Microsoft showed off the latest and greatest innovations in the Windows Phone 8 space today with the Nokia Lumia 920 and 820. They showed off some early apps for Windows Phone 8 that look great, but now Microsoft needs your help to make it even better.
The Windows Phone team announced today that they will be opening applications to the Windows Phone 8 SDK Preview on September 12. Unfortunately, Microsoft won't be accepting just anyone into the program. They are only allowing Windows Phone developers with published apps into the program.
We're told that more details will be made available next Wednesday, but limiting the program might be a bad move. There's not a lot of developers on the Windows Phone platform and Microsoft needs to get more support behind it. Only opening the tools to people who are already familiar with Windows Phone development will give them an edge over those who are just starting when the tools are made public later this year.
Of course, Microsoft is channeling Apple in how they run the Windows Phone marketplace. It's not an open marketplace where anyone can sell their wares like on Android. Microsoft wants to make sure there's a consistent quality experience across the Windows Phone marketplace. It makes total sense, and it is their platform, but it flies in the face of the openness that the Windows platform represents.
It appears that most of the developers in the comments of the announcement are also not too happy with Microsoft giving limited access to the SDK. A lot of them are already questioning why they should even develop apps for the platform if Microsoft doesn't want to give them dev tools before the platform launches later this year. One comment in particular sums up the current sentiment perfectly:
I just spent A LOT of money I didn't really have to spend on a new machine for Windows Phone 8 development (specifically for the virtual machine requirements). I have been waiting to start on a project that I have gone as far as I can with 7.5. It will not run on 7.5 because of hardware and software requirements. I need to use the Windows Phone 8 emulator.
PLEASE release this to all registered developers! I have not published anything yet, but I have decided to devote all of my time to Windows development. I have been an IBM mainframe assembler developer for many years. It takes time to transition to Windows coding. I've done that. I'm confident I can add value to the Windows environment. The application I am writing ties together PC, phone and tablet (not XBOX - doesn't fit for this one).
Waiting months longer is frustrating and will cost me money. Again, PLEASE release this for all registered developers.
Will Microsoft distribute the SDK Preview earlier than planned to accomodate new developers? I wouldn't count on it. You're just going to have build your app in the Windows Phone 7 SDK and port it to Windows 8.