DRUMMING UP SUPPORT for its upcoming smartphone operating system, Microsoft has confirmed that the final version of its developers' toolkit is now available.
Earlier this month Microsoft released Windows Phone 7 to manufacturers and now the Vole is hoping that developers will help it sell phones by creating all sorts of applications for the operating system. The developer tools, which at present are only available in English, are vital for developers. The Vole said that applications made using older versions of the software will fail to make it onto the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace.
The toolkit includes Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone, Windows Phone Emulator, Expression Blend 4 for Windows Phone and XNA Game Studio 4.0. The software will work alongside current installations of Visual Studio 2010 and Expression Blend.
Microsoft is desperately trying to drum up hype for Windows Phone 7 as, while a few phones have been leaked, nothing seen so far has set pulses racing. So it was not surprising that Microsoft's Brandon Watson dropped software brand names such as Twitter, Netflix and Travelocity in trying to attract attention to Windows Phone 7.
Apparently Watson is impressed by the efforts of the "broader development community", but perhaps the biggest problem for Microsoft is that very similar applications are already available on Apple's Iphone and smartphones running Google's Android OS.
Although Windows Phone 7 does on the surface look capable, perhaps even worthy of a second look, it is evident that Microsoft will face an up hill battle to regain lost marketshare. Yesterday Research in Motion (RIM) revealed that it had an exceptionally good quarter, shifting over 12 million Crackberries, and recent figures from Comscore show that Android's smartphone marketshare is rising.
All this has led Microsoft on two occasions to come up with desperate statements about the alleged 'cost' of using Android. It argues that while Android might be free, there are patents and other secondary costs to be borne by manufacturers, as opposed to its model of charging licensing fees up front. Sales figures for Android devices suggest this fear-mongering is falling on deaf years, with Microsoft simply having to deliver good value for money rather than relying on smoke and mirrors to confuse consumers and scare manufacturers.
Microsoft's newest and arguably most important operating system for almost a decade is about to tip up in phones next month. If it doesn't gain traction and reverse the trend, the Vole might be in real trouble. µ