Windows phone news Since Windows Phone 8 was released in October, Microsoft has been experiencing a “sustained 40% increase” in the number of apps submitted for the mobile operating system. The increase bodes well for Microsoft, which is trying to catch up to Android and Apple’s iOS in terms of the number of apps available for its smartphones.

Microsoft announced the increase on its Windows Phone Developer Blog on December 12. The company said that, in light of the increase, it would keep its full staff available for reviewing and certifying apps during the holiday season, with the exception of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.

Microsoft recommends allowing five business days from the submission of an app for it to be certified for download in the Windows Phone Store. Therefore, for a Christmas release, a submission should have been made no later than Monday, December 17. For a New Year’s release, a submission should be made no later than Friday, December 21.

App to the Future Contest

Microsoft also announced its involvement for the second year in the App to the Future design challenge, in partnership with design magazine and community Core77.

“Design an app for Windows Phone that showcases how to create, connect or impress the pants off your future self,” the contest guidelines say. Submissions should be apps, mockups, or ideas in one of three categories:

  • Design to DoMicrosoft news
  • Design to Connect
  • Design to Delight

Judges will choose five winners from a group of 30 finalists. Each winner will receive a Microsoft Surface tablet, a Windows Phone 8 handset and a one-year membership to the Windows Phone Dev Center. Judges include:

  • Chris Caldwell, Creative Director at
  • Jennifer Bove, Managing Director at Kicker Studio
  • Corrina Black, Senior Design Lead of Windows Phone Design at Microsoft
  • Eric Ludlum, Founding Partner and Creative Director of Core77
  • Pratik Kothari, Founder and CEO of Techark Solutions

Submissions are due February 3, 2013. Complete rules are on the App to the Future site.

Tags: best windows phone 8 apps, developing windows phone 8 apps, windows phone application development, windows phone app developer, windows phone app submission, windows phone 8 app submissions