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Microsoft Intros Windows Phone App Studio

Want to be a Windows Phone developer but don't have the coding skills? Microsoft has the tool for you: Windows Phone App Studio. It's free and available now in beta, allowing anyone to quickly bring their idea to life by merely adding text, web content, imagery, and design concepts to any one of a set of customizable templates.

The SDK promises app creation in four easy steps: have an idea, add content, choose a style, and then use it. Budding developers start by choosing a Marketplace category such as entertainment, lifestyle and so on. Next the user adds images, videos, RSS and Twitter feeds, selects a color palette and generate live tiles. Once completed, App Studio builds the app and provides the source code which the developer can edit.

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"Getting started is easy – just create a Microsoft account, choose your template, and begin adding your content," states Microsoft's Todd Brix on the Windows Phone Developer Blog. "Windows Phone App Studio does the rest. When you’re app is ready to go, you can download the app to your own phone, or share it with others by publishing it to the Windows Phone Store."

Of course it's not as easy as creating an app and uploading it to Microsoft's storefront; users will need a Dev Center account first which isn't free. The company is currently conducting a limited-time "Summer Break" deal which knocks the annual registration fee down from $99 to $19 until August 26, 2013. This subscription includes an emulator to test the app, in-app purchasing options and more. Subscribers can submit unlimited paid apps and up to 100 free apps.

"Any developer can unlock and register 1 phone to load up to 2 apps," Brix states. "Registered developers with Dev Center accounts continue to have the option to unlock up to 3 phones and upload up to 10 apps on each."

He also writes that Windows Phone Dev Center now offers "Click to Chat" support so that registered developers can chat with a support representative. Developer payout in six additional markets will also be added this week, bringing the total market to 128. These markets include Costa Rica, Cyprus, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Malta, and Trinidad and Tobago.

"We also continue to add carrier billing connections," he states. "We now offer 35 connections in 23 markets, with new connections growing at a rapid pace. On average, developers are earning 3 times more revenue per active user in markets where carrier billing is offered. This increases to 6 times more revenue on average in emerging markets where credit card usage is more limited."

To get started with Windows Phone App Studio, head here.