"The Windows Phone SDK 8.0 is a full-featured development environment to use for building apps and games for Windows Phone 8.0 and Windows Phone 7.5. The Windows Phone SDK provides a stand-alone Visual Studio Express 2012 edition for Windows Phone or works as an add-in to Visual Studio 2012 Professional, Premium or Ultimate editions. With the SDK, you can use your existing programming skills and code to build managed or native code apps. In addition, the SDK includes multiple emulators and additional tools for profiling and testing your Windows Phone app under real-world conditions."
Obviously you need Windows 8, too.
To verify, I downloaded the installer and tried to run it on a Windows 7 machine. I got an error message stating Windows 8 was required to run it. I am definitely surprised that they decided to go this way; there's no way in hell I'm going to upgrade my windev machine to Windows 8 just to develop phone apps. I assume there are many other developers who feel the same way.
Don't get me wrong; I develop primarily for iOS and some Android, and don't even think about installing Windows, much less developing for it. But consider this:
If you want to develop for iOS, you need a Mac (which still sits at only 14% in US, less in the rest of the world; so chances are you need to buy at least a $600 machine), you need the developer subscription at $99, you need at least last year's operating system (Apple drops support for older versions rather quickly), and at least one device to test on. It also uses Objective-C, which you haven't used before unless you developed for Apple hardware.
If you want to develop for Android, everything looks free at first sight, but you'll also need a developer subscription and if you're serious about supporting your app, you'll need at least several different devices (this easily trumps the price of a Mac), because Android emulators are horrible.
There are more examples like this; recently Sony announced PSVita SDK, but for some inexplicable reason it uses Mono/C#, isn't compatible with Visual Studio, etc. It's even worse with traditional console SDKs.
The point is, although it's great to be able to choose the tools/platforms you use and have it all for free (web development anyone?), those companies want you tied into their ecosystem, and besides it's just not worth it going out of their way to please a minority of developers complaining about a number of random reasons.
You choose whether to develop for a platform or not of course, but if I were Microsoft and your main gripe was having to upgrade to Win8, I'd just not care.
All of the people that bought Windows Phone 7 devices (even if it was last month) won't be able to run any of the apps complied for Windows Phone 8 because it's core is based on Windows 8.
How do you expect your dedicated user-base that for years has been complaining about slow hardware and a lack of apps while the iPhone, GS3, etc has been blowing up to react? All of the current Windows Phone users are not going to buy a new phone to make their current phone, that they purchased six months ago work. They're going to pickup and iPhone 5 or a Galaxy Note. They have a core base of users that are passionate about Windows Phone, many of those I know are leaving.
Having spoke to startups that have apps on Windows Phone, most of them have been paid by Microsoft to hire a developer to build it and aren't going to be updating it. Unless Windows Phone got a huge lift in traction but the chicken and egg problem is stopping them and all of these old apps have to be rebuilt for Windows Phone 8.
"With the new code generation approach in Windows Phone 8, apps are compiled in the Windows Phone Store with AC power generated from the Columbia River in Washington. That’s a better battery to use than yours! As you can see, we’ve removed an entire category of battery use on end-user devices."
This feature on the other hand, means that you already get a native compiled executable, compiled with much better optimization algorithms than what NGEN offers.
Of course, that would require actual inter-department consistency at Microsoft. And we all know how impossible that is.
From the registration page.
This works even if you are not a current student as long as you have a valid e-mail address from your college/university.
Now, the market lets people from my country, Bolivia, create applications but do I still need a credit card to pay? Can I use a direct wire transfer or moneygram?
When I think of Windows I feel overwhelmed with all these terms that mean nothing to me, like WinRT, C++/CX, and seemingly infinite ways of accomplishing the same thing in different and incompatible ways.
Visual Studio Express is free and has all the MSDN knowledge baked in, as well. There's a start in getting to know the features and specifics of each language as well as the Runtime as a whole.
It's hard to argue with the assertion that MS has failed to be a thought and technology leader for a long --long-- time. And so, when they roll out Windows Vista, 7 and then 8 and then Metro and Windows Phone 8 and they keep, well, fucking it up...
I am not in love with Apple. Not by a long-shot. They are user-friendly and developer-hostile. And they make dumbshit moves of monumental proportions too (Maps, anyone?). Still, for a new or even an existing venture, I can't see considering doing mobile development much outside the iOS ecosystem.
In other words, in order to gain real traction and find a market it is a no-brainer that you should develop the app/service/product for iOS. Somewhere in the adoption curve it might make sense to deploy to Android and a far, far distant third might be WP8.
What would MS have to do to change that sentiment? I don't know.
On the tech front I really do like the idea of my phone, tablet and desktop playing nice with each other. Or having mountable file system access to my phone and tablet. But that's a geek thing. Grandma doesn't give a shit. She doesn't even know. So, I'll count myself out as a "typical customer" --whatever the hell that might be.
Market penetration might be the key here. Nobody, outside of tech circles --and barely at that-- is talking about WP8 or MS tablets. The Surface commercials I saw are retarded, to say the least. To take a stab at my "what can they do?" question, I'd say: They have to fire their entire marketing department and bring fresh thinking into the organization. The technology is probably good-to-excellent.
EDIT: An example of the brain-dead marketing is the commercial that spends tons of time highlighting the desktop stand flap on Surface. Really? You (MS) really think that you are going to get me to buy Surface over iPad because of a frigging plastic flap? Fire them all! They are a bunch of morons.
They've enjoyed market supremacy for so long that they've never really had to be good at marketing. It's the old "You don't get fired for buying IBM" saying from the mainframe days. MS has always sucked at marketing. Apple has always owned them on that front. Now Apple makes a dumbshit move (Maps, anyone) or two and neither MS nor Google have any semblance of a fine-tuned marketing drive to take advantage of it.
So, when faced with such marketing incompetence I, as a developer, look at the situation and conclude that I have to stay with the company that is better at selling. If you are good at selling you can sell pet rocks. If you suck at it you are selling polished gravel. The quality of the rocks doesn't matter.
It's not a chicken-and-egg situation. It is a very clear market dominance and financial-risk situation. I have zero interest in taking the financial risk to participate in an offering that is marketed, sold an supported in a half-assed fashion.
So, yeah, great Developer Platform. I'm a business man. Show me the market opportunity and I'll carve code into stone tablets in hex if it is worth my while. Anything else is just bullshit.
The commercial in question has a bunch of college-age folks dancing around a table while flipping the stand open and closed. I can't, for the life of me, imagine any consumer understanding what they are being sold. If the MS name or logo wasn't in the ad one could very well think that it is a cool iPad case.
I happen to think that it is completely ineffective. I've done lots of marketing for my own products, both hardware and software. Rattling off (or showing off) features is a loosing proposition. Techies might get off on that at some level, but Grandma does not.
What does Grandma or Uncle Fester want to know?
Can I surf the Internet with it?
Can I take pictures?
Can I look at my pictures?
Can I email?
Can I watch movies?
Can I connect it to my PC?
Can I connect it to my TV?
Will it break if it falls?
How long does the battery last?
Does it run standard PC software?
How much does it cost?
Can I expand it?
Can I connect a standard keyboard to it?
Can I connect a standard mouse to it?
Can I connect my photo or video camera to it?
Can I print from it?
Can I have multiple user accounts?
Can I make it safe for my kids?
Can I secure my personal data?
How do I back it up?
Can I share my apps with other devices/computers I own?
Does it become a hot-spot?
What built-in apps does it have?
How good are the maps?
Can my kid use it for school work?
Will it blend?
It's almost like the brilliant scene from "My Cousin Vinny":
If you actually pay attention to Apple adverts, and then look at Apple's wild success- well, looking at the two together, I can only surmise Grandma and Uncle Fester want to know how (Apple thinks) the product will make you feel. Any nod to features is merely coincidental.
Really, I notice time and time again- us geeks seem to be completely out of touch with what makes for the most effective marketing to everybody else.
I think that the key here is to communicate the RIGHT features and benefits. That's why I am so down on the Surface ad I saw. I truly thought it was moronic. What the hell were they communicating? I asked my non-tech (Doctor) wife if she wanted one and the answer was: "it's just an iPad with that stand thing".
Which makes my case. All MS managed to communicate to my wife was that they have an iPad with a built-in stand "thing" that she couldn't care less about.
I fear that if Microsoft does dominate a market again, it'll just get bored and let it rot (IE 6, Windows Mobile, etc).
The fee is $8 for the first year right now, but note they still charge you $99 and refund the difference in 30-45 days.
Only if MSFT got their sh!t together..
As a developer, or even as a startup, why should I give a shit about Windows Phone 8 platform? More work for a remarkably small market share. Unless all I'm looking for is to be a platform leader, but that's another story by itself.
You just made the argument for the web. I'm curious, why didn't you refocus there?
I have an interest in playing around with WinPho/Metro apps, and if dropping $8 now means I can push anything I create to the store, then this is pretty appealing.