Microsoft issues Windows Phone Developer Tools Beta

Microsoft released its Windows Phone Developer Tools Beta, promising developers a "near final version" of the tools necessary to build applications and games for its forthcoming Windows Phone 7 operating system. "With the Beta release of the tools, developers can build apps with a 'ship it' mentality," writes Windows Phone 7 director Brandon Watson on the Windows Phone Developer Blog, identifying top-level release items including full integration of Microsoft Expression Blend, Developer Registration Utility (enabling developers to unlock their Windows Phone 7 device for creative purposes) and a XAP Deployment Tool for deploying XAP files directly to unlocked devices.

As for the Windows Phone 7 API, "We're getting close to completion," Watson reports. "Many namespaces that were previously distributed over several different DLLs have now been consolidated into one. In addition, there have been realignments and changes in several other namespaces as well. Push Notifications, Accelerometer and App Bar APIs have all been updated." Watson adds that Microsoft will issue additional controls in the next few weeks, including Panorama and Pivot. He also notes that the company is now distributing WP7 preview devices to developers, issuing the first phones to teen developers Beastware, creators of the Windows Phone Rockstar contest-winning game Droid Assault.

Speaking Monday at Microsoft's annual Worldwide Partner Conference in Washington D.C., CEO Steve Ballmer admitted the software giant's current Windows Mobile platform lost a "whole generation of users" to Apple's iPhone and Google's Android, but promised Windows Phone 7 will right the ship. Ballmer said the company will aggressively promote Windows Phone 7 across smartphones as well as tablets, with partners including Dell, Sony, Asus and Samsung committed to releasing WM7-powered products in "the next few months."

The Register reports Ballmer identified the consumer segment as the Holy Grail, contending that their influence now shapes the thinking of enterprise IT departments. "We will give you a set of Windows-based devices that people will be proud to carry at home and will fit the kinds of scenarios enterprise IT's trying to make happen with the phone form factor," Ballmer said. "We are going to reach out to work vigorously with you to drive enterprise IT and consumers... they've got to come into IT and say 'I want a Windows 7 slate' and 'I want an Windows 7 phone.'"

For more on the Windows Phone Developer Tools Beta:
- read this Windows Phone Developer Blog entry

Related articles:
Microsoft cuts Windows Phone Marketplace app submission fees
Microsoft refreshes Windows Phone Developer Tools CTP
No Windows Phone 7 upgrade for existing WinMo devices
Microsoft unveils first Windows Phone 7 prototype

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