Todd Brix just took to the Windows Phone Developer Blog to announce scheduled downtime for developers. The App Hub portal (which developers use to manage their Marketplace-bound apps) will begin hibernating this Friday, August 3rd. The service will be on-and-off between then and Monday, when it will be down for a following 24 hours. If you were planning to publish an app this week, it's recommended you begin the submission process today or tomorrow otherwise you'll have to wait.
So what is it that the App Hub team is working on? Brix alludes to the 'next-generation service' we've been hearing about for the last few months. Here's what he says in the post:
The good news is that this brief inconvenience will result in a more robust submission and certification pipeline for your Windows Phone 7.5 apps, and address many of the concerns you’ve shared over the months. We appreciate your patience during the upgrade work. If you have questions, please feel free to post a comment and I’ll do my best to answer.
Brix explicitly mentioned Windows Phone 7.5 here, so we don't have our hopes up for WP8 app submissions to begin -- especially considering that the SDK has yet to be released (officially anyway). If we were to guess, App Hub may be due for a few updates to its interface and possibly the first batch of the 180 total countries that are to be supported this Fall. What do you think we'll see?
Source: Windows Phone Developer Blog