One day after the launch of its next generation mobile operating system, Windows Phone 8, Microsoft has released the SDK (software development kit) that will allow programmers to write applications for the new platform.
Microsoft released the software for the kick off of its developer focused Build conference, being held this week in Redmond, Washington.
In Tuesday's keynote address at Build, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer admitted that, thus far, Windows Phone has not sold in significant numbers. He said he expects this to change with the recent releases of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.
"I think most folks in the room know that Windows phone is a small volume player," he told the audience of developers. "But we have the most differentiated approach to the market. We have absolutely killer hardware and there will be hundreds of millions of Windows users who will want a Windows phone," he said.
"With the launch of Windows Phone 8, the phone enters in full fruition as a first class member of the Windows family," Ballmer said. Nokia, Samsung and HTC are all in the process of releasing Windows Phone 8 handsets.
Windows Phone SDK 8.0 provides a stand-alone IDE (integrated development environment), using the Visual Studio Express 2012 edition, for developers to build windows Phone 8 applications. It also provides an add-in to the Visual Studio 2012 Professional, Premium or Ultimate editions.
The SDK also includes a number of different emulators for testing a program against a specific smartphone. Other testing and profiling tools have been provided as well.
Microsoft received a fair amount of criticism for not releasing the SDK sooner, so that developers could have built more applications prior to the official launch of Windows Phone 8. The new OS offers many unique features -- such as live tiles, selective sharing and near-field payment communications -- that developers will need to become acquainted with in order to make their apps as appealing as possible.
Microsoft did release a preview version of the SDK to select users in September.
In conjunction with the Build conference, Nokia has also launched two programs to help programmers get up to speed on the new platform. One, called the Nokia Ad Exchange, provides an easy way for developers to build advertising into their applications. The second, called the Nokia Premium Developer Program, provides a set of controls and support for developers.