TEN YEARS AGO, who would have thought that with the power of web and desktop applications, you would eventually be able to duplicate much of that power on something as small as a cellphone? There was a time not that long ago when the cellphone's primary purpose was to just make a phone call. In fact, just the capability to make a phone call anywhere was impressive. Things have changed. Now, with no less than three major smartphone platforms, cellphone users can do just about anything on a phone that previously required a PC. You can shop, do tax calculations, play games, browse the web, read the news, and so on. Of course, this means that as a developer, you officially have a new platform to consider when writing your own applications. Fortunately, the new Windows Phone 7 platform provides developers with one of the most robust, easy-to-use programming environments currently available for mobile application development.

When the first wave of smartphones hit the market, many required special development kits that were available only at a high cost through the specific phone manufacturers. The Windows Mobile platform, of course, was always different in that aspect. With the Windows Mobile platform, developers could write mobile applications using existing .NET technologies, and have a familiar development environment in Visual Studio. The previous incarnations of Windows Mobile development were not, however, without their shortcomings. In many cases, because the hardware ...

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