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Thursday, December 02, 2010
Windows Phone 7 Unlocker Discontinued Soon After Release


A Windows Phone 7 "unlock" tool that was released on last Thursday was available for less than one week, since its developers decided to discontinue it.

The tool, named ChevronWP7, uses a method to trick the OS into registering itself as a Windows Phone 7 developer device with the application rather than Microsoft directly. It allowed Windows Phone 7 owners to side load home-brew applications, such as those which access private or native APIs. The reversible simple executable allowed anyone to unlock any WP7 device on the market using a USB cable and just a couple clicks.

Microsoft normally charges $99 a year for the privilege of loading developer applications.

Soon after its release, Microsoft responded by warning users that they may end up with a crippled device.

"We anticipated that people would attempt to unlock the phones and explore the underlying operating system. We encourage people to use their Windows Phone as supplied by the manufacturer to ensure the best possible user experience. Attempting to unlock a device could void the warranty, disable phone functionality, interrupt access to Windows Phone 7 services or render the phone permanently unusable," Microsoft said in statement to WinRumors web site.

On Monday, the develpers of the ChevronWP7 app decided to discontinue the tool, possibly after Microsoft's inquiry.

Brandon Watson, Director of Developer Experience for Windows Phone 7, discussed the ChevronWP7 unlocking tool with its developers, who "established a mutual understanding" of their "intent to enable homebrew opportunities and to open the Windows Phone 7 platform for broader access to developers and users," a post at the www.chevronwp7.com web site reads.

To pursue these goals with Microsoft?s support, Brandon Watson has agreed to engage in futher discussions with the team about officially facilitating homebrew development on WP7. The team said that it had decided to discontinue the unlocking tool in order to "fast-track discussions."

"We are excited to explore the opportunity to become more involved with the shaping of the platform and to build a feedback channel for developers around the world," the team said.

However, the decision to pull the tool suggests that Microsoft's response was rather more negative than the statement let on.


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