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This tutorial will help you to get started with Windows Phone 7 programming.

Getting Started with Windows Phone 7 programming

Getting Started with Windows Phone 7 - Part 1 - Overview and System Requirements for Windows Phone 7

Mar 13 2012 12:00AM by Karthikeyan Anbarasan   


In this series of articles, we are going to see how to develop a Windows Phone 7 application from the scratch and deploy it into the market place. This article is the first part of the series. Here we are going to see what Windows Phone 7 is and some of the Software and Hardware Requirements to develop a Windows Phone 7 application before we create our first application.

Software Requirements

First, let us see the list of softwares required to be installed on a development machine to start developing application on Windows Phone 7. The softwares can be directly downloaded and installed from Microsoft MSDN website and it’s free of cost since it is of Express edition. Below are the lists of softwares required

Installation - Windows Phone SDK 7.1

The Windows Phone Software Development Kit (SDK) 7.1 provides all the tools that you need to develop applications and games for both Windows Phone 7.0 and Windows Phone 7.5 devices.

Link to download -

Installation of this Software Development Kit will install the below list of tools:

  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone
  • Windows Phone Emulator
  • Windows Phone SDK 7.1 Assemblies
  • Silverlight 4 SDK and DRT
  • Windows Phone SDK 7.1 Extensions for XNA Game Studio 4.0
  • Microsoft Expression Blend SDK for Windows Phone 7
  • Microsoft Expression Blend SDK for Windows Phone OS 7.1
  • WCF Data Services Client for Window Phone
  • Microsoft Advertising SDK for Windows Phone

To install the SDK, we should have the environment ready with a minimum of the below set of hardware requirements in order to have a good environment for development.

  • Windows 7 or Vista (All Editions except Starter Edition)
  • 4GB Hard disk Space minimum
  • 3GB Ram minimum
  • Windows Phone Emulator requires a DirectX 10 or above capable graphics card with a WDDM 1.1 driver

Once we are ready with the above development environment, we can install the Windows Phone 7.1 SDK on the machine. We need to note that if the older version of the Windows Phone (7.0) is available on the environment, then we need to remove the older version before installing the newer version on the same environment. Windows Phone SDK 7.1 enables developers to target both Windows Phone OS 7.0 and Windows Phone OS 7.1 platforms. Applications that target Windows Phone OS 7.0 will run on both Windows Phone OS 7.0 and Windows Phone OS 7.1 devices. Applications that target Windows Phone OS 7.1 will not run on Windows Phone OS 7.0 devices.

We can see the development environment ready with Visual Studio 2010 express installed to develop the application with Emulators and other supporting tools.

Select New Silverlight Windows Phone 7 Application Template

Hardware Requirements

In the above section, we have seen the software requirements for setting up the development environment to start developing application with Windows Phone SDK. In this section, developers will not have much control since it targets to the Windows Phone 7 manufactures that are targeting to manufacture a Windows Phone 7 handset. Below are the minimum requirements for Windows Mobile Phone 7 manufacturers taken into consideration in order to maintain some standard across the manufacturers:

hardware requirement

Windows Phone 7 Platforms

Microsoft has provided Windows Phone 7 with existing .net core functionalities and libraries like Threading, LINQ, Multi-threading, XML programming, Security, Reflection, Localization and Globalization. Apart from these available resources in Windows Phone 7, they have added 2 more major frameworks: Silverlight and XNA. The Silverlight framework lets you quickly create rich and highly interactive applications, and the XNA framework is the platform for high-performance applications such as 2D and 3D games.


Silverlight is basically used for light weight business applications and normal 2D games development using the XAML (Extensible Application Markup Language) Programming. Developers will have much flexibility using this framework along with much used UI tools like Microsoft Blend, Adobe Photoshop etc. to create a vector-based process that can be easily transported to XAML.

Silverlight Application Sample

Image Reference – MSDN


XNA is basically used for developing rich games where the framework comes with a game engine (with 3D) which helps the game developers to provide rich 3D games. Unlike Silverlight, XNA is not much known across the developers since it has been used to develop Xbox games using managed code.

XNA Game Application Sample

Image Reference – MSDN


Therefore, in this article we have seen the overview on the Windows Phone 7 Software Development Kit and the minimum software and hardware requirements for the application development

Karthikeyan Anbarasan
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