Microsoft Releases Mango Dev Kit 7.1 Release Candidate
Microsoft cued Windows Phone 7.5 (code-named "Mango") developers today that a release candidate (RC) version of the latest software development kit (SDK) is available for download.
SDK 7.1 RC for Mango can be downloaded here. The kit supports a "Go Live" license that allows developers to publish their applications to Microsoft's App Hub marketplace. Having that publishing capability appears to be the main advantage of using the new SDK. Microsoft had previously told game developers in particular to wait until August to upload their apps.
Developers who used the earlier version of the SDK may have to recompile and test their apps before publishing them to the marketplace via SDK 7.1 RC, according to a Microsoft blog post.
This new RC version of the kit will support the previous build 7712 of Windows Phone 7.5, according to the blog. That build is described by Microsoft as a "beta 2 refresh" version of the mobile OS, which Microsoft released in late July. However, SDK 7.1 RC uses an emulator that supports the release-to-manufacturing (RTM) build of Mango, which is build 7720.
If all of that is confusing to think about -- that is, getting an SDK 7.1 RC that uses the RTM build -- Microsoft has issued the ultimate caveat to developers.
"It's important to remember that until the phone and mobile operator portion of Mango is complete, you're still using a pre-release on your retail phone -- no matter the MS build," explained Cliff Simpkins in a Microsoft blog post.
That comment appears to mean that developers need to know what multiple hardware partners and multiple mobile service providers have done to Mango during their testing in order for developers to complete their apps. It's not clear how developers get access to such information beforehand.
For consumers, the pace of Mango's release will be determined by Microsoft's hardware and mobile operator partners. It can take a month or so from the time Mango is released until the download is available on consumer devices from mobile operators. Rollouts to consumers might be seen next month, although a Toshiba device running Mango was shown last month in Japan.
Windows Phone 7 consumers are promised a number of advances with the Mango release, which will be a free upgrade. When it is released to the general public, Mango will add features such as multitasking, Twitter integration and the use of IE9 Mobile, which incorporates the same browser engine that's used on PCs. It will also add multimedia storage and file sharing via Microsoft's SkyDrive service, among other benefits.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.