The Windows Phone 7 team has announced that the free developer tools have now graduated to beta.
The tools freely available as Tech Preview thus far consist of:
- Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone
- Windows Phone Emulator
- Silverlight for Windows Phone
- XNA Game Studio 4.0 Beta
- Expression Blend 4 for Windows Phone Beta
There have been quite a few impressive Windows Phone 7 app concepts since the tools were made available and Microsoft does have a compelling developer story for Windows Phone 7. The tools can be downloaded from the Windows Phone Developer website. It is essential that developers with existing apps go through the documentation to upgrade their code for this build. Jaime Rodriguez has done an excellent job of listing the various changes in this build and what they mean for existing apps.
Microsoft has already started making developer handsets available to non-Microsoft employees and wider availability is expected soon.