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Along with the certification news, Microsoft also announced the availability of the Windows Phone SDK 7.1 Release Candidate, which is compatible with Visual Studio 2010 SP1. This release includes the Marketplace Test Kit, which enables developers to test their apps locally using their own machines and the same requirements that are used for app certification in the official App Hub.
The latest (and last) obstacle in Microsoft's path before the release of Windows Phone 7 Mango is now taking place--developers can now submit Mango applications to Microsoft for certification. Beginning August 23rd, the App Hub started officially accepting Mango app submissions.