Good news/bad news time. Dev devices are still salted to go out next month, but they are not going to be final builds of WP7 devices so these are not the phones that will ultimately be sold in stores. Brandon Watson clarified these points reminding people that the emulator suits most peoples needs for testing on WP7 so they likely don’t need dev devices. However:
The developer phones going out next month, and through the summer, won’t be final build quality – they are meant for testing and readiness for the marketplace opening later this year. Developer purchasable phones (ones you can buy, which are unlocked) probably won’t be available until after launch. The OEMs and mobile operators don’t want final phone designs hitting the market ahead of launch. In the mean time, we have many many thousands of phones which we are looking to get into developers’ hands so that we can harness the collective creativity, passion and desire to be amongst the first to publish apps to the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace.
I know we’re all excited to get out hands on them but it would be silly to unnecessarily flood the market with non-build quality devices because that does more harm than good when the emulator is pretty full featured. Anyone disagree?
By the way, if they ship a few thousand phones and get back a few apps per phone, we’ll have a great jump on Marketplace on day one. Smart move