As we look back on 2013, we’re thankful for your support of the Windows platform. Over the past years, the ability to use apps on a variety of devices (phone, tablet, and PC) and in different contexts has become more important as the world becomes ever more connected. As users spend increasing amounts of time on their devices and using your apps, it’s critical that users are not simply satisfied but delighted. In 2013 we focused on creating a unified developer experience and continued investment in lowering development costs while expanding business opportunity for Windows developers. To learn more, see 2013: The year of Unification on the Windows Phone Developer Blog. Thanks again for your support, and happy holidays!
--Todd Brix, General Manager of Windows Apps and Store Team
One alternative you could look into is using a Windows Phone 8 device to debug directly on the phone. You can find more info on how to configure a Windows Phone 8 device for debugging here: msdn.microsoft.com/.../ff769508(v=vs.105).aspx. If you have further questions please feel free to post them on the Phone developer forum here: social.msdn.microsoft.com/.../home.
I have windows 8.1 laptop. I am a developer. I have paid around $930 to get this laptop. Still I cannot run windows phone 8 emulator and do development for Windows phone 8. To do so I need to pay for upgrade to Windows 8.1 pro. That is ridiculous. Luckily currently I can do development for Andriod. Even closing app is painful in windows 8.1. Please look in to these issues.