Microsoft wants to not only make life a little easier for Windows Phone devs but encourage more of them to come into the fold as well, and a new addition to its development program known as the Windows Phone Developer Preview may help nudge a few third parties (not to mention dedicated enthusiasts) in the right direction. The Preview program gives registered developers early access to the latest OS updates -- for right now, that means GDR3 -- before it begins rolling out to the eager public. To take advantage of the preview, you'll need either a Dev Center account, an App Studio account or a phone that's registered and unlocked to developers; you also run the risk of bricking your device if you don't do things exactly right. The program will become available tomorrow, so if you're one of the interested folks but don't meet the criteria, you'll want to make sure you get your ducks in a row today.
Update: It looks like the Developer Preview is now live.
Announcing the Developer Preview Program
Finally, today I'm also happy to announce the Windows Phone Preview Program for Developers, which is designed to ensure the apps in our Store work well with new operating system updates by giving developers earlier access to that software.
The program, which is only open to registered developers, kicks off tomorrow. If you're a developer and want to download Windows Phone 8 Update 3, you'll need either a Dev Center account, an App Studio account, or a dev unlocked (registered) phone. You can learn more about the program on Dev Center and in a post from Cliff Simpkins on today's Developer Blog.
Try it out and let us know what you think, and thanks for your continued interest in Windows Phone!