Developers Get Mango DevTools Beta 2 and Mango Preview OS for Retail Phones (via WP7 Dev Blog)

Over the course of the past six months, the Windows Phone team has been
working very hard to ensure that there is a great experience for all of our
customers with the upcoming Mango release of the Windows Phone OS. That means
educating consumers, empowering developers, and working closely with our
hardware and carrier partners to bring it all together with great devices.

Just last week, the first reviews of Mango started landing in press and blogs
and the early sentiment is very encouraging. People get that Mango is a big step
that dramatically enhances the core experiences that we all rely on our phones
for every day; messaging and communication, use of any of our more than 20,000
great apps and games, and great use of the Web. AllThingsD wrote that the OS “is a mix of elegance
and whimsy that’s a treat to use.” Gizmodo went so far as to say that Mango feels
“complete.” However, it was The Daily that offered some bigger picture
perspective in noting that, “it took Android nearly two years before hitting
critical mass and three years to begin carving out a significant chunk of the
smartphone market.” We’ve got a great product in Windows Phone and we feel we’re
right on track, in fact we’ve already seen reports showing that in only a few
months we’ve surpassed the more established RIM marketplace in
the number of real apps available to customers.

Since beginning this journey with the new Windows Phone developer platform,
we have aspired to be transparent, easy to build for, and easy to partner
with.

We know that one of the most impactful things we can do for developers is to
help them get their hands on the actual product. For Mango, that starts today
with an early access program for developers. We’re still working out some final
kinks in the distribution and support infrastructure for delivering Mango to all
of our registered developers around the world, but are inviting the most eager
developers to come get Mango today, for their retail devices, as part of our
early access program! We expect the full distribution infrastructure to be fully
operational in the next couple of weeks. For now, consider yourself a beta
tester for the distribution process. Registered developers will get invites to
the Microsoft Connect site, which will give them access to Mango. This build of
Mango should also be viewed as beta quality, so there are still consumer
features missing, but you can now start building apps and testing them against
retail devices. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Download the Windows Phone Developer Tools Beta
    2
    – You will need to update your developer tools to update your phone
    and to deploy your apps, so run…get them now.
  • Read the instructions before updating – These are very important
    steps which you need to follow to the letter. We’re committed to supporting our
    developer community with such an early access program, so if you have questions,
    start with the forums, which we are monitoring.

This is especially well timed for the tens of thousands of student developers
who have registered through DreamSpark or related programs. Just as our Spring
Cleaning program encouraged developers to finish up their projects over the past
few months, delivering thousands of new apps, summer break is the perfect time
for student developers to relax and have some fun with Mango. With the free
Windows Phone Developer Tools Beta 2 and free access to Mango, now is the
perfect time to see what you can do with Windows Phone. To make it even more
interesting for students looking for a great summer project, we’ve set aside 50
Mango phones for those students who are building the next big thing on Windows
Phone. Want one? Here’s what to do:

  1. Make sure you’re registered for DreamSpark
  2. Download and install Expression Studio Ultimate and the new Mango Windows
    Phone Developer Tools (available free as a member of DreamSpark)
  3. Get the free Sketchflow Template for Windows Phone and create a
    Sketchflow mock-up of your app
  4. Post the Sketchflow mock-up somewhere online and tweet out
    the link using the hash tag #WPAppItUp
  5. We will review all prototypes and will contact the developers who submit the
    best ones and send them a special Mango developer device

There’s lots to like in Beta2 of the developer tools, and some new goodies as
well. You can find the release notes here, but I also wanted to talk about
the new Advertising SDK June 2011 Update that was released
for Windows Phone 7 earlier this week. The June update makes it even easier for
developers to earn money and build ad-enabled mobile apps with streamlined Ad
Control APIs and other new features.

Lastly, we got a lot of questions in email and on twitter
as to why reviewers got Mango first. In short, it was to allow us to get you
Mango today. Bringing a product to market requires a healthy balance between
marketing features and empowering the ecosystem. Striking that balance is all
about sequence. Microsoft believes in developers like no other company, but not
even we want developer tear downs serving as the foundation for how consumers
ultimately understand Mango. To get Mango to you today, we had to first set some
context so that the market would have a good understanding of the product and
not define us only by those features that developers uncovered. Think of it this
way: if you could choose which path to go down, would you rather have a tightly
selected group of influential people write your first reviews of your amazing
app, or leave it to the customers with the fastest fingers?

So what now? First, go get the tools. Second, update your retail phones to
Mango. Third, go rub it in your friends’ faces that you have Mango and they
don’t. Fourth, start building your Mango apps using some of the cool new
functionality like fast app resume, updated Live Tiles, Motion Sensor, Live
Agents, sockets, background audio or raw camera access. There will be a tools
update in the coming months which will have the go-live license you need to
publish Mango apps to the Marketplace, but don’t wait. With the tools and the
ability to test on Mango enabled phones, you should all be in really good shape
when Mango is released later this year.

For the early access program, here are the countries which are explicitly
supported – meaning that should your device become unusable as a result of
updating, we will be able to process it for fixing once the full distribution
infrastructure is fully operational in the next couple of weeks:

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France,
Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands,
New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United
States

About TechPreacher

Technical Evangelist working for Microsoft Switzerland. Focusing on the Internet of Things and Windows development. EV geek and passionate gamer, with a life.
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