ChevronWP7 Labs to release Microsoft-approved jailbreaking tool for Windows Phone 7
ChevronWP7 Labs, in collaboration with Microsoft, will release a Windows Phone solution for independent developers to “unlock” or “jailbreak” Windows Phone 7.
A recent blog post on chevronwp7.com claims they will “soon be launching” an approved Windows Phone unlocking service. The post says the service will require a “small” fee (via PayPal) but claims it will be cheaper than the App Hub, the current solution for developers to submit apps and games. App Hub currently carries a $99/year subscription fee–similar to the iOS Developer Program—and also provides access to the Xbox live marketplace.
ChevronWP7’s Rafael Rivera, Chris Walsh and Long Zheng first developed a homebrew solution for Windows Phone late last year, but a phone call from Microsoft’s Brandon Watson resulted in the quick removal of the app from their site.
Rather than threaten legal action, Watson—the Director of Developer Experience for Windows Phone 7—chose to embrace the developers, citing a “mutual understanding” over the ultimate intention of such a solution. Rather than to create a solution for pirated software, both Watson and the ChevronWP7 team’s goal was a reliable tool to “sideload” homebrew (a.k.a. not officially supported) apps onto Windows Phones. Once the two sides came to agreement, the app was pulled and collaborative work on a Microsoft-supported tool began.
The move to embrace homebrew developers rather than oppose them seems like a wise one for Microsoft. By working with ChevronWP7, they were able to get them to kill their original app, which would have allowed software pirates to sideload pirated applications onto WP7 devices. In addition, they develop goodwill with independent developers, allowing them to act as a laboratory for mobile software without actually supporting it. And when a homebrew application becomes successful, they can always integrate its function into their OS, just like Apple.