Windows Phone 7 developers prepare for launch

The Windows Mobile Team is whipping up its 300,000-strong army of developers in a final push towards the operating system's long-awaited launch in early October.

It has now been six long months since Microsoft announced Windows Phone 7 to the world but team leader Brandon Watson says that he and his colleagues have been having so much fun working on the project that that time has gone by so quickly that the launch seems like yesterday.

Unfortunately for the rest of the world, six months is still half a year and Microsoft's heel-dragging has allowed Google's Android to take a solid footing in the mobile OS market whilst Apple's iOS4 has evolved into a genre-defining benchmark which will be hard to match, let alone supersede.

Brandon remains optimistic, however, writing in his Windows Phone blog: "All of the work of the last six months is certainly paying off, as just about every conversation we have with developers focuses on their strategy for generating more business with Windows Phone 7. It’s amazing to see so many inspired developers looking to create experiences for Windows Phone 7."

The mobile platform, which is based on Silverlight and XNA alongside Visual Studio 2010 and Expression Blend has attracted developers of all levels and is now reaching a point where Microsoft is planning to finalise the launch specs and Windows Phone Market submission criteria.

The final distribution of the Windows Phone Developer Tools is set to launch on September 16th and all current and future submissions will have to be compiled (or recompiled) using these tools.

"The final tools will likely have some minor breaking changes from the Beta tools, so developers may have to fix some bugs that arise," writes Brandon. "They will also include several highly requested Silverlight controls which will make it even easier for developers to deliver high quality Windows Phone 7 experiences."

The September release will also include the panorama, pivot and Bing maps controls which will all be available to drop into applications.