Microsoft 'Refreshes' Dev Tools for Windows Phone 'Mango'

Microsoft announced earlier this week that it has released to manufacturing (RTM) the first major update of Windows Phone, code named "Mango," to mobile handset makers, and is preparing to make the update available to consumer purchasers of the first generation of those devices.

Now, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has issued an update to the beta developer tools it has created to enable developers to take advantage of new features and application programming interfaces coming in Mango for building updated applications.

"Starting this morning, you can download the Windows Phone SDK 7.1 'Beta 2 Refresh' from the ‘Mango’ Connect site," Cliff Simpkins, senior product manager in the Windows Phone developers experience group, said in a post to the Windows Phone Developer Blog, Wednesday.

However, the "beta refresh" does not work with the RTM version of Mango that was sent to mobile handset OEMs. Instead, it uses a pre-release version so Simpkins cautioned that apps built using the beta development tools will not be ready for distribution quite yet.

"What you have here is a build in the early part of our Release Candidate cycle -- the end result of which should be in your hands in the coming month," Simpkins added. "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."

Microsoft released Mango, the first major update to Windows Phone, to handset makers late Tuesday, so that OEMs can get to work doing any last minute testing and fixing any compatibility issues with the operating system prior to new Mango-based phones hitting the market this fall.

It remains to be seen whether the advent of Mango-based phones will help jump start sluggish sales of Windows Phones, however. Most observers agree that a smartphone platform cannot succeed in the marketplace without a large number of quality apps, something Windows Phone still lacks.

However, Microsoft's first round of developer tools for Windows Phone garnered more than a million and a half downloads by late March.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.