Windows Phone 7 is only a matter of weeks away, and Microsoft signified this by releasing the final version of the Windows Phone 7 Developer toolkit today.
This final version will let developers bring their applications up to speed for release in the Windows Phone Marketplace which will open in early October, and it also includes the Mobile Advertising SDK for app monetization, and the Bing Maps Control SDK for integrating Microsoft's mobile mapping data, as well as 'Metro' UI design control elements called Panorama (which stretches information out beyond the screen edges) and Pivot (which lets users arrange visual data in different ways.)
The toolkit comes with an updated emulator based on the RTM Windows Phone code, so apps can be tested in an environment more or less identical to what the first Windows Phone 7 devices will have.
Speaking of apps, Microsoft has announced some of its app partners that will be launching on Windows Phone 7, including Netflix, Twitter, Flixster, Travelocity, and OpenTable.
Possibly the most interesting app isn't an app at all, but the way Windows Phone 7 integrates YouTube videos into the Zune interface.
At an event on Wednesday evening, Brandon Watson, director of Windows Phone spoke about the YouTube experience on Windows Phone 7.
He then showed how YouTube videos can, in fact be viewed. He then navigated into the Zune video hub, and the video he had just opened in the browser was available directly in the phone's UI.
"It's YouTube, but I don't have to remember what app I was in, because it's integrated into the phone. I can go into my Zune experience, and click 'Play' on a video despite the fact that it was in a website."