Windows Phone 7 can now officially be programmed using Visual Basic and a new unlocker makes it possible to distribute apps without involving Microsoft. Finally Silverlight, the development framework for WP7, could be about to spread to Xbox and more.
Most mobile platforms have just one official language you can develop apps in - the iPhone has Objective C and Android has Java. Now Windows Phone 7 (WP7) has two - C# and VB .NET. Although it has to be admitted that there isn't much difference between the two and VB programmers are restricted to creating Silverlight based applications. Even so it would be churlish not to recognise and welcome the fact that now Visual Basic developers can join in and create applications for WP7.
Back in September Microsoft released a CTP version of the SDK allowing VB programmers to create apps but not to sell them. Now you can download the final version and put the finishing touches to anything you have been developing before submitting it to the Marketplace.
Language support has also been extended to include English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. There are also some code samples on MSDN. However XNA development still isn't supported and it only works with the full version of Visual Studio 2010.
There is also news of an unlocker for WP7, ChevronWP7. This allows third party apps to be installed without having to go through the Marketplace. The creators claim that it isn't aimed at piracy but to allow programmers to create experimental apps that make use of internal or otherwise private resources which wouldn't be suitable for a public application store. Many an enterprise app would fit into this description. Both Microsoft and Apple make it difficult to distribute an application other than via their own app stores. Google Android, Blackbery, Nokia and Palm are all comparatively open in this respect.
Finally there is a very strong rumour based on Microsoft's hiring that Silverlight is going to make the transition to the Xbox 360 and a range of other platforms. If so this is good news and welcome reassurance for all those developers who feared that Silverlight was going to be sidelined for HTML5.
Download WP7 Developer Tools
Code Samples for Windows Phone
Getting started with Windows Phone 7
Windows Phone 7 - Snakes on a Phone Part 1
Windows Phone 7 - using the Pivot control
Windows Phone 7 - using the Panorama control
Windows Phone 7 - the Bing Maps Control
Windows Phone 7 Go Faster resources
Free Windows Phone 7 video training from Microsoft
Mobile platforms of the world!
Windows 7 Phone - developer tools in beta