before assuming anything, you should look at the actual development model.
first of all, you can get a dev device quite easily, if you have an app you want to develop. registering with the dev program costs $99 and that gives you the ability to sideload apps on your device and all the certification/code signing when you want to
sell something in the marketplace.
with the registration , you get the ability to put a limited number of free apps (don't remember how many) and unlimited paid apps. I have yet to verify this (just registered Saturday and I'm out of town now) but I remember something about doing limited
betas with friends.
By the way, this has been posted from an LG dev device running build 7003