The Right MIX

Today at MIX ‘10 we’re looking under the hood of Windows Phone 7 Series, showing people what this phone can do and giving designers and developers the tools and information they need to expand their horizons. We’ve shown the phone’s smart new design, and the way integrated experiences dynamically bring the information people care about to the forefront. We’ve also talked about our new application development platform and how we chose Silverlight and the XNA Framework to deliver on a new platform strategy built around prioritizing end user experience, delivering a new development platform and enforcing a consistent hardware standard. Today the rubber meets the road!

Once Around the Track

First of all, if a picture is worth a thousand words than a killer demo is worth a million. Check out Scott Guthrie and Joe Belfiore’s demo packed MIX keynote. It is being streamed live this morning starting at 9AM PST (and will be available on demand a bit later). I have a little cameo at about 90 minutes in.

You’ll see why with the new Windows Phone 7 Series application development platform, more than half a million Silverlight and tens of thousands of XNA Framework developers are now Windows Phone developers. Developers and designers can now build their code once and optimize it to take advantage of the unique capabilities of the phone, Web, PC or Xbox 360. Due to common shared libraries, controls and runtimes across these many screens and the cloud, developers now have the opportunity to reach over 1 billion customers. We follow the keynote and demo with 12 deep dive sessions (which will also be available on demand at http://live.visitmix.com) that walk people through everything they need to know about the new platform, tools and opportunity.

Time for a Test Drive

We’re not quite ready to hand over the keys, but today we’re giving developers and designers everything they need to test drive the new application development platform and start creating new apps and games for Windows Phone 7 Series.

Windows Phone Developer Tools Preview is available today (as in RIGHT NOW) as a free single download at http://developer.windowsphone.com. Windows Phone Developer Tools feature;

  1. Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone
  2. Windows Phone Emulator.
  3. XNA Game Studio 4.0

We are also announcing that not only is this preview available for free, we will make the final version free as well!

One cool thing about this download package is if you already have another version of Visual Studio 2010 RC installed this will act as an add-on to that. 

Developers will be able to use these tools to start building rich Windows Phone 7 Series applications.  Obviously developers don’t have real devices yet, but the new Windows Phone Emulator that’s included uses x86 virtualization and 3D GPU acceleration to provide great performance. If your developer workstation supports Windows 7 multi-touch you will be able to interact with the emulator using touch!

We’re Serious About Design: Today we demonstrated building Windows phone apps with Expression Blend and announced the availability of a CTP for Expression Blend 4 for Windows Phone on http://developer.windowsphone.com as well. Expression Blend 4 for Windows Phone provides exactly the same streamlined development workflow for Windows Phone that was previously only available for Silverlight and .Net applications; including features such as Behaviors, sample data and the visual state manager.

For now, the Expression Blend 4 for Windows Phone CTP is a separate download and install from the Windows Phone Developer Tools, but it will be integrated into the single download mentioned above in a future update.

Oh, and this special version of Blend will also be FREE.

Windows Phone Marketplace: Also at MIX, Microsoft is for the first time detailing how developers and designers from 30 countries will bring content to market with Windows Phone Marketplace, the evolution of Microsoft’s mobile application market. With Windows Phone Marketplace and the new Marketplace hub, developers can easily promote applications and games to Windows Phone customers right on the phone, while earning a 70% revenue share.

  • The Marketplace hub will provide consumers a single destination for all the content (applications, games, premium Xbox LIVE games and music as well as operator and OEM exclusives) to personalize their Windows Phone. 
  • We’ve streamlined the self service portal for developers.
  • Windows Phone Marketplace registration will be free to members of the DreamSpark program for students

Location and Notification Services: To further enable developers to deliver rich applications in fewer steps, Silverlight on Windows Phone 7 Series features Location and Notification Services.

  • The Microsoft Location Service is a uniform mechanism that provides software developers a single point of reference in order to acquire location information, removing the need for developers to worry about accessing GPS, or attempting to get Cell ID or Wifi information.
  • The Microsoft Push Notification Service lets end-users get “live” updates for their favorite apps no matter what they are doing on their Windows Phone. (This is what I get to demo during the keynote!).  Its a mechanism for proactively sending changing or updating information to the phone, regardless of whether or not the application is running. It helps preserve battery life and network and the API for using it on both the Phone and web service is amazingly simple!  Notifications can updated Live Tiles on the Start Screen or show a drop-down “toast” notification at any time and developers can handle notifications directly in their apps.

Pole Position: We’re also introducing several leading companies that are already committed to creating exciting applications and games for Windows Phone 7 Series.  They include ; The Associated Press, Archetype International Inc., AWS Convergence Technologies – WeatherBug, Citrix Systems, Inc., Clarity Consulting, Inc., Cypress Consulting, EA Mobile, Fandango, Inc., Foursquare Labs, Inc., frog design, inc., Glu Mobile Inc., Graphic.ly, Hudson Entertainment, Inc., IdentityMine, Inc., IMDb.com, Inc., Larva Labs LLC, Major League Soccer, Match.com, L.L.C., Matchbox Mobile Ltd, Microsoft Game Studios, Namco Networks America Inc., Oberon Media, Inc., Pageonce, Inc., Pandora Media, Inc., Photobucket Corporation, PopCap Games, Inc., Seesmic, Shazam Entertainment Ltd, Sling Media, SPB Software Inc., stimulant, TeleCommunications Systems, Inc., Touchality LLC, Vertigo Software, Inc.

Developers and designers who work with mobile applications or have an interest in applying their Silverlight or XNA skill set to the phone for the first time should visit the Windows Phone Developer Portal for prescriptive guidance, tools and timely information about developing for Windows Phone 7 Series.

You can keep track of this and other news coming of MIX ’10 by keeping an eye on the Microsoft News Center

I’ll continue sharing updates here and on my personal blog http://blogs.msdn.com/ckindel/. A whole bunch of my colleagues will be posting great technical information here as well!

Head to http://developer.windowsphone.com right NOW and download the tools and get started. Let us know what you think.