Microsoft has started letting developers build and release applications for Windows Phone 7 using Visual Basic, potentially opening the door to more applications on the new smartphone platform.
The release is limited for now. Developers must use Visual Studio 2010 Professional or higher. Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone is not supported.
In addition, developers can only use Visual Basic for Silverlight WP7 apps. That means that Visual Basic developers can't build WP7 apps in the XNA Framework, which is Microsoft's gaming runtime environment.
Phones running WP7 hit the market in early November. Users could choose from more than 1,500 applications initially. The store has grown to more than 2,700 apps now, according to a website that lists and tallies the apps
Opening WP7 app development to Visual Basic developers could help Microsoft quickly grow the number of apps available in its Marketplace since there is a broad base of Visual Basic developers.