Microsoft has announced the release of a software development kit (SDK) for its upcoming Windows Phone 7.8 platform.
The SDK is described as an "optional update" that adds two new Windows Phone 7.8 emulator images, allowing developers to test how their old-generation Windows Phone apps run on the new OS.
"These two emulator images should enable you to fully test how your Windows Phone 7.5 app's Live Tiles will look and behave when they are run on a device running Windows Phone 7.8," the Redmond-based firm said in a blog post.
Windows Phone 7.8 will be released on 31 January and represents a kind of halfway house for owners of Windows Phone 7.5 devices, who found themselves left out in the cold when Microsoft radically overhauled the look and feel of its mobile platform with Windows Phone 8 (WP8).
The operating system refresh is designed to give users a taste of the firm's bold new 'Live Tile' interface, bringing a more flexible homescreen to older and cheaper handsets not able to upgrade to WP8.
Microsoft added that the devkit update did not affect existing Windows Phone 7.1 emulator images, and that there would be no new APIs available for apps in Windows Phone 7.8.
Stay tuned to ITProPortal for more build-up to and coverage of the Windows Phone 7.8 release.