I dislike feeding the trolls, however, I would hate to be described as a Microsoft shill so let me be one of many people to ask why in the world is the Windows Phone 8 SDK not open to all registered Windows Phone Devs? The following excerpt is taken from the Windows Phone blog (highlights are my own):

Today we begin accepting requests for access to the Windows Phone SDK 8.0 Developer Preview program…To apply, please visit the Microsoft Connect site and complete a short application…If you’re accepted to the program, you’ll hear from us in the following week with instructions on how to download the SDK and get support for questions and issues.

I know that many of you want to know why we simply don’t publically release the full SDK now. The reason is that not all Windows Phone 8 features have been announced and our SDK includes comprehensive emulators that allow developers to test apps against a wide range of Windows Phone features. We recognize that this is a different approach to delivering tools than we’ve taken in the past. Our goal is to generate as much Windows Phone 8 excitement as possible to attract new customers when phones go on sale. This is one of many steps we’re taking to help give you what you (and we) want most.

So in the interests of full disclosure, I have signed up for the public beta, but I am confused about the reasoning behind the lack of access. If the reason for the lack of access is “unannounced features” please feel free to grab a microphone call another press conference and share the sugar. Surely between Nokia, Samsung and in the next few days HTC there are platforms a plenty. The idea that they have some marketing strategy up their sleeves to help attract new users seems just a little disingenuous. My gut tells me that they or their flagship partners are simply way behind there as yet unannounced dates. Even more than getting a SDK preview, I really hope this gets sorted.

[UPDATE] I was unfortunately not accepted into the preview program, this poorly formatted email was the response I received:

Dear Mark Downie,

Thankyou for your interest in the Windows Phone SDK 8.0 Developer Preview program, designed to help our active Windows Phone developers ready their apps for Windows Phone 8. Unfortunately, you were not selected for participation at this time; however, we will continue to invite applicants to participate as space permits.

Aspreviously mentioned on the Windows Phone Dev Blog, we are limited in the number of developers that we can support via thisprogram,so applicants are being prioritized and selected based on a range of criteria including theranking andratings of theirapps.

WindowsPhone 8 is designed to run Windows Phone 7.5apps, so your existing apps will be available to Windows Phone 8 devices at launch. If you would like to better prepare your app for Windows Phone 8, you can evaluate your app for some degree of optimization to ensure the best possible experience when running on the new kernel.To help you out,we’verecently provided initialguidance in theFuture-proofingYour Apps  blog post.

Thankyou again for your support of Windows Phone,
Windows Phone Apps Team