Fancy throwing together a Windows Phone app but lack coding skills? Windows Phone App Studio lets you build a basic template-based app via your browser and publish it for other users.
The service currently has 13 basic app templates. Many seem pitched at encouraging individuals to build apps discussing their favourite performers or authors, or detailing recent personal experiences. That might lead to more criticism that Microsoft is trying to boost its app count numbers, since few of those apps would have a broad audience (and fan apps might well include copyrighted content that would bar their inclusion).
More broadly useful options include store catalogues, apps to describe your business and restaurant menus. One odd omission; most services of this kind include an option to drive an app via RSS content, but to do that here you need to choose an ’empty’ app instead.
Microsoft is also pitching the tool as a rapid prototyping system for professional developers, since you can download the code for the app and use it in Visual Studio. That could be a useful option for prototyping on tablets.
Using the service requires a Windows account, and it’s said to be “optimised” for IE10 (I ran it OK in Chrome though).