Microsoft today announced some changes to its App Hub developer portal. Additionally, it revealed that developers can begin submitting Mango apps to App Hub in August, which is likely the source of those bogus “could Mango ship in August?” rumors.
The App Hub changes are as follows:
More geographic markets for developers, consumers and advertising coverage. Developers can now publish apps to consumers in 19 new countries, in addition to the 16 Marketplace countries already supports. Also starting today, developers from seven new markets can register in AppHub and begin submitting apps. And Microsoft Advertising pubCenter will support Windows Phone app developers in the following 18 countries by the end of 2011: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
New private distribution options. Developers may distribute pre-certified applications to a group of up to 100 access controlled beta testers for up to 90 days. Then, developers may distribute applications through Marketplace in a hidden state, where they are not discoverable via browsing or searching Marketplace.
Enhanced application and account management capabilities. These updates, prompted by developer feedback, include better account management tools, a streamlined application submission process, new app categories, and enhanced reporting capabilities.
More details can be found on the Windows Phone Developer Blog.
By the way, regarding that August thing, Microsoft notes that it expects to make “the Windows Phone Release Candidate (RC) tools available in late August.” So I’m thinking October is still the date for Mango general availability.