Brandon Watson, Microsoft's Director of Developer Experience hosted an online question and answer "backstage" event on the official Windows Phone 7 site yesterday.

The questions were mostly geared for developers, but even you non-programmer types will be able to make heads and tales of the conversation. We have to say, Brandon seems to be a stand up guy and he was more than honest in answering questions, not using typical PR language. Plus he was pretty darn entertaining (watch for his "joke" 46 mins in).

For those who want the gist, we've summed up the 60 minute talk below:

  • Final version of developer tools will be available "months" before final release of hardware. Plenty of time for developers to feel comfortable.
  • New builds of WP7 developer tools every month or two
  • Developers: Do expect access to WP7 phones! More info coming soon...
  • Hundreds of thousands of downloads of WP7 dev tools already
  • 2 million C# developers in the US  --> all potential WP7 developers
  • If you're a competent Silverlight developer, you should be able to build WP7 apps in just a few hours. (But read this -Mal)
  • 3rd party apps won't be able to use email attachments
  • No support for in-browser Silverlight at this time, didn't make the cut
  • Business experience was not "main concern" with this initial release; consumer UX was (Translation: business focus coming later -Mal)
  • Rejection of apps will feature a bullet list of things to fix to get it in, no vagaries (Clear shot at Apple's policies -Mal)
  • OEM applications can't multitask either
  • No restriction on programming tools as long it compiles down to their common language runtime (C# only, more languages later)
  • Socket support for WP7 will come later but is not in initial release. (Hint: those are need for Skype -Mal)
  • Markets of availability have not yet been announced (i.e. U.S. release vs. Europe)

Watch the whole thing here, it's good stuff. (Registration required)