Microsoft starts rolling out free Windows Phone 7 development tools

Got an idea in the back of your noggin that could be perfect for Windows Phone 7? (Pro tip: tip calculators and flash light apps are probably already covered.) It’s time to get to building.

Today at 11 am, Microsoft will be releasing a bunch of free tools for Windows Phone developers to start chipping away at.

Here’s whats coming:

  • Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone
  • Windows Phone 7 Series Add-in for Visual Studio, for developers already working with Visual Studio 2010
  • Windows Phone 7 Series emulator
  • XNA Game Studio 4.0

Some people were worried that the Silverlight/.NET programming environment of Windows Phone 7 might not grant developers much access to the hardware; fortunately, most of those worries have been taken out back and shot. Microsoft today confirmed that developers will have access to the camera, multi-touch, hardware accelerated video playback, Microsoft’s push service (allowing apps to send notifications to the screen when not running), location, and the accelerometer, amongst other things.

Once Microsoft pushes everything live in a few hours, you should be able to find it here.

So what do you think? Going to jump into the WP7 development game? Is this the next goldrush? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. Best comment gets an invisible cookie.