Windows Phone Store now allows you to manually download and install XAPs in WP


WMPowerUser reported a new update in Windows Phone Store which allows you to download Windows Phone applications from the store manually to your desktop and later install them in your mobile.

 

I am not sure how this will benefit the user and developers both but let’s jump to a discussion and check it out.

 

Microsoft rolled out an update on 30th November to the Windows Phone Store which allows you to download any application or game to your desktop by navigating to the app/game page. Once you are on the page, scroll down to the bottom and you will see a link “Download and install manually” and clicking on that link will start downloading the xap as shown below:

Download and install Windows Phone Applications manually

 

In case you want to install the XAP manually, you can do that by using the Application Deployment tool or a SD Card. To install apps and games from your phone's SD card, Insert an SD card that contains one or more .XAP files into your phone. Now go to Start button Start button, tap Marketplace tile Store tile, then tap SD card. Select the apps you want to install, then tap Install. This will install the apps in the app list of your Windows Phone.

 

Let’s Discuss: Pros and Cons

Now the question comes “Will it be beneficial or will it create any issue?”. This question is very difficult to answer if you think about various key points.

 

First this will help users (especially other developers) to download and try out few Windows Phone applications in the emulator if they don’t have the physical Windows Phone device in hand. If you are a developer and looking out for an option to install a XAP in an emulator, read this post: “How to Deploy XAP File in a Windows Phone Emulator?” You should have Windows Phone SDK installed in your development environment before proceeding to this step.

 

In the other hand, it may expose the XAP contents to any user who downloads it from the phone store manually. There is a possibility of reverse engineering too. But I am sure that those XAP files are well protected by the Windows Phone Store. To test it out, I downloaded one of my Phone application in XAP format and renamed it to .ZIP extension. Then I tried to open the new ZIP file in popular ZIP applications like WinZIP and WinRar, but those process went in vain as it popped up with the below message in the screen saying a corrupted file format:

 

Error

 

If this happens with the downloaded applications or games, that is absolutely fine and protect the developer’s content from any kind of misuse. I hope there should not be any way to crack those apps.

 

What’s your opinion on this?

The above was just my opinion and test result. Just thought to reach out to you for a small kind of discussions on this subject and find out if any issues may arise in the future. If you have any points on this, just drop a line below with your comments.

 

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10 comments

  1. it shows error when we deploy the file using emulator using application deployment tool.

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  2. Back in time, Windows got its success thanks to piracy. It's sad but it is true. It might does the same effect if hacker finds a way to install encrypted XAP.

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  3. Good Post Kunal . I was not aware of this feature . Thanks for posting :)

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  4. @Sébastien Lachance, You are absolutely right here. Hackers were able to hack Windows Store apps, and now phone apps if they get success to open the XAP file.

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  5. I say... welcome piracy on Windows Phone....

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  6. why can't i run wp8 emulator on my machine...It shows me an error of hardware virtualization not supported...

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  7. This is useful for downloading high memory apps without affecting the data plan of the device for some users, I guess.

    @Udaya, You need to enable Hyper-v in Windows 8. Control Panle -> Programs and Features -> Turn on programs and features -> select Hyper-V

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  8. Haha. A year ago I was bored and downloaded an XAP of a game. I decompiled it, found out the server and credentials they used to post high scores, and posted a bullshit highscore 1000x more than any others. It took me thirty minutes, and I'm only an intermediate developer. I'm not an asshole who is going to screw up someone's hard work, I just posted on fake score that was soon removed. But others are. It's a big security risk to let users download XAP files...

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