As previously reported, Microsoft is renaming its Windows Phone Marketplace to Windows Phone Store to match the branding of its Windows 8 app store, Windows Store. The renamed store will feature the same logo as the Windows Store, naturally.

“Starting today we’re retiring the name Marketplace and renaming it the Windows Phone Store,” Microsoft’s Mazhar Mohammed writes in a post to the Windows Phone Blog. “By doing so, we’re following the lead of Windows 8 and its Windows Store for apps and games. The two even share the same Store icon.”

icons

I previously saw the new name and icon in the leaked SDK from late July, as I outlined in Windows Phone 8 Detailed In SDK Leak. Here’s a shot of the Store icon in the All Apps list.

store-icon

In a related announcement, Microsoft also opened up the Windows Phone 8 SDK preview program to developers interested in an early peek at the next version of the developer tools and platform. Not everyone gets in currently, however: Only developers who Microsoft feel are serious about Windows Phone 8 will be let in during the preview.

“The objective is to let developers of our most-downloaded apps start optimizing them for Windows Phone 8, and we expect the majority of published developers in this situation to qualify for access,” Microsoft’s Todd Brix noted in a post to the Windows Phone Developer Blog.

Interestingly, Brix comes clean on why the SDK isn’t simply open to one and all: “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,” he writes. “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.”

To apply, you’ll need to visit the Microsoft Connect site and complete a short application. Good luck!