Microsoft has issued an update for developers on its planned Windows Phone 7 launch timings, stating that it will make the final Windows Phone Developer Tools available on 16 September 2010. The final release will include some “minor breaking changes” from the beta tools already available, meaning that developers may be faced with a number of bugs that could need subsequent remedy. To date, there have been more than 300,000 downloads of the beta release, indicating that Microsoft has been able to generate some momentum around the platform, despite the fact that it has yet to be used in commercial devices. The final Developer Tools will also introduce several “highly requested” Silverlight controls, and the panorama, pivot and Bing maps controls will be available to drop into applications.
Microsoft also advised developers to have apps ready for submission to the Windows Phone marketplace “in early October, when it opens.” The company took a thinly-veiled swipe at Apple – “ask any mobile developers about their biggest headaches and you are likely to hear about an opaque or non-existent app store ingestion process” – before stating that an updated set of Windows Phone Marketplace policies are now available. A limited beta test of the app store submission and certification process will be conducted in the coming weeks. The one question Microsoft did not address is when Windows Phone 7 devices will be made available and in which markets; for developers, Windows Phone 7 will have a limited appeal until smartphones are in the hands of customers, when they can generate a return on investment from application purchases.