Today at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, the Windows Phone Developer Tools Beta release was announced and made available for download.
The release notes are available here. A couple of things to point out:
- Expression Blend for Windows Phone is now part of the install
- It's now possible to unlock a device (if you're fortunate enough to have one) and to deploy XAP files directly to it
- There are a number of breaking changes to the API but it's getting close to baked. You can see a full rundown here
Take a look at what's new here. The release notes also contain guidance for migrating from CTP to Beta.
For more details see the post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog. That post also contains details of how you can make a request for a device for development purposes. There are very limited quantities, certainly not enough to meet demand but if you want to be in with a shot, make sure to read the post.
Finally, it's worth mentioning there's a Twitter list with all the Microsoft Windows Phone 7 "champs" on it. That means all the people across the world committed to helping you succeed on the Windows Phone platform. The list list is at https://twitter.com/wp7dev/champs.