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Windows Phone 7 SDK coming 16 Sept

Microsoft machine lumbers into motion

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The final version of the Windows Phone 7 developer tools will be available from September 16, while handset information isn't leaking so much as flooding ahead of the official launch.

Microsoft reckons that more than 300,000 people have downloaded the beta version of its Windows Phone 7 development kit, and based on feedback from that beta it has decided to squeeze in support for more visual tools as well as controls for interacting with Bing maps. But it's not all free tools: Microsoft has also announced a new training course, for those desperate to start developing for those Windows Phone 7 devices we keep hearing about.

And we do keep hearing about them - 15 so far, according to Kurt Brockett who's been maintaining a list. It's the usual suspects: Samsung, HTC and LG, joined by Dell and Asus, all touting barely-distinguishable hardware conforming to Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 specifications.

Which is just how Microsoft likes it - identikit hardware manufacturers all running Microsoft software, except all those manufacturers have investments in the competition too.

Not that one should be too quick to discount Redmond. Microsoft knows what developers want, and has been extremely capable of seducing them in the past. Not only are there new training courses and comprehensive tool kits, but Microsoft is also providing free videos for those who don't want to bother reading, though those who do will be pleased to see Amazon already listing more than a dozen books on Windows Phone 7 development despite the launch being months away.

It won't be easy to convince the world that Windows Phone 7 is a viable platform, but we can expect to see Microsoft working hard toward that goal and it's certainly pulling out all the stops to get developers involved. ®

High performance access to file storage

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