If Microsoft and its phone partners really do end up delivering the first Windows Phone 7 devices in October in Europe and November in the U.S., Microsoft is sure cutting it close in getting the final version of the development tools for those devices in the hands of coders.
Developers were able to get their hands on the final build of the Windows Phone tools today, September 16, as Microsoft execs promised several weeks ago.
As the Softies noted in a new blog post today, the final Windows Phone 7 tools release is required for devs who hope to have their apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace, which opens for business in "early October."
"For developers to put their apps into the marketplace, opening in early October, you will need to download this version of the tools. Any application built with a previous version of the tools will fail application certification in the Marketplace," blogged Brandon Watson, a Director in Microsoft's Mobile Communications Business unit.
The lack of the final version of the tools seemingly hasn't hampered some of Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 development app-development partners. Twitter, Netflix, OpenTable, Flixster and Travelocity showed off on September 15 versions of their respective apps that worked from inside the Windows Phone 7's browser. Windows Phone 7 apps. As TechFlash reported, YouTube also showed off the ability to view content on WP7 devices from inside the WP7 browser.
The Windows Phone 7 tool suite includes Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone, the Windows Phone Emulator, Expression Blend 4 for Windows Phone, XNA Game Studio 4.0, and a just-added Bing Maps software development kit (SDK) control.
"The (Windows Phone 7 tool) installer is smart enough to download only what you need, and the tools will work with your existing Visual Studio 2010 and Expression Blend 4 installations," Watson blogged.
Microsoft also is releasing a separate Silverlight for Windows Phone Toolkit, Watson said, which will include six controls released for download from the Codeplex site under the Microsoft MS-PL open-source license. These supplemental controls do things like handle "gesture events," like tap, double-tap, hold, drag, etc. Others include date picker and time picker
The Microsoft Advertising team also announced its own SDK for Windows Phone 7 on September 16: The Mobile Advertising SDK for Windows Phone 7, as well as the Microsoft Advertising Exchange for Mobile. The Exchange is "the industry’s first real-time, bidded ad exchange in mobile," Microsoft officials claimed, and is designed to provide display-ad serving, enabling developers to build ad-supported apps.
Microsoft is expected to "soft-launch" Windows Phone 7 on October 11.
A few of you readers have asked me if I'm ready to shell out to buy a Windows Phone 7. I can't say yes for sure, as I'm not among the chosen few who've gotten one of those early loaners to test drive. I never bought a Windows Mobile phone, as I (and my various carriers) felt they weren't the best smartphones for the money. I'm reserving judgment on Windows Phone 7 until I can find one that I like with a reasonable data plan. If I don't -- who knows -- maybe I'll succumb to an Android phone.