Windows Phone Tools Development Cost Just Dropped to Zero: Free Visual Studio & Blend Express Editions Released

One of my criticisms of Windows Mobile and the upcoming Windows Phone 7 was that the tool barrier of entry was too high. Developers needed a full relatively expensive copy of Microsoft Visual Studio to effectively develop a Windows Mobile app. Based on this announcement by Microsoft Corporate Vice President Scott Guthrie, I have to retract that criticism.
Windows Phone 7 Developer Tools Beta Released
The new Windows Phone Developers Tools includes:
– Free Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone
– Free Express Blend for Windows Phone
This reduces the barrier of entry on the toolkit side to zero. This brings Microsoft’s platform development kit on par with Apple (free X-Code) and Google (Android Java code can be developed using Eclipse or other free IDEs).
Now the question is: Is this lowered barrier enough to interest potential Windows Phone app developers?