Microsoft has confirmed plans to make Windows Phone 7 devices more accessible to developers by giving them contract-free handsets.
According to the good people of ZDNet: “Brandon Watson, Microsoft's director of developer relations, said that the company has partnered with Zones.com to let developers buy Windows Phone 7 devices without a voice or data contract.”
The deal covers three handsets: the HTC Surround, HTC HD7 and Samsung Focus. They’ll be carrier-locked, but available for $500 each. That’s around £310 in UK moolah.
At the moment, the Windows Phone 7 devices are available on network-subsidised tariffs only.
At last year’s Professional Developers Conference, Microsoft dished out free Windows Phone 7 phones to all paid attendees, ahead of the official launch.
Microsoft puts the number of registered Windows Phone 7 developers at 27,000. Since launching last October, the number of apps on the Marketplace has risen to “more than 7,500”.