It’s a very exciting time for developers!  Last week, we launched Windows 8 and Surface. On Monday, we launched Windows Phone 8 and introduced some awesome new smartphone devices. Today, we’re kicking off the Build conference, where we’ll join with thousands of developers in person, and with hundreds of thousands virtually, to explore the opportunities available with Microsoft platforms and tools.  And now, in conjunction with yesterday’s Windows Phone 8 news and with our goal of having tools available on the same cadence as the platforms, I’m very excited to share that the Windows Phone SDK 8.0, including Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Phone, is now available for download.

With Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, and Windows Azure, developers using Visual Studio 2012 can build experiences that span the Windows ecosystem, from desktops to laptops to tablets to smartphones to the cloud.  And with that in mind, today’s release of the Windows Phone SDK 8.0 enables some exciting new capabilities for developers, such as using C++ and DirectX to build stunning experiences, enabling in-app purchases to sell virtual and digital good within apps, helping developers to streamline their efforts with the advances we’ve made in Visual Studio 2012 and .NET, and more.

The Windows Phone SDK 8.0 works with the Visual Studio 2012 and enables you to get started today building great apps for both Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 7.x.  It includes emulators for both environments, including the ability to validate for multiple chassis, and support for simulating various network conditions (e.g. ‘2G’, ‘3G’).  It includes new templates for developing Windows Phone apps, such as for building apps with Direct3D, and it sports enhanced diagnostics for analyzing apps, such as power and network profiling and responsiveness monitoring.  It enables building native apps as well as building managed apps that consume native libraries.  It enables much easier portability between Windows 8 apps and Windows Phone 8 apps.  It includes .NET portable library support, so you can write your libraries once and reuse them across all your apps. The list goes on.

As an avid user of Windows Phone, I’m looking forward to downloading and using the stellar apps you all create.

For a more in-depth tour through what’s new for developers in the Windows Phone SDK 8.0, see the Visual Studio team, .NET team, and Blend team blogs.

Namaste!

Follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/ssomasegar.