Microsoft has unveiled its developer platform for the forthcoming Windows Phone 7 Series, promising the chance to build some 'stunning apps'.

The framework will allow developers to play with elements like the accelerometer, locations services, push notifications, hardware video acceleration and multi-touch support - in short, helping create well-rounded apps.

So in the future we'll be seeing games controlled by motion, using the GPS chip, taking advantage of background updates and even multi-touch control.

Admittedly, it's nothing new - but it's good to see Microsoft trying to at least draw level with the likes of Apple in the development game.

A raft of new development tools have also been offered, along with the unveiling of the new Windows Phone Marketplace, where the apps and games will be available for download.

New vista

This new Marketplace features a panoramic design and 'active merchandising' to increase the discoverability of games and applications, and supports one-time credit card purchases, mobile operator billing and advertising-funded applications to increase the raft of options on offer.

The Marketplace will also enable customers to try applications before buying them and allow developers to cross-promote their applications through deep linking - so if you like something from one dev, chances are you'll be interested in seeing what else they've got cooking.

A number of companies - including EA Mobile, Shazam and Sling Media - are already signed up to provide apps for the Marketplace, so we're looking forward to Christmas this year to see what kind of options are going to be offered by the developer community.