Microsoft today announced a slew of improvements for Windows Phone developers. These include the new Windows Phone App Studio in beta, the simplification of the phone registration process, and a new ‘Click to Chat’ support option.

The company also made a point to underline Windows Phone’s ecosystem growth, highlight the launches of the Nokia Lumia 1020 and the Nokia Lumia 625. The Windows Phone Store has seen another billion transactions in less than six months, one-fifth of the time it took to generate the last billion transactions:

clip image006 5C88379C Microsoft debuts Windows Phone App Studio so anyone can make apps, simplified phone registration, and chat support

To keep the momentum going, Microsoft has release a beta version of a new app development solution called Windows Phone App Studio. It’s a free, Web-based tool that the company claims is designed to help anyone create an app without coding: just apply text, Web content, images, design concepts to one of the customizable templates, and you’re good to go.

To use the app, you’ll need a Microsoft account. When you’re app is ready to go, you can download it to your own phone to try out, and share it with others by publishing it directly to the Windows Phone Store. Hopefully you’ll do both, in that order.

image 63C5C770 Microsoft debuts Windows Phone App Studio so anyone can make apps, simplified phone registration, and chat support

It’s not clear how Windows Phone App Studio will impact the quality of apps on Microsoft’s mobile platform, but clearly the company is willing to take the risk. In fact, the company seems to very keen to get more developers publishing apps.

To that end, there are now more ways to get paid:

  • This week Microsoft will add developer payout in six more markets via Dev Center, bringing the total markets that support payout to 128. The new markets are Costa Rica, Cyprus, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Malta, plus Trinidad and Tobago. After this change is implemented, developers in these markets will be able to submit both free and paid apps to the Windows Phone Store to reach users in 191 markets.
  • Microsoft also now offer 35 carrier billing connections in 23 markets, with new connections growing at a rapid pace. On average, developers are earning three times more revenue per active user in markets where carrier billing is offered. This increases to six times more revenue on average in emerging markets where credit card usage is more limited.

Microsoft has also simplified the developer phone registration process: any developer can now unlock and register one phone to load up to two apps. Registered developers with Dev Center accounts can still unlock up to three phones and upload up to 10 apps on each.

image 743F6F02 Microsoft debuts Windows Phone App Studio so anyone can make apps, simplified phone registration, and chat support

Last but certainly not least, the Windows Phone Dev Center now offers “Click to Chat” support, letting registered developers chat live with a support representative. When you’re on the “Submit a support ticket” page, select your Problem type and Category to see the chat option as well as the anticipated wait time for the next available helper.

After the chat session, you’ll receive a support ticket via email for reference if you need to follow up on the conversation. Chat support is available Monday through Friday between 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM Central Time in English and Chinese.

Microsoft also highlighted that its annual developer registration fee has been slashed from $99 to $19. That deal actually started in June and will expire on August 26.

Top Image Credit: Fred Dufour / Getty Images