What’s up with device development in VS 2010?

I recently got a worried question from a customer who read the VS 2010 Beta documentation, and found the following:

Support for smart device development has been removed from Visual Studio 2010.

Wow. Does this mean Microsoft is dropping support for mobile & embedded development? (There are of course speculations & conspiracy theories growing out there in the media already…) Does it mean we plan to treat device developers as second-class citizens in future versions of our tools? 

No. Au contraire.

First of all, there is VS 2008 today, with excellent support for device (application) development up to Windows Embedded CE 6.0 R2 and Windows Mobile 6.1. This will continue to be supported for a couple of years, and will be usable side-by-side with VS 2010. We will release new tools supporting Windows Mobile 6.5 development in VS 2008 pretty soon, so no worries here. (And btw., we are treating Windows CE developers like second-class citizens in a sense today since the CE 6.0 Platform Builder requires VS 2005 …)

Then, what you should realize is that this is a Beta version. As is stated at the top of the page cited above:

[This documentation is for preview only, and is subject to change in later releases. …]

So this is not the final word. (Although the documentation could go into a little more detail about the roadmap for this feature, I admit that.)

Furthermore, we are working on next versions of our embedded & mobile platforms CE 6.0 and WM 6.5 already (surprise, surprise!), and we will of course provide the appropriate tooling for VS 2010 for these products once they become available, so that they become first-class platforms for the developer. We can’t announce anything specific at this point, so please don’t worry, continue to build great device software with VS 2008, and stay tuned for official updates on this story.

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