Final Windows Phone 7 developer tools arriving Sept. 16

Microsoft will release the final version of its Windows Phone 7 Developer Tools on Sept. 16, enabling developers to recompile their WP7 applications and games prior to the early October relaunch of the software giant's Windows Phone Marketplace storefront. Writing on the Windows Phone Developer Blog, Windows Phone 7 director Brandon Watson states that downloads of the current Windows Phone Developer Tools beta exceed the 300,000 mark--he notes the final tools will include several requested Silverlight controls as well as panorama, pivot and Bing maps controls. "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 adds.

Microsoft is planning a limited beta test cycle of the WP7 app submission and certification process. "We're also working on significant changes to our developer portal that reflects feedback from the community," Watson writes. "In those changes, you'll see enhancements meant to simplify and streamline the path for developers to get the information they need." Last week, Microsoft premiered Windows Phone 7 Jump Start, a 12-episode video tutorial series exploring the new operating system--each episode runs about 50 minutes.

Microsoft recently introduced more than 50 new Windows Phone 7-optimized games from publisher partners including Gameloft, Konami Digital Entertainment, Namco Bandai, PopCap and THQ. Speaking last week at the GamesCom 2010 conference in Cologne, Germany, Microsoft senior director of PC and mobile gaming Kevin Unangst said the first wave of WP7 titles will include both longtime fan favorites and new games, targeting casual and hardcore gamers alike. "We're really approaching this as we would a console, so we have to deliver the breadth of games and the quality people expect from Xbox," Unangst said. "To have this quantity and quality of games committed this far ahead of launch, with even more to come, is a statement of support that says Windows Phone 7 will be a big success."

Windows Phone 7 will closely integrate with Microsoft's Xbox Live online gaming platform--Xbox titles like Halo: Waypoint and Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst feature companion experiences for WP7 users. In addition, mobile gamers can earn Xbox achievements, update their avatars and track their progress on the Gamerscore leaderboard.

For more on Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 roadmap:
- read this Windows Phone Developer blog entry

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