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gwappFor the past six months, I’ve been using Microsoft’s Windows Phone and documenting the highs and lows here on GeekWire, experiencing first-hand the challenges and opportunities faced by Microsoft in the smartphone market. So I’m pleased to announce the arrival of a Windows Phone 8 app from my favorite technology news site.

Yes, GeekWire now has its own Windows Phone app, and it’s pretty sweet.

The app was developed by Akvelon, the Bellevue-based IT consulting and software development services company, in partnership with GeekWire. It’s a newsreader app that offers quick access to all of GeekWire’s posts, plus the ability to share and comment on stories (nicely synchronized with the comments on

app3My favorite feature is the ability to pin categories — Microsoft, Startups, Amazon, Google Apple, etc. — to the Windows Phone Start screen as a live tile, to be notified whenever new posts are published in those categories.

The experience has also given me a new window into the world of Windows Phone app development. We coordinated closely with the team at Akvelon as they established the feature set, tested the app and got it ready for the world. One of the things I’ve been impressed with is the reliability and predictability of Microsoft’s app approval process.

On the other hand, it took a surprising amount of research and work to figure out how to serve and track our own direct-sold advertisements inside the Windows Phone app. Microsoft has a solution for network ads in the form of its pubCenter system, but the lack of an obvious and easy path for publishers to serve their own clients’ ads is something the company needs to address, based on what I’ve seen from the process of developing this app.

For anyone who’s wondering, the team at Akvelon ultimately figured out a workaround to serve the ads through Google DoubleClick for Publishers, which was the best solution for us in the end.

I’m sharing those behind-the-scenes details in the spirit of my Windows Phone Diary series, but fortunately, you don’t need to worry about that level of detail if you use the GeekWire app for Windows Phone 8.

Note: For iPhone users, we have an existing GeekWire app, developed by Filter. We don’t have a native Android app, but our development roadmap includes plans to shift to a responsive design that will make it easier to read GeekWire on any tablet or mobile device.

Windows Phone users can download the new app here. Try it out, and pin some categories to your Start screen (just press and hold any category on the category page) to keep up with the latest tech news on your phone. We welcome your feedback, and thanks as always for your support of GeekWire.

Todd Bishop is a GeekWire co-founder and editor. Follow him @toddbishop.

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