I know you love challenges, so here’s a pretty sweet one.

Develop and publish two quality apps for Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango” and get a free Windows Phone device along with a chance to be featured on the MSDN newsletter and the MSDN website.

Nope, you didn’t misread or misunderstand any of that. What you just read, literally translates to:

  • Develop a couple of apps that you can cash-in on either through app sales or advertising
  • Get a free Windows Phone 7.5 device
  • Get bragging rights after potentially getting featured on the Microsoft Developer Network.

And as an added bonus, the tools and the marketplace registration are free of charge to you through DreamSpark.

So let’s recap that just one more time. Get the development tools for free. Get on the marketplace for free. Claim your free device. Get a chance to be featured on the Microsoft Developer Network. And last but not least, make money with your published apps.

I told you it’s a sweet one! Now let’s get started.

First, head over to DreamSpark to get the Professional Edition of Visual Studio 2010. Sure you can use the free Express Edition of Visual Studio, but why settle for a lighter edition, when you can have the professional at no charge? Simply associate your Live ID with your school email and you’ll have access to not just Visual Studio Pro but all of the software available through DreamSpark. The marketplace registration fee will also be waived through your DreamSpark account.

Next, head over to the AppHub and grab the latest version of the Windows Phone SDK. With the Windows Phone SDK 7.1, you have all the tools you need to develop apps and games for the Windows Phone platform. While on the AppHub, you might want to setup your marketplace account.

Be sure to take advantage of AppHub’s rich education catalog to help you get going with your own apps. The education content includes everything from simple code snippets to complete games, so be sure to reuse as much code as possible.

As you develop your two (or more) apps, keep the quality checklist in mind. Your app should be well designed, usable, stable, engaging and social. You can check out some existing marketplace apps for inspiration on the Windows Phone Marketplace. Or check out a select bunch here. You should also bookmark this list of resources.

When your apps are ready and published, don’t forget to submit them here. If you have any questions, be sure to get in touch with us here or here.

Oh and one more thing. When you finally get your Mango device, be sure to celebrate by making a Mango smoothie.