Microsoft have just announced the release of Windows Phone Developer Tools Beta, the “close to being finished” version of the technology that developers will use to build applications for Windows Phone 7 devices.
Windows Phone 7 is a fast-moving platform; according to the team’s Brandon Watson, they have gone from announcement of the entire platform to this beta in just 5 months. The hardware will be out to consumers in even less time, for the start of the holiday season (which could mean any time in September to November).
The new tools included in the Beta comprise of a new express edition of Visual Studio, “Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone”; a version of Expression Blend for Windows Phone; Silverlight for Windows Phone 7; and XNA Game Studio for Windows Phone 7. On top of the CTP and CTP Refresh already released, it adds a stack of new features that developers will have been looking forward to.
With the imminent releases of pre-production preview devices to developers, the included Developer Registration Utility has the capability of unlocking Windows Phone 7 devices so developers can use them to build applications on. It also includes additional templates and controls to reflect how the platform has changed since the CTP, and a XAP Deployment Tool for deploying Silverlight directly to a device.
You can download the Beta now from the Windows Phone Developer site. There is more information on the Windows Team Blog, and more about the XNA side of Windows Phone applications on the XNA Creators Club and this great tutorial.