Developers already do this, but once they are done hammering out the code, they need a Dev Center account in order to submit their app to the Store. Subscriptions are an annual affair, and if you are a DreamSpark student, registration is free.
From now until August 27th, a Windows Phone Dev Center account will only cost $19 (a significant savings over the normal $100 per year). Registered developers can submit an unlimited number of paid apps, and up to 100 free apps. As for what you get with your Dev Center account, the list is extensive (albeit in line with other developer benefits of other platforms):
- Get free development tools, including a phone emulator to test your app
- Explore code samples and all the information in the developer library
- Read tips about selling your app
- Review our policy guidelines and certification requirements
- See tips and guidelines for creating apps that reflect the beauty of [Windows Phone] design concepts
- Create apps with trial options
- Enable in-app purchasing, so customers can buy things within your app
- Test your app with a real phone
- Submit free and paid apps to the Store
- Distribute your app around the world and set country/region-specific price tiers
- Watch your progress and manage your apps in a personalized dashboard
- Ask questions, share advice, or talk with other Windows Phone developers
You do not need a Dev Center account to download the free tools and research code samples or participate in the Windows Phone developer community. The Dev Center account becomes critical when it comes to testing your app or submitting it to the Store. Plus, developers are allowed to unlock an actual Windows Phone device and side-load apps for testing.
Microsoft compares the cost to that of buying a pizza. We do not know what kind of pizza they are eating in Redmond, but for developers that have been thinking of bringing their apps to another platform, this is certainly enticing.
sources: Dev Center via WPCentral