Use the Windows Phone Emulator to see how your app executes and debug it before you put it in the marketplace. The Windows Phone Emulator is a high-fidelity and high-performance virtualization environment. In other words, it has great sound and acts just like a phone. Right there on your PC, a screen pops up with a phone on it. You can't use it make a call, but you can push the buttons, use the touch screen (with your mouse), and simulate your app.

Now for the hard part: In order to start the emulator, you just need to press . . . F5! The emulator will load the program you currently have open in Visual Studio.

The emulator has a real phone skin — the same buttons as a phone. You'll see a Back button, a Start button, and a Search button. When you left-click a button, it's like tapping a soft key on the screen or pressing a button. You can't pan or zoom because there is no equivalent for multi-touch with a mouse (unless you have a multi-touch computer screen). You can scroll the screen around by pressing the left mouse key to simulate a press and hold.

In addition, the emulator has GPS simulation so that if your app needs the user's location it will work. Orientation support means that if your user turns a corner, the map will turn, as well.