As announced around two weeks ago, Microsoft has expanded its Windows Phone App Hub to new markets, according to an official blog post on Thursday. The App Hub is now available in the following 23 additional markets this month: Bahrain, Bulgaria, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Estonia, Iceland, Iraq, Israel, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Vietnam.
As you can see, this was a required move in the various markets where Windows Phone was only recently introduced — especially China and certain Middle Eastern countries — as Windows Phone would be quite bare without third-party applications. While submitting apps to the entire world is pretty easy (as explained in this step-by-step guide), certain countries — Bahrain, China, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE — will be subject to additional app certification approval due to local laws.They also note that app approval times — which are approximately 7 days on average — may also increase.
Nevertheless, it is quite exciting to see the App Hub make its way to more and more regions. With entry-level phones such as the ZTE Orbit and Lumia 610 hitting the shelves in these emerging markets, Windows Phone is sure to at least get its foot in the door of the developing world’s smartphone market.