Microsoft offers developers early access to Windows Phone

Microsoft began this week an early access program for developers to get the upcoming “Mango” release of Windows Phone.

In introducing the program, Microsoft’s Brandon Watson, senior director for Windows Phone, stressed that the company’s desire to be transparent and its intentions to make partnerships easy.

“We know that one of the most impactful things we can do for developers is to help them get their hands on the actual product. For Mango, that starts today with an early access program for developers. We’re still working out some final kinks in the distribution and support infrastructure for delivering Mango to all of our registered developers around the world but are inviting the most eager developers to come get Mango today, for their retail devices, as part of our early access program,”he said. Mango also has been known as Windows Phone 7.5.

Registered developers will get invitations to the Microsoft Connect site, which will give them access to Mango. “This build of Mango should also be viewed as beta quality, so there are still consumer features missing, but you can now start building apps and testing them against retail devices,” Watson said, noting that developers must download the Windows Phone Developer Tools Beta 2 and read instructions before updating. Developers can register to be a Windows Phone developer by signing up at the the App Hub website.

Mango is set to feature updated versions of Office applications as well as the Internet Explorer 9 browser, to speed up browsing. A Skype application included with Mango will let users make Skype calls from their phones.

Microsoft first detailed Mango in April, saying it would arrive this fall with nearly 1,500 APIs and development tools improvements.

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