay for testing. I plan to sell my Lumia and develop using Android.
Settings → Update & security → For developers → Developer mode (thanks Garth Smith for bubbling this to the top!)
Garth Smith commented
Pretty sure this is no longer an issue for Windows 10. On my Lumia 929 with Windows 10 I can test anything by going through these menus and activating Developer mode.
Settings -> Update & security -> For developers -> Developer mode
Martin Storsjö commented
Currently, a paid developer account can only developer unlock 3 devices. If one wants to do some compatibility testing of one's code, 3 devices is a very very low number - almost any beginning developer can easily run into this limit.
After searching the web, I found suggestions to contact the support to have the limit raised - which I did - but they would only allow it to be raised to 5 devices, which isn't much of an improvement.
They said that to raise the limit further, I would have to have at least 3 apps published. In my case, I haven't actually published any apps at all yet, since my current main product is a library that is sold to other customers for inclusion in their apps - and this restriction is limiting my ability to compatibility test my library. I will possibly release an app at a later point, but then I will probably only publish one single app (that will be maintained and upgraded for a very long time - an app connected to a web service). Keep in mind that not all developers publish many different apps, some developers just publish one single app, and still are very serious and experienced developers.
Therefore, allowing paid developer accounts to only developer unlock 3-5 devices is all but ridiculous - other competing platforms allow developing on unlimited numbers of devices (Android) or 100 devices (iOS). Don't restrict such things based on the number of released apps, because the number of released apps doesn't say everything about the needs of a developer. By limiting things this way, you are only hurting your own platform by disallowing valid developers to compatibility test their code on more devices.
David Smith commented
The title should read, "Don't charge me $99 a year to just test my own apps on a real device."
@Cliff Simpkins: Some developers just develop libraries that other developers use. They have no intention of putting anything in the App Store ever. It is a HUGE detriment to Microsoft's bottom line if library developers can't bring quality libraries to the platform because you want to charge them $99 a year for that most basic of requirements to build many different apps. Move the $99 annual fee back to where it belongs: The App Store. If you want to publish your app, you pay a fee just like if you want to self-publish a book and get an ISBN for it, you also pay a fee. Basically, wherever a human has to get involved to evaluate something, a fee should be applied and that means just publishing to the App Store is necessary for that fee, NOT to test apps on a device.
This is a no-brainer: Windows Phone 8 has piddly market share compared to the domination of iOS and Android. That alone means you need to be developer-friendly on all aspects of this platform. You've got 40+ people so far who managed to find this page and bothered to comment and they all say basically the same thing. Assume that for every person who manages to find this site and post that there are at least 50 times as many people who have the same issue but are unable to locate this post - and that's being conservative! All of my developer friends are in shock at the way Microsoft is treating Windows Phone 8 developers knowing full well the market share numbers in the back of their mind. Stop "evaluating" (corporate speak for "I'm a lazy bum who can't get up out of his seat and walk over to another part of the building to get things done") and get this out of the "UNDER REVIEW" status and into the "WILL FIX RIGHT NOW" status.
This post, my comment, and all the votes on it should have never happened! You are the Senior Product Manager of a major project that will determine a significant portion of Microsoft's future and it should have been blindingly obvious that this approach was wrong from the outset. Yell louder at the idiots who thought it would be a good idea to tie devices to Microsoft Live accounts, which created this scenario. Unfortunately, I'm thinking the idiot who came up with that idea and decision was probably you given your job title, which would certainly explain why you are dragging your feet - no one likes having a decision they made thrown back in their face as being total crap. Well, it is crap - and even if you didn't make the decision, you still get to own it. The Windows Phone OS should have a Settings option to enable Developer Mode just like Android does - no Microsoft Live, Google, or other account is necessary on Android to enable developer mode - it just there and it works. Give developers the tools to write software for these devices and then get the hell out of the way! Google does that, you don't. Apple can get away with charging money in advance because of their dominant market share, you can't because you have no market share.
maciej pszczoliński commented
you can don't charge people who has really good application(s).
e.g. if you got 100.000 or a half-million downloads a year of at least one application - you get next for year free.
Good developers keeps your Markeplace (and WindowsPhone devices) being bought by people.
And you - Microsoft - thinks that you can charge us 99$ even if we make good apps?
If not for 99$ there will be much more bad apps. Please keep the fee.
@Stefan Stanescu, the point of making apps without any goal of earning money in store is huge, really. Gaining skills in phone dev, just learning platform, making homebrew apps for oneself... lots of reasons. And paying money for the try discourages of making the try. Publishing apps in store for profit - that's the thing that should be charged, not the possibility of loading just compiled app on the personal phone i've already paid for.
There's a certain level of seriousness and risk involved. Sure, charging $99 ensures that app developers are serious about their work when they go to sell their app, but they also have to be risky enough to spend so much money in the hopes that it will all be generated back.
Part of the experience is checking to see if the apps we make are as good as we think they are, and for a lot of us, it's not worth $99 to find out. Thus, the Windows Phone Marketplace could really be missing out on something big; many great sales do not spawn from great risks.
Stefan Stanescu commented
Really? If you don't expect to earn over 99$/year what's the point of making apps?
I totally agree with that. Maybe there could be some kind of small fee to get the dev account but 99 dollars is definitely too much! I did just purchase Nokia Lumia and was planning to develop something for it but I'm not interested in paying that much for something that I would give for free or sell with low price. Too bad, that as a long time C# lover I still have to write apps for Android :/
That's right, u can do like in Android, when you develop your application totally free, but registration in market place for money, one-time payment
Henry Boehlert commented
... and wondering why there isn't more enthusiasm to develop software for WP ...
I'm researching this and that before I start development. So what I'm getting from this forum is... You have to pay $99 to put an app on market place but then in order to recover your money from any potential sales you need some kind of USA tax arrangment.
All of this on the smallest of phone OS bases.
It doesn't seem very developer friendly. We're not all big Corps that can throw a lousy $99 at every little thing that pops up on the internet. I know of only 1 person that has a windows phone, including myself that makes 2. I know lots with Android phones and nearly everyone has an iPhone.
I don't think I'll be publishing first on the Windows Phone Marketplace, if ever. :/
$99 is the fee to unlock your phone, not necessarily to develop apps. If there is no such fee, it will be almost certain that people will be downloading XAPs from alternative sites, hence comprimise the Marketplace.
With that being said, $99 PER YEAR is too high for developers. MS should come up with a mechanism to compensate developers in order to encourage them to write more and better apps. Personally, I'd prefer a phase-out approach. For example, 2 years as an active developer, then the fee is waived or something like that.
There is another idea about the $99/year. I think the chance will be bigger if all vote for the same idea...
I agree. Do not charge $99 like Apple does. Follow Google and charge one time fees of $25.00 and 30% per app. Isn't this enough? Give us the developers a break.
@Cliff, ChevronWP7 is not selling unlocks any more, as their agreement with Microsoft was only for 2011. On their blog, they said that they have no plans to restock. So we need the alternative like "right now!!"
I agree as a serious gamer i would like to have a app for our site @ www.twdps3.net but simply it is way too much. I would simply would like to have our clan members that has windows phone to have a whole new experience for the site, instead of the desktop version. If their is any developers nice enough please make us an application for windows or android or iphone, just so we dont have to have our computers at all time. And some of us dont even have computers like me. Please respond to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested, thanks
What about linking Dev Tools to one specific device on which apps built with them run? This way it wouldn't be possible to build a third party marketplace, but developers could test their apps anyway.
Philip Lo commented
Perhaps if there was a seperate market place for free and open source apps that would be great! You can download apps and the source code to make changes. Sort of like what Microsoft has done with TouchDevelop, but this time with C#.
This would get more people interested in programming.
Luke Puplett commented
I don't mind paying $99 but I want $99 worth of decent app management portal, sheeeze.