Microsoft is now accepting submissions to its App Hub for applications built specifically – or optimised – for the Windows Phone Mango update.

Mango will introduce fast switching between apps, background audio, multiple-sided Live Tiles and improved search integration. Details of other new features coming with Mango are due in the next few days.

The opening of App Hub for Mango applications means developers running early versions of Mango will soon be able to see new and optimised applications working on the OS, according to Windows Phone Marketplace senior director Todd Brix. The existing 30,000 Windows Phone applications and games will also work on Mango.

According to a post by Brix on the Windows Phone developer blog, Microsoft has been working on ways to help developers ready their Mango apps for submission to the App Hub, starting with an update to the Windows Phone software development kit, WPSDK7.1.

The Release Candidate for the WPSDK7.1 is now available and includes Go Live licences to allow developers to publish apps to the Windows Phone Marketplace. The licences only apply if developers reconfigure their apps using tools within WPSDK7.1.

WPSDK7.1 also allows developers to test their apps for certification requirements on their own computers using the Marketplace Test Kit. The kit uses the same technical certification tests as Microsoft, meaning applications are more likely to pass certification at the first time of asking.  

Microsoft has said the SDK upgrade will emerge by the end of September and will be available in all supported languages.
The other major development for people working on Windows Phone applications is that games developers are also being invited to submit games designed for Mango for multiple countries via App Hub.

Games developers will have free access to the Pan-European Game Information (PEGI) game rating system which generates age rating certificates which can also be submitted through App Hub.