Microsoft just made its Windows Phone 8 SDK public at the BUILD developer conference. The new SDK brings much expected (and awaited) features like native C++ code and overall compatibility with the Windows 8 SDK.
This new SDK is much (much!) better than the Windows Phone 7 SDK, which required all code to be written in C#. This was without a doubt a “no-go” for developers who had a huge C++ code base (or those who simply dislike C#) and I believe that it has hampered the Windows Phone 7 app ramp-up from the get go.Now that C++ is an option, and now that Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 mostly share the same API, this changes everything for Windows Phone developers. Even though the installed base is still small, those developers can monetize their apps on the desktop Windows as well. This is a huge incentive.
That’s particularly true for game developers. In many ways, these are the developers that will stand to win the most, especially if they come from a Windows/DirectX background because this is a return to one of the strongest development platform for games. There is a huge developer talent pool on Windows. Those who don’t want to build their own game engine can use Unity, Ogre and other middleware that were announced or demonstrated here at BUILD.
Finally, Nokia is giving away one Lumia 920 to every BUILD attendee so developers can start coding right away. The Windows SDK is available for download right now. Microsoft is lowering the developer registration fee to $8 for the next 8 days.