Windows Phone 8 SDK Preview Program Irks Developers

Microsoft has opened up its Windows Phone 8 SDK Preview program but only to a subset of established developers, leaving others out in the cold.

Microsoft has opened its Windows Phone 8 SDK Preview program and is now accepting applications from developers who wish to participate.

However, much to the consternation of many developers, Microsoft is limiting access to the SDK and is not publically releasing it because all the features have not been announced.

In a post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog, Microsoft's Todd Brix said:

"I know that many of you want to know why we simply don't publically release the full SDK now. The reason is that not all Windows Phone 8 features have been announced and our SDK includes comprehensive emulators that allow developers to test apps against a wide range of Windows Phone features. We recognize that this is a different approach to delivering tools than we've taken in the past. Our goal is to generate as much Windows Phone 8 excitement as possible to attract new customers when phones go on sale. This is one of many steps we're taking to help give you what you (and we) want most."

Brix added that "Windows Phone 8 remains on track to hit store shelves later this year and we very much want developers to create new apps for the platform, so please bear with us. There will be more SDK news in the coming weeks."

Microsoft is accepting developer requests for access to the SDK with the objective of enabling developers of Windows Phone's most-downloaded apps to start optimizing them for Windows, "and we expect the majority of published developers in this situation to qualify for access," Brix said.

To apply for access, developers must visit the Microsoft Connect site and complete a short application. Microsoft will be accepting applications until Sept. 17 at 5 p.m. PDT.

Meanwhile, developers wasted no time expressing their dismay for Microsoft's strategy, posting comments to the Brix post.

"There is no universe in which this makes sense," wrote a commenter identified as DrPizza.

Another commenter, identified as LostLogic, wrote:

"I find this strategy very strange. With today's technology as soon as the SDK is released to the limited amount of developers, one of them will end up posting it on a message board like XDA or a torrent tracker. The features of the emulators will be unveiled in quick succession following the leak.Wouldn't it be more prudent to announce all the wonderful features officially first, then release the SDK to the public, instead of this attempt at cloak & daggers?"

A commenter identified as Martin Anderson, said, "I understand that there are unannounced features that you want to keep hidden from people until you are ready to detail them. But it is a shame that this is holding devs back from testing the more basic features. In the past you have had locked down emulator images, could this not be done at least before the full announcements are made?"

And a commenter identified as HowieC42 said, "Not releasing the SDK to interested developers prevents apps being ready for the release of Windows Phone 8. With all the competition in the mobile phone arena, this makes little sense. Phone purchasers are swayed by both the number and quality of apps. A must have app can sell a lot of windows phones. You should be encouraging all developers, not just those with present apps."