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Windows Phone 8, and the SDK, Coming Oct. 29

Microsoft has revealed that it will announce Windows Phone 8 later this month, on Oct. 29. The news comes via the always-reliable Mary Jo Foley, Redmond magazine columnist and ZDNet's Microsoft blogger.

Oct. 29, Foley wrote is not the day the phone will be launched, however; rather, the complete feature set and specs will be unveiled. What's even more important for Windows Phone developers, though, is that the Windows Phone 8 SDK should also be available at that time.

As I recently blogged, many developers have been frustrated by Microsoft's unwillingness to widely release the SDK before the phone launches. Microsoft declared in early September that the only developers eligible for the SDK were those who'd already published apps in the Windows Store. In addition, access to the Windows Phone SDK 8.0 Developer Preview program was limited to a five-day signup period.

The angry mobs have a point -- it's hard to get apps prepared for a launch when one doesn't have the SDK to work with. And having apps ready at launch can be a key to building an audience, when the white noise of the market is at its quietest. Why, some asked, isn't having an MSDN subscription good enough?

Todd Brix acknowledged the developer unhappiness, and laid out his reasoning in a blog entry on Sept. 12:

"The reason is that not all Windows Phone 8 features have been announced and our SDK includes comprehensive emulators that allow developers to test apps against a wide range of Windows Phone features."

Whether that explanation satisfied developers is another question entirely. It certainly didn't for a responder to the blog named "hopmedic", who pointed out the difference between this SDK and the one for Mango, Microsoft's big update to Windows Phone 7:

"This is rather a crock...  Last year we were using Mango for what, 2 or 3 months prior to general release?  And this year we can't even have the SDK unless we get picked from the pool of applicants?"

"HowieC42" summed up a lot of the feelings expressed in the comments:

"Not releasing the SDK to interested developers prevents apps being ready for the release of Windows Phone 8. With all the competition in the mobile phone arena, this makes little sense. Phone purchasers are swayed by both the number and quality of apps. A must have app can sell a lot of windows phones. You should be encouraging all developers, not just those with present apps."

Brix responded in the comments, suggesting some options. They include: continuing to write apps using the Windows Phone 7 SDK, as Windows Phone 8 will run Windows Phone 7 apps; and that developers should wait to do final app testing on a shipping Windows Phone 8 device anyway, rather than relying on an emulator. Since those devices aren't out yet, they have time.

In any event, developers don't have that much longer to wait, since the SDK will be out at the end of the month.

Posted by Keith Ward on 10/06/2012 at 1:15 PM

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Reader Comments:

Tue, Oct 30, 2012 Italian Developer Italy

It is easy... I won't develop Windows Phone apps until the new sdk will be released :-).

Fri, Oct 26, 2012 NemOry

I can't wait for the SDK because windows 8 cannot run the Windows Phone 7 SDK.

Mon, Oct 22, 2012 RC Roeder SF Bay Area

Yes most of the developers are unhappy, mostly because of a shift in MS. Last year we had event after event by MS on the Windows Phone 7.1/7.5 up until they announce 7.8/8 then it all dried up. They got all of these developer excited and motivated the hung us out to dry. Now what do we have to look forward to, I have to buy a new phone at full price, a surface tablet that does not have the same compliment of sensors the phone does (no gps). The calls to objects is different on each device so instead of 1 code base you are getiing 3 or 4, plus new form factor/screen sizes. It is becoming fractured like android and IOS.

Mon, Oct 22, 2012 Scott New Hampshire

I'm confused by Talbott and Neil's reasoning that I don't need the SDK / emulator because I want to test it on a physical device first. Without the SDK / emulator I can't use any of the new WP8 features, or design anything that I know will look right at 1280x720 or 1280x768. This means there is a lot of design and coding I can't do until after the phone is already on the market.

Mon, Oct 22, 2012 Neil UK

I would never publish an app without testing it on a physical phone, so getting the SDK early does not help much if you need another phone.

Sun, Oct 14, 2012 @Talbott Boston

Hi "Disappointed MS Fan/Promoter", I'm not sure if you read Keith's article completely, or perhaps it was updated after you responded, because you steated "Why is it I have to beg for something (WP8 SDK) that should be in my hands long before the launch? I am so disappointed." but in the article it states that on Oct 29th the phone won't be launched, but rather the SDK will be released and feature set will be anounced. Also, don't you want to test your app on a phone first before you release your app in the market? If so, your going to have to wait until you get your hands on one of the phones first which is a little ways off still.

Sat, Oct 6, 2012 Disappointed MS Fan/Promoter Florida

I develop for Windows (client/server) and Windows phone. It is extremely interesting that we have a new IDE VS2012 and I cannot even develop legacy 7.x version phone apps in the VS2012 IDE. I am forced to run a stripped down version of VS2010 or install side by side VS2010/VS2012. Why could they not send out a stripped down version of WP8 SDK, just to get the developers up and running on the current development platform (VS2012). It seems that Microsoft does not have the platforms aligned enough for a proper development suite. I paid for both the MSDN and Windows Mobile developer license. Why is it I have to beg for something (WP8 SDK) that should be in my hands long before the launch? I am so disappointed. I am kind of confused as well with the part about only certain developers having access currently. Even back working with Windows 2.x on a 286 I received development/configuration support even though I just started my IT career. I know times change, but wow I would think that the developer community helped a little to put Microsoft where it is today.

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