At the Microsoft Worldwide Partners Conference 2010 yesterday, the Windows Phone 7 team took the opportunity to announce the beta release of its developer tools, another significant milestone for the platform as it inches closer to consumer availability.
As expected, this release includes an updated version of the emulator image (build 6414) for developers to debug with. Naturally, it took devoted xdadevelopers members no more than a couple hours to unlock some of its hidden glory. I recorded this thorough screencast video to save you the hassle.
Right off the bat you’ll notice performance and responsiveness has been improved several folds. Although some of that might be attributed to improvements in hardware acceleration for the emulator itself, I’m sure for the most part this is also the result of the optimizations the team has been doing in the recent months.
Diving into the every application and setting reveals the team has applied a very generous layer of polish throughout the OS, removing all traces of previously incomplete or inconsistent UI elements. For everything that do work, which excludes the social integration, email, games, Zune and Marketplace, it looks and works great. (Maps broke in the demo, but works great otherwise)
Finally, perhaps as a testament to just how close this release to manufacturing this code might be, some ringtones and alert sounds are in! Whilst I assume there will be more coming, the sound is quite unique and almost soothingly calm in a nice way. “Two Step” would be my favourite so far.