If Microsoft has to make up for the “generation we missed with Windows Mobile,” it will have to ensure that Windows Phone 7 proves too hard to ignore for developers, vendors and carriers. The company has been working on acquainting developers with its upcoming smartphone platform since March, when it unveiled the Windows Phone Developer Tools package as a community technology preview (CTP). The developer tools package now sports the beta tag.
The beta tag means that the package includes an almost finished version of everything needed for app and game development, including Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone, Windows Phone Emulator, Silverlight for Windows Phone and XNA Game Studio 4.0 Beta. MS has also begun shipping pre-production preview devices to developers just as it promised, with the first devices "awarded last week to a pair of pretty amazing high-school students who won the Windows Phone “Rockstar” contest as part of the Imagine Cup.”
Microsoft has issued a challenge for developers and newbie developers worldwide to use Microsoft's XNA Game Studio 2.0 to build their game for the Xbox 360. This year they are accepting teams from 1 to 7 people to compete. First prize is $40,000, second is $20,000, third $10,000, and fourth is $5,000.
The deadline is September 23, 2008, after which the judges will be choosing the best entries on 3 main criteria: Fun Factor (40%), Innovation (30%), and Production Quality (30%).