It’s taken an awful long time to see the light of day, but the Windows Phone 8 SDK is now available for developers to sink their teeth into.

(Credit: Microsoft)

In an effort to get mobile developers into its ecosystem, Microsoft is lowering its standard US$99 fee to US$8 to register as a Windows Phone developer and publish on the Windows Phone marketplace. The special will continue for the next eight days.

Developers taking advantage of the special will still be charged the regular US$99 fee, but will see a US$91 refund appear in the next 30 to 45 days.

The biggest change with Windows Phone 8 SDK is the ability to develop applications in C and C++. Redmond is promoting the ability to share code between its new Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 operating systems, but it is not completely seemless, and there are still a number of gotchas to look out for.

Installing the new SDK will require a 64-bit version of Windows 8.

Windows Phone 8 was launched yesterday, leaving the SDK in the unique position of appearing after the announcement of the OS, itself. Previously. Microsoft had claimed that this delay was done in order to generate excitement for the platform, and only allowed a hand picked selection of existing Windows Phone developers to take part in its beta.

In a move reminiscent of the way internet browsers behave, Windows Phone 8 will have a quirks mode for applications that target Windows Phone 7.1 and 7.0.

After looking at the list of new features found in Windows Phone 8, it looks far more like an upgrade than a re-imagining of the platform. And given the low market share of Windows Phone, there’s not much on offer that puts it ahead of what alternative platforms are offering.

What do you think? Could this release turn Windows Phone’s fortunes around? Or is it just more of the same from Redmond? Will you be taking advantage of the $8 special?