As we get closer to launch date, Windows Phone 7 news are getting white-hot. Only six months after announcing the launch of the new OS and with a few beta releases for the development tools, it was finally announced today that the development suite, final version; will become available on September 16. Only 3 weeks away!
The actual availability date for the devices is still only confirmed as October for Europe and November for the US.
What is incredible is that so far there has been over 300,000 downloads of the Windows Phone Developer Tools. This is only for the Beta versions available so far; the actual number of downloads to watch out for is the tools after they become available on 9/16. The development tools are free and only require you to register as a developer if you are going to publish and sell (or give away) your applications on the Marketplace. They should give us an idea of how many companies will publish their applications on the platform. Even if one third of them were to publish an application, then the Windows Phone Marketplace would start with somewhere north of 100,000 applications submitted for Microsoft’s approval. We’ll have to see how Microsoft can handle such load and how many actually end up being available when devices hit the shelves.
The development tools are based on Silverlight and XNA technologies which leverage existing developer knowledge and development efforts. Almost all community games developed for the Xbox LIVE service can be released on the Windows Phone platform with no changes at all or (if needed) very minor changes. These games were already released also on the Windows platform, so now; developers can realistically develop once and release on three different platforms altogether. All of this just by choosing to use the Microsoft provided free tools that are based on Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 and Expression Blend.
Additionally, there are several tutorials and training available for free. The long-time Windows Mobile MVPs Andy Wigley and Rob Miles have released over 12 hours of classroom training and supporting exercises called Windows Phone 7 Jump Start; click [here]. Microsoft has also updated the Windows Phone 7 Developer Training Kit which includes training materials and code snippets, available [here].
If you are a developer, you can also jump into the development frenzy, all you need is to have is a great idea. The rest is just using the same development tools you’ve always used. If you are interested, please follow these easy steps:
- Register at the Windows Phone Marketplace, [here]
- Code and complete your application or game using the available Beta tools, download them [here]
- On September 16, download the final Windows Phone Developer Tools
- Recompile your application or game using the final developer tools
- Prepare your XAP (your package after code compile) to be submitted into the Windows Phone Marketplace when it opens in early October. They are currently taking applications for use in previous versions and not for Windows Phone 7 yet.
What is very interesting about this last bullet is the meaning behind it. I believe that it means there is no way that Windows Phones will be released any time before that early October timeframe. Additionally, it suggests that (IMHO) Microsoft will probably be releasing devices late October in Europe and immediately after that, in early November in the US. My reasoning being that they would allow no less than 3 weeks to approve and have available a decent amount of applications and games in the Windows Phone Marketplace.