I just installed to a virtual machine and have been dealing with a slew of errors. This doesn't give me the warm fuzzies...
VM with Windows 7 and VS 2013 Community Edition
Installer 188.8.131.52 installed all dependencies but the VS, reported that all of the dependencies needed to be reinstalled. A reboot and re-run showed that everything was OK except the VS addins. Ran separate Xamarin.VisualStudio_3.9.236.msi and as I recall there were still errors. I did a Repair on VS and it seemed to be fine from there.
My first effort in this system was to view examples from the xamarin-forms-samples-master.zip.
On loading FormsGallery.sln it said I didn't have a license. I added my email/psw which it seemed to accept, saying I now have 1 of 2 systems licensed for a trial. Every time I open the solution it gives me the same message and requires login.
The solution opened and showed a dialog for the Windows Phone Project: "This computer must be upgraded to Windows 8.1 to load this project".
Great. I'll need to reload a whole new virtual just to see WP ... actually I don't care about, I'm really just focused on Android for now.
I closed that and got the dialog to connect to a Xamarin.iOS Build Host. I'm not doing iOS now either so I cancelled through this.
I attempted a build and got an Unhandled Activation Error. I clicked the links but they open a browser to xamarin.com/support and don't pass any info over. It would be much more helpful if the error got passed to the site for a quick evaluation and recommended solution, as this seems to be a common issue over at least the last year.
Closing that error I got another dialog with the same licensing message. I did the login and got a confirmation just like the first time.
The build proceeded and I got a slew of errors from the iOS and Android projects.
OK so with Win7 and VS 2013 Community Edition, I can't build any of the projects in the sample. I really wish the installer or some documentation had said that this is an unsupported platform so I could have avoided the wasted time.
So I opened Xamarin Studio, v5.7 build 661 and tried to open the same Solution. I got issues with packages, warnings that Xamarin.Forms.Label.Font is obsolete, and an unzipping error. But after modifying the .csproj file for a NuGet issue, I got close to a build. The final issue is tha file names/paths are too long which I suspect comes back to a requirement for Win8. IT' also saying I need to install Google Play Services which might be the same issue.
I'm not asking for help on these issues. With enough googling and a few hours of free time (LOL) I'm sure everything will be resolved.
Don't get me wrong. I'm a fan and will get through all of this. I just think so far this has been a really bad experience. "All I want to do" (I love when end-users say that) is to build and run the examples that come from Xamarin. You can't make that a weekend project. We need to be able to install, build, and start learning about tools and syntax as soon as possible in order for this relationship to work. If Xamarin wants developers to jump in and give this environment a try, the out-of-box experience can't be as dreadful as this. That's bad technically and very bad for marketing.