Brandon Watson has announced the release of the Windows Phone 7 Developer Tools beta. As Watson says, “It’s time to get serious about building the actual apps and games for Windows Phone 7 that consumers will be looking for starting this holiday season.”

The beta includes some cool goodies like Microsoft Expression Blend for Windows Phone; the near-complete Windows Phone 7 API; a XAP deployment tool; “Launcher” (no data return to the calling app) and “Chooser” (data return to the calling app) APIs for working with applications; and a utility to unlock a Windows Phone 7 device for development purposes.

In addition, Watson said that “pre-production preview devices” will start being shipped to select developers next Monday. In all, it’s an exciting time to be building software for Windows Phone 7. Go here to get the beta.