99 or 599 for a new laptop... tempting...
Don't be too upset, you can still tinker a lot with the WP7 emulator, and with the Async BCL RTM'ed recently you can even use async. One advice: use a portable class library for your business logic. With Weerplaza.nl I'm able to release WP7, WP8 and W8 versions of the app with 90% code sharing.

BTW, wouldn't BizSpark be an option for you?

Good luck,