Microsoft made available for download on March 15 test versions of a number of the tools that developers can use to build applications for Windows Phone 7 devices.
At the Mix 10 opening keynote, Microsoft officials emphasized how Silverlight and Expression Blend will complement the XNA Game Studio 4.0 toolset, giving programmers a number of choices as to how to develop applications and games for Microsoft's new mobile platform.
Available immediately for download are test versions of a number of Windows Phone 7 dev tools, including of Expression Blend for Windows Phone, a Windows Phone 7 add-in for Visual Studio 2010, a standalone Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone, and a Windows Phone 7 Emulator for application testing.
Microsoft also made available for download on March 15 a near-final Release Candidate of Silverlight 4. The final version of Silverlight 4 will ship before the end of April, company officials said today.
The first Windows Phone 7 phones won't make use of Silverlight 4, however; Microsoft is supporting a superset of Silverlight 3 with some Windows-Phone-specific features (like accelerometers) right off the bat, according to the Softies.
A number of developers announced their commitment to develop for Windows Phone 7 today, including the Associated Press, Citrix Systems, EA Mobile, Fandango, Foursqure Labs, Match.com, Microsoft Game Studios, Pandora Media, Photobucket, Seesmic, Shazam Entertainment, Sling Media and Vertigo Software, among others.
During the Mix 10 keynote, it was clear that Microsoft is doing its best to distance itself from being known as an enterprise phone developer. Company officials didn't demonstrate a single enterprise app -- other than Outlook -- during the kick-off Mix keynote. (I did see a quick preview of the Office Hub for Windows Phone 7 during one of the breakouts, with promises that Microsoft will be providing more details about Office on the new phone platform in June.)
Microsoft is targeting Windows Phone 7 devices at "life maximizers," company officials said, meaning users who want to use their mobile devices for both work and play.
Unsurprisingly, Microsoft officials also said nothing today during the keynote about how and if Windows Mobile developers will be able to migrate any their already-developed code to the new platform. Microsoft already has said Windows Mobile 6.x apps won't run on Windows Phone 7.