Microsoft Releases Final Windows Phone 7 Dev Tools


Microsoft on Thursday released the final Windows Phone 7 developer tools to manufacturing, giving coders a couple of weeks' lead time to get their apps ready for the launch of the Windows Phone Marketplace in early October.

Microsoft released the Windows Phone 7 OS to manufacturing on Sept. 1, and its OEM partners are in the process of testing it on handsets. The Windows Phone 7 developer tools are the final piece of the puzzle for Microsoft, which is now ready to march back into a mobile market where it has fallen alarmingly behind the leaders.

The Windows Phone 7 developer toolset includes Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone, the Windows Phone Emulator, Expression Blend 4 for Windows Phone, and XNA Game Studio 4.0, said Brandon Watson, Windows Phone 7 director, in a blog post Thursday.

"The Windows Phone Developer Tools have gone final, and we have released to the Web," Watson said in the blog post. The tools are currently available only in English, but Microsoft will roll out French, Italian, German and Spanish language versions "in the next couple of weeks," he added.

As it did with Windows 7, Microsoft started gathering feedback from developers at an early stage with Windows Phone 7, and this led to the inclusion of several key controls in the development toolkit. For example, the Panorama control enables the horizontally scrolling user interface of Windows Phone 7, while the Pivot control allows users to choose different ways to visualize data in the OS.

Microsoft is adding content to its Jump Start training series for Windows Phone 7 that's specifically aimed at helping developers get comfortable with using the Panorama and Pivot controls, according to Watson.

Microsoft has also included the Bing Maps control and a free commercial license, which will let developers build apps with mapping functions such as search, directions, scroll, zoom, aerial view, street view through a drag-and-drop interface, Watson said in the blog post.

Meanwhile, Microsoft on Thursday also launched its Mobile Advertising SDK for Windows Phone 7, which ties into the company's new Microsoft Advertising Exchange program to allow developers to make money from their creations.

Getting developers on board with Windows Phone 7 is obviously going to be crucial to its success, and Microsoft expects its Advertising Exchange for Mobile to help developers maximize revenue from the apps they build.

"Our real-time, bidded mobile ad exchange enables multiple ad networks to bid on mobile inventory at the exact moment when an impression is served, increasing yield and reducing waste," said Raj Kapoor, global director for product planning and marketing for Microsoft Mobile Advertising, in a blog post Thursday.