Anticipation has been building for the new Windows Phone 7 Series ever since Microsoft unveiled it at the Mobile World Congress in February. Now, thanks to free developer tools, you can get a first-hand experience of the basic Windows Phone 7 Series devices on your PC.

Windows Phone 7 Series represents a huge change in the mobile field for Microsoft, bringing the acclaimed Zune HD UI to an innovative phone platform. Windows Mobile has often been criticized for being behind other Smartphone platforms, but Microsoft seeks to regain the lead with this new upcoming release. A platform must have developers behind it to be useful, so they have released a full set of free development tools so anyone can make apps for it today. Or, if you simply want to play with Windows Phone 7, you can use the included emulator to try out the new Metro UI. Here’s how to do this today on your Vista or 7 computer.

Please note: These tools are a Customer Technology Preview release, so only install them if you’re comfortable using pre-release software.

Getting Started

First, download the Windows Phone Developer Tools CTP, and run the installer. This will install the Customer Technology Preview (CTP) versions of Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone, Windows Phone Emulator, Silverlight for Windows Phone, and XNA 4.0 Game Studio on your computer, all of which are required and cannot be installed individually.

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