Microsoft strives to maintain a good relationship with developers on the platform. Free tools, promotion, work camps, sessions, events, communities, support and now free handsets to get them started. We recently published a photo of these handsets being prepped for shipping and delivery. Fast forward a few days later and we have reports of developers receiving said Windows Phones. What's the mysterious device? A HTC Surround, which is surely to please many with the level of support they're receiving from Microsoft.

Gary Holden, a technology enthusiast and developer, has received his Surround and has been informed by the software giant that this handset makes up for the majority of ones being shipped to developers. We, of course, are already aware that this Windows Phone has been discontinued at more than one carrier.

Update: We've just received word from Microsoft that developers will be receiving newer handsets as well, now that Mango devices are hitting the shelves. Nokia Windows Phones will also be given out to developers. In the months up to new handsets being released, Microsoft continued support for developers by providing first generation handsets. The image posted on Friday was actually a batch of Samsung Focus S and Flash devices.

Source: Gary Holden