Recently Passed 225,000 Downloads of WinPhone Info Free and 500,000 Total Windows Phone App Downloads

by Kevin November 3, 2014 19:54

Total downloads of WinPhone Info Free passed 225,000 on 9/20/20141, and total downloads for all of my Windows Phone apps passed 500,000 on 8/27/20141.

I've been taking a break from app development, so I totally missed these milestones. It's pretty exciting to pass the half million download mark. Hopefully, as the Windows Phone install base keeps growing, it won't take as long to get the next half million downloads.

I am starting to work on upgrading some of my apps to universal apps for Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1. There is a bit of code that needs to be rewritten to support the new APIs, but I think the time will pay off in the long run, especially when Windows 10 is released.

WinPhone Info Free - 225,000+ Downloads

225000 Downloads of WinPhone Info Free

All Windows Phone Apps - 500,000+ Downloads

500000 Downloads of Windows Phone Apps

1. As of 11/1/14, I am at 230,052 downloads for WinPhone Info Free and 523,115 downloads for all of my Windows Phone apps.

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Windows Phone

It's OK to Take a Break from Your Apps, but...

by Kevin November 3, 2014 18:04

It's OK to take a break from your apps, but don't forget to keep an eye on your support emails.

I learned this the hard way recently when the Windows Live SDK login stopped working in my Bill Reminder app, while I was taking a few months off. If I had stayed on top of the support emails, I would have known about the problem earlier and not ended up with quite a few upset (and vocal) users. Here are a few of the deservedly bad reviews from the store:

1 star out of 5
by Amy 10/7/2014

I use to Love Love Love it! ❤ but now I can't sign in? I switched phones, reinstalled, tried to sign in and now.... nothing?

1 star out of 5
by Robert 10/6/2014

Nice program but no longer supported by the developer. When SkyDrive changed to OneDrive, the program will now no longer backup and restore. Many times I and others have attempted to contact developer per "help" instructions but no response back. Therefore, cannot expect program updates and program to continue to work well as future Window Phone operating systems evolve.

1 star out of 5
by Dave 10/2/2014

So far I can't even back up or restore. Everything else works fine.

2 stars out of 5
by Andrew 9/10/2014

app is great, except for some reason i can't log in to my OneDrive to connect to a backup...keeps telling me 'not signed in' i've contacted the publisher 3 times with no response...frustrated!

Once I was aware of the problem, it was a quick fix. I updated the Windows Live SDK in the app, tested it, and submitted it to the store the same day. It actually took longer to go back and reply to all of the support emails, which I did.

Everyone appears to be happy now, and I'm definitely keeping up with the support emails from here on out.

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Windows Phone

SpeechRecognizer Class and Exception 0x80045509

by Kevin June 26, 2013 22:40

In my game, Stroop Effect, I used the SpeechRecognizer class instead of the SpeechRecognizerUI class, because I needed a custom UI without the popup prompt. I was getting an exception that I didn't recognize while using the emulator, but the game worked fine on my Lumia 920, so I submitted it to beat the DVLUP Color Confusion challenge deadline. My game failed certification, because the tester had never used speech on the test device and he received an exception code of 0x80045509.

Speech Recognition Setting Speech Privacy Policy Prompt

While searching for the error code, I found that it was a speech privacy policy error, because the non-UI SpeechRecognizer class does not prompt the user if speech recognition is not enabled in the phone's settings. I decided to save a boolean setting to track whether speech is enabled and prompt the user using the SpeechRecognizerUI class in the main page when they first start a game. Once they reply yes to the speech prompt, I set the boolean setting to true and navigate the user to the game page. Be sure to include the 0x80045509 exception check whenever you use the SpeechRecognizer class, because the user may navigate back to the page after disabling speech recognition in the phone's settings.

Here is an example of the exception handling.

catch (Exception ex)
{
    const int privacyPolicyHResult = unchecked((int)0x80045509);
    const int networkNotAvailable = unchecked((int)0x80045504);

    if (ex.HResult == privacyPolicyHResult)
    {
        // User has not accepted the speech privacy policy
        this.PromptForSpeechRecognitionPermission();
    }
    else if (ex.HResult == networkNotAvailable)
    {
        this.Dispatcher.BeginInvoke(delegate { MessageBox.Show("Speech " +
            "recognition requires an active data connection. Please check " +
            "the data connection on your phone and try again.", "Error",
            MessageBoxButton.OK); });
    }
    else
    {
        this.Dispatcher.BeginInvoke(delegate { MessageBox.Show(ex.Message); });
    }
}

In Stroop Effect, I prompt the user on the game page only if the error occurs.

private async void PromptForSpeechRecognitionPermission()
{
    SpeechSynthesizer speechSynthesizer = new SpeechSynthesizer();
    SpeechRecognizerUI speechRecognizerUI = new SpeechRecognizerUI();

    // Prompt the user using speech synthesis
    await speechSynthesizer.SpeakTextAsync("Please tap accept in the " +
        "following dialog box to enable speech recognition on your " +
        "phone, then say something to make sure the game can hear you.");

    // Required to get user's speech consent
    speechRecognizerUI.Settings.ExampleText = "Ex. \"Red\"";
    speechRecognizerUI.Settings.ListenText = "Listening...";
    speechRecognizerUI.Settings.ReadoutEnabled = true;
    speechRecognizerUI.Settings.ShowConfirmation = true;
    var result = await speechRecognizerUI.RecognizeWithUIAsync();
}

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Windows Phone

My Suggestions for Windows Phone Success (Part 3 of 3)

by Kevin June 25, 2013 10:40
 

After Your App is in the Windows Phone Store

Advertise Your App (Free)

Submit an article about your app at http://wmpoweruser.com. If you follow their guidelines, they will usually publish it. I usually try to submit my article in the evening before I want it to show up on their site. If it is a slow news day, your article can get a good amount of time on the front page. I usually see around 800-1000 extra downloads the day my article runs. While your article is on the front page, share it via Facebook and Twitter to increase your app’s exposure. If you have some high-profile followers on Twitter, you can really maximize the exposure. Don’t forget to submit follow-up articles whenever you update your app for more free advertising. You can also pay to advertise on the website, and the admins are really nice and helpful when you contact them. An article on WMPoweruser on June 6th got Screaming Sheep off to a great start, and it has just kept on going(The drop in downloads on the 7th was probably due to reporting issues at Microsoft.)

Screaming Sheep Download Results

Share your bitly link on Facebook and Twitter for even more free advertising. This is another idea that I got from Alex and Luis at Neuralnet, which helps more than I would have thought. Send it to @sharethis, @dvlup, @msdev, @wpdev, and any other accounts related to Windows Phone development. You can also use the hashtags #wpdev and #fldev to get the news out. If you get really lucky, some of your high-profile followers will retweet it.

You can also email your local user group to get some friendly feedback to get your app headed in the right direction.

Advertise Your App Some More (Paid)

This is more difficult to justify when you are first starting out, because the return on investment is pretty low. However, Nokia has made it easier by including advertising in the DVLUP rewards. I recently had WinPhone Info Free in Nokia’s App Highlights app, and I got 4000-14000 downloads per day for an app that normally has around 300-400 downloads per day. I’ll definitely be redeeming some of my points for additional advertising.

WinPhone Info Free Download Results

Update Your App Often

One of the most important steps to keep your app at the top of its category is updating it with new features. If you included a way for your customers to easily contact you, you should be getting a number of feature requests and suggestions to improve your app. Set some time aside to reply to those customers and implement their requests and suggestions or provide a reason why they don’t fit your app. Your customers will appreciate that you listened to their feedback and will be more likely to try your future apps.

Stop Surfing the Internet and Get Back to Developing

This series of posts is just some of the suggestions that I have picked up along the way and wanted to share. They are in no way all encompassing or guaranteed to provide you with success. Getting your apps noticed takes a lot of time and effort, but it is pretty rewarding when someone in Australia helps you fix a UTCOutOfRange error with SkyDrive backup and restore. Thanks again, Sam.

 

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Windows Phone

My Suggestions for Windows Phone Success (Part 2 of 3)

by Kevin June 25, 2013 10:00
 

Submitting Your App to the Windows Phone Store

Don’t Rush It

This will be the first impression customers have of your app, so make it count.

Create an Enticing Write-Up for Your App

Highlight what is special about your app, especially if there are others like it already in the Windows Phone Store. Make customers want to download and try it.

Include More Than the Single Required Screenshot

Screaming Sheep is one of my apps that doesn’t use all 8 screenshot slots, but it will when I update it with a save to ringtone page. (Yes, someone actually emailed me to request that feature.)

Choose the Right Category, But Don’t be Afraid to Change It

It’s better to be at the top of the business category than at the bottom of the tools + productivity category. When I moved WinPhone Info Free to the business category (currently #4), my daily downloads increased substantially and have remained consistent since then.

Don’t Forget the Windows Phone 7 XAP

If your app doesn’t have Windows Phone 8-only features, take the time to make a Windows Phone 7 version. Otherwise, you are missing out on a very large customer base.

Price Your App Reasonably

Free apps get downloaded at a much higher rate than paid apps, but paid apps can make money faster than ad-based apps. If you want a lot of downloads, go with a free app and only include adds if the app warrants it. You probably aren’t going to get rich off of ad revenue anyway, so you might as well have a popular app. (No, fart apps shouldn’t include ads.)

Verify Your Markets

Skip China if your app has anything to do with maps, because including it is a guaranteed rejection. Also, don’t forget to go back and check your apps when new markets are added, because they don’t always get added automatically.

 

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Windows Phone

My Suggestions for Windows Phone Success (Part 1 of 3)

by Kevin June 20, 2013 21:35
 

Before You Put Your App in the Windows Phone Store

Make Sure You Spend the Time to Make a Quality App

You only have a limited time at the top of the new list. I learned this one from Alex and Luis at Neuralnet, and I still try to follow it. (Screaming Sheep is the one exception.)

Include Multiple Ad Networks

If you are going to include ads in your app, don’t rely on just PubCenter, or your app will have an empty black bar part of the time. I like AdDuplex for cross-marketing apps.

Sign Up for the Nokia Premium Developer Program

It’s going to cost you $99 to get your app in the Windows Phone Store anyway, so you might as well sign up for the Nokia Premium Developer Program and get the $1500 in benefits that Nokia throws in for the same $99.

Sign Up for a DVLUP Account

You’ve done the work, so you might as well get some DVLUP credit from Nokia.

Join Your Local User Group

Stay in the know on upcoming events and promotions and get help from other Windows Phone developers. In Florida, you can join Joe Healy's .NET users group and Shayne Boyer's Orlando Windows Phone users group. Nokia Ambassador Bill Reiss also hosts a Windows Phone discussion list for the entire Southeast. You can sign up for his list by clicking here.

Follow (and Get Followed by) the Big Names in the Windows Phone World on Twitter

I have 39 followers, but one of my followers has over 2900. Getting a retweet from him goes a long way, especially since many of his followers are Windows Phone users and developers. Thanks, Bill Reiss.

Create Your Own Blog

It may not get a lot of traffic, but it gives you somewhere to provide more information and pictures for your apps. You can also provide download links for paid and free versions of your apps from a single page. You can see an example by clicking here.

Use a URL-Shortening Service

It allows you to track the effectiveness of your advertising and see where clicks are coming from. It also makes posting a link to your app via Twitter or Facebook much easier. I use bitly.

Screaming Sheep Bitly Click Results

Screaming Sheep Bitly Geographic Results

Make It Easy for Your Customers to Help You

Include menu options to contact you, upgrade, rate, and share your app. Also, include ways for customers to find your other apps. Most of all, include a rating reminder pop-up, because many customers still won’t tap a menu to rate your app. The RadRateApplicationReminder control from Telerik (which you should already have, since you signed up for the Nokia Premium Developer Program already) works really well.

Windows Phone App Menu

Create a Help Page

A help page gives you more room to explain how your app works and to provide a better experience for your customers. Once you create it, you can easily use it in all of your apps.

Windows Phone Help File

It also gives you a place to let customers know about your other apps. I am planning to make this a dynamic list using Azure services, since my app count is growing more quickly now.

Windows Phone More Apps

 

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Windows Phone

Getting My Surface Windows 8 Pro Today

by Kevin February 8, 2013 22:38

Surface Windows 8 Pro Reservation Pass Front

Surface Windows 8 Pro Reservation Pass Back

 

I picked up my Surface Windows 8 Pro reservation pass earlier this week at the Microsoft Store in the Florida Mall, and I will be showing up early to be in the front of the line when the doors open. I even have a coworker who will be picking one up tomorrow, so I won't be the only one in the office with a Surface. I believe that a large number of people were holding out for the Surface Windows 8 Pro, so Surface sales should pick up greatly after tomorrow.

I'm planning to get the 128GB model to guarantee that I have plenty of free space for Office 2013, my Windows 8 and Windows Phone development, and my entire music collection. I'll be deciding on which Surface accessories I want when I get to the store, but I am definitely getting the Microsoft Complete for Surface 2-year warranty while it is $50 off.

I'll be picking up another Surface Windows 8 Pro as a gift later this month, so I am definitely doing my part to help.

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Microsoft Surface | Windows 8

My Generation App Prize for UCF News for Windows 8

by Kevin February 8, 2013 21:30

Generartion App Prize

 

Here is a my Samsung Series 7 Slate with Windows 8 Pro that I won by being one of the first 2000 developers to have a new app published (UCF News) in the U.S. Windows Store before the October 26th Windows 8 launch date.

I am really impressed with the slate. Even though it was originally released for Windows 7, it works flawlessly with Windows 8. I did miss the convenience of the Touch Cover that I use on my Surface Windows RT, but adding the Bluetooth Wedge Mobile Keyboard and Wedge Touch Mouse made the slate as usable and portable as the Surface Windows RT, but with an 11.6" screen.

The slate also makes a great development device, because it has a generation 2 Core i5 processor, which allows it to run legacy Windows apps, unlike the Surface Windows RT. Having the slate with Windows 8 Pro has definitely made the wait for the release of the Surface Windows 8 Pro a lot easier.

I'll be replacing the Samsung Series 7 Slate, Surface Windows RT, and my company-provided laptop with a Surface Windows 8 Pro tomorrow, so the number of my development tools will be greatly reduced.

Click here for more information about Generation App and how they can help you develop your next Windows RT/8 and Windows Phone apps.

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Microsoft Surface | Windows 8

My Location - Now Available in the Windows Phone Store

by Kevin February 7, 2013 20:21

My Location ScreenshotMy Location (paid and free) is now available in the U.S. Windows Phone Store for Windows Phone 8.

I developed the app after helping at a car accident and realizing that I wouldn't be able to explain to a 911 operator where I was. The app allows you to quickly find where you are and send location data and a map link to your current location via email or SMS. Most locations in the U.S. will also provide an address to make sharing your location even easier.

Click here for more screenshots and a link to download the app in the Windows Phone Store.

 

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Windows Phone

Just Over 12 Hours Until I Get My Surface with Windows RT

by Kevin October 25, 2012 16:29

I cancelled my online preorder for a 64GB Surface with Windows RT, because I am going to be able to pick one up at the Microsoft Store at the Florida Mall tomorrow morning. I picked up a reservation voucher, so I shouldn't have any problems. I'm really looking forward to showing it off at work to all of the iOS and Android fans.

Surface RT Reservation Front

Surface RT Reservation Back

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Microsoft Surface | Windows 8 | Windows RT

About the author

me

I work on .NET development by day; Windows PC & Windows Phone development by night.

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