Previously the .xap files (app packages) were unprotected, which made it relatively easy to both deconstruct an app, or side load it on to a device. Encryption does not stop this from happening, but does make it harder, and should provide reasonable protection against casual piracy.
The news comes in a blog post from the Windows Phone developer blog, which talks about some of the changes that have occurred as a result of the recent developer portal upgrade. Aside from app encryption other notable changes include:
- Student accounts are now shown as Individual accounts. Registration fees are still covered through DreamSpark, but the change means that when a developer is no longer a student, they will not need a new account.
- App icons must now be 300 x 300 pixels, previously the requirement was for 200 x 200 pixels.
- As a result of the switchover, apps submitted during the last week may take a few additional days to be processed and certified. Normal service will resume when the backlog has been cleared.
- An 'add new submission' option allows multiple .xap files for each app, which is useful for developers that have .xap files that differ by language or by version (e.g. one version for Windows Phone 7.5 and one for Windows Phone 8). An update selected option allows you to update a specific .xap file.