Have you seen the new (since fall 2011) ways to publish a Windows Phone app to Marketplace? In addition to regular publishing, you can now publish as private beta or targeted. Neither will make the app discoverable in the Marketplace, Beta is time limited and does not include the full certification requirements. MSDN has a really good Marketplace submission comparison: Application Distribution Options.
Now, onto the topic of the hour: Beta submission.
Empirical timing results
I have during the past months submitted numerous apps to the Marketplace as beta – and come to the conclusion: (this probably will just be true for the near future AND the region I’m in – Sweden)
1) Beta submission takes 4 hours to complete – the app then becomes “published”
2) It takes another 8 hours before the app becomes available for download!
Error when trying to download right after submission completed
Before the 8 hours, hitting the deep link gives Marketplace error: 805a0194. An explanation of the error can be found in this StackOverflow response: it’s a 404 – not found.
Why is it like this? I don’t know. Probably propagation of the xap package onto download servers. Annoying – but more bearable once you see the system in it.
Go publish those apps!