Windows Phone 8 launches on October 29th. This time it really is a cliff hanger. What has Microsoft been holding back to increase the excitement and justify not releasing the SDK? Is there anyone still paying attention or has every reasonable developer left the Microsoft IDE and switched out the lights?
Microsoft usually isn't slow to issue SDKs to programmers who show the faintest amount of interest. Even weekend and hobbyist programmers are usually encouraged to download the latest SDK well before the product is released for real. The reason is obvious - get developers interested and enthused and you have a wave of support that pushes you forward. Of course, it also makes your product launches very boring as, not only has the new stuff been seen before, it has been extensively worked over by a bunch of truly knowledgeable people who now know it inside out.
Not so with Windows Phone 8.
In this case the SDK has been kept secret. Only a small number of privileged developers have been allowed to have a copy. Most of the potential WP8 developer community has been left out in the cold.
This is a crazy move and makes no sense no matter how Microsoft tries to spin it.
The apparent reason, or at least the reason given, is that WP8 contains really exciting features that will be revealed at the launch and a bunch of anarchic developers would simply go and spoil the tension by telling the world about it.
This is plain silly. It is the silliest thing anyone has said for some years and should be receiving some sort of award for the most ridiculous excuse for not issuing software ever used.
Boring launches have never worried Microsoft before, as long as the product is getting lots of attention, and in developers having early access to the SDK has been a major factor in spreading the news and the excitement to the world - not to mention the vested interests in pushing their own apps to potential users.
To keep the SDK secret just to ramp up the tension is not only silly, it has been counterproductive.
Not only have developers given up working on WP8 apps, they have mostly given up on WP7 apps. Microsoft has promised that WP7 apps will run on WP8, but without giving any proof. Of course, the SDK might have revealed how all this might work. What is worse is, even though WP7 apps will run on WP8, you can't take them forward to new WP8 versions. You have to move to the new development model for future apps and new versions.
This is fine - but what exactly is this new development model?
We have no idea because the SDK is secret!
So would you bet your future on WP8 without knowing anything at all about it?
It doesn't seem like a good deal.
But never mind - only a short time to go now to the launch.
Microsoft says that it has something new to announce as well as WP8, but aren't being given any clues at to what it is. Could this be the big reason that the SDK was kept secret? Can you think of any feature that would be included in the SDK that would make the end user go "wow - I just got to have a WP8"? No? Nor can I.
A final big question is - do we get the SDK now?
You might be assuming that the answer is an obvious yes, but the launch of WP8 isn't necessarily the launch of the SDK. By all the laws of common sense it should be, but if the reason for holding it back is to do with it not being ready for release then a different set of rules might apply.
Still not long to wait - assuming anyone is still waiting...