If you haven’t seen TouchDevelop, a development system that runs on your Windows Phone 7.  TouchDevelop allows you to build software that runs on your Windows Phone 7 and share your software with others. 

Check out the Web Project page over at: http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/projects/touchdevelop/, make sure come back.

What is the impact of this product?

This is big.  For students they now have the equivalent of a programmable calculator on their phone (note that I didn’t say graphing calculator).  For professionals, this mean that in the future you might be able to create powershell script or similar for an enterprise. 

The biggest impact is that this will mean that the Phones are not just consumer devices but can create useful software, after all if you can create a Missile Defense game, then you can do just about anything.  Sure you could do some development on other slate or phone platforms (can’t you?) I think this is the first time that the end user can actually build useful products.

Will Microsoft continue to support this product?

Oh who knows.  Microsoft is suppose to be for-profit company and if there is no profit then the future of a product isn’t assured.  I am still angry about the dropping of Flight Simulator, so I am not the best person to ask this question.  This product is on the Research Site, so that means that someone has to own it going forward and so forth.

If you start a small company, and you have to make payroll, things that drive sales are useful.  I think that TouchDevelop will drive Windows Phone 7 sales, so I think it will last a few years.  Going forward, the WP7 family of software needs a programmable calculator that does graphing similar to the Mathematics Calculator available from http://Dreamspark.com for students.

If you like TouchDevelop and there is a lot to like, I would be willing to bet a lot of my career on the product and branch offs, but you have to build a community around it.

Bottom line: Popfly, think about it.