So that didn’t take long. Microsoft has made a Windows Phone 7 emulator available to all, explaining that it is a virtual machine running the real device OS. While it works fine for debugging applications, most of the phone UI is mysteriously absent, the exception being Internet Explorer (needed for testing web applications). However, Dan Ardelean has done some nifty work with the emulator image, discovering that a lot more of the UI is present and can be exposed if you make a few modifications. He posted his modified ROM but has since removed it because of copyright concerns. I doubt it will be hard to find.
Applications available in the hacked emulator include Mobile Office with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Sharepoint Workspace (undermining Microsoft’s claim that this is only a consumer device), games including a version of Times Reader – full circle for this one, which started out in WPF, moved to Silverlight for Mac, deserted and went to Adobe Flash, and may now reappear in Silverlight – and music/video via a Zune section.
My tip to Microsoft: if you don’t want these things to leak, best not put them in the publicly-available image.
Ardelean has also figured out how to amend the native C# port of SQLite, satisfying demand for a local SQL database engine. SQL Server Compact Edition is actually present in Windows Phone 7, but not available to custom applications.