Can you believe it’s been only six months since Microsoft first unveiled its brand-new and most likely last-ditch effort to regain some significance in the smartphone market? Well, today the company announced that the Windows Phone 7 Developer Tools will go gold September 16, and applications submissions will be accepted from early October onwards.
Over the past six months, we’ve come to know Windows Phone 7 pretty well. It’s a complete break from Windows Mobile, and pretty much a break from everything else on the market today. Whereas things like iOS and Android are essentially still desktop operating systems (i.e., application-centric) crammed onto a mobile device, Windows Phone 7 tries to move away from this in-and-out approach through the use of its hubs. But that’s something for another article.
Developers have come to know Windows Phone 7 well as, uh, well. The beta developer tools have been downloaded more than 300000 times, and while that obviously doesn’t equate to 300000 developers, it’s still an impressive number and a good base of interested folks to work from.
“These first six months have affirmed that a rich application platform based on the well understood Silverlight and XNA technologies, combined with great free tools based on Visual Studio 2010 and Expression Blend is the right approach for enabling developers and designers of all skill levels who are looking to capitalize on the opportunities presented by Windows Phone 7,” writes Microsoft’s Brandon Watson.
Now that the final version of the developer tools has been announced, it’s time to prepare your applications for entry into the Marketplace. You should probably get your stuff ready in the coming weeks with the beta tools, but that does mean you’ll have to recompile with the final version since minor changes will be made.
“The final tools will likely have some minor breaking changes from the Beta tools, so developers may have to fix some bugs that arise,” Watson details, “The final tools will also include several highly requested Silverlight controls which will make it even easier for developers to deliver high quality Windows Phone 7 experiences. Also in the September 16th final release, the panorama, pivot and Bing maps controls will all be available to drop into applications.”
Microsoft also released a whole boatload of training materials for developers as well as an updated set of Marketplace guidelines. I’m actually quite anxious to see how Windows Phone 7 will work in practice, and if it’ll be a success or not. It’s got a lot going for it (top-notch developer tools, a truly unique operating system, a large pool of potential developers), but at the same time, it’s entering a market with players that have been here for a few years now.