Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) released its Windows Phone SDK 7.1 Beta 2, giving registered developers early access to the forthcoming operating system upgrade (better known by its "Mango" nickname). According to Microsoft, the SDK supports the creation of apps running both Windows Phone 7.0 and 7.1 and includes resources like the Windows Phone Emulator, Silverlight 4 SDK and DRT, Windows Phone SDK 7.1 Extensions for XNA Game Studio 4.0, Microsoft Expression Blend SDK Preview for Windows Phone 7.1, WCF Data Services Client for Window Phone 7.1 and Microsoft Advertising SDK for Windows Phone 7. To get started, download the Windows Phone Developer Tools Beta 2 here.
"We're still working out some final kinks in the distribution and support infrastructure for delivering Mango to all of our registered developers around the world, but are inviting the most eager developers to come get Mango today, for their retail devices, as part of our early access program," writes Windows Phone 7 director Brandon Watson on the Windows Phone Developer Blog. "We expect the full distribution infrastructure to be fully operational in the next couple of weeks. For now, consider yourself a beta tester for the distribution process. Registered developers will get invites to the Microsoft Connect site, which will give them access to Mango. This build of Mango should also be viewed as beta quality, so there are still consumer features missing, but you can now start building apps and testing them against retail devices."
Microsoft officially unveiled Windows Phone 7.1 in late May; the upgrade is expected to reach consumers this fall. Mango emphasizes tighter platform integration exemplified by App Connect, which ties applications to Bing search tools to foster a more relevant and efficient user experience. For example, if a consumer searches Bing for movie information, their Windows Phone device will generate showtimes and theater locations but also anticipate subsequent ticket purchase requirements by presenting digital movie services provider Fandango's ticketing application. Also new in Mango: Improved Live Tiles to deliver more real-time information to the device's homescreen, app multitasking and Live Agents tools giving developers the flexibility to build app multitasking scenarios without compromising battery life and performance.
With the release of the Windows Phone SDK 7.1 Beta, developers can now begin building apps that leverage new functionality like fast app resume, sockets, background audio and raw camera access, Watson states. "There will be a tools update in the coming months which will have the go-live license you need to publish Mango apps to the Marketplace, but don't wait," he adds. "With the tools and the ability to test on Mango enabled phones, you should all be in really good shape when Mango is released later this year.
- read this Windows Phone Developer Blog entry
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