Microsoft and the ChevronWP7 unlock team are teaming up to produce a low-cost developer unlock tool.
The tool will make Windows Phone development more accessible and allow developers to avoid the typical $99 per year cost of becoming a full Windows Phone developer. “The service will require a small fee to offset costs,” says ChevronWP7. “We assure you it will be more affordable than the App Hub.” ChevronWP7 recommends that those who wish to write and publish apps immediately should sign up to the App Hub.
“One of our goals was to make Windows Phone development more accessible,” said a statement from ChevronWP7 on Friday. “Plans have recently solidified and we can now reveal a solution we’ve been working on.” The developers didn’t release too many details on the unlock tool but it’s thought that the tool will simply allow developers to unlock their devices and experiment with applications before signing up to publish apps. ChevronWP7 has launched a “labs” section on its website, where it promises more information soon.
Microsoft originally blocked the ChevronWP7 application that unlocks Windows Phone 7 devices for homebrew third-party applications. Microsoft representatives met with Rafael Rivera and Long Zheng of the ChevronWP7 team earlier this year to discuss the tool and Microsoft’s plans to support homebrew applications on Windows Phone 7. ChevronWP7 famously released their Windows Phone 7 “unlock” tool in late Novermber that allowed owners to side load home-brew applications. The tool, named ChevronWP7, used a method to trick the OS into registering itself as a Windows Phone 7 developer device with the application rather than Microsoft directly. Microsoft normally charges $99 a year for the privilege of loading developer applications. ChevronWP7 pulled the tool at Microsoft’s request just two weeks after it was originally released. It was later revealed that Windows Phone 7 devices “phone home” after around two weeks to re-lock unofficial developer devices, rendering the tool useless.
Microsoft confirmed the partnership in an email to WinRumors. Microsoft’s Senior Product Manager for Windows Phone Developer experience, Cliff Simpkins, supplied the following statement to WinRumors on Friday:
“On June 17th, the ChevronWP7 team announced its intent to deliver a tool to make Windows Phone development more accessible. Microsoft has been working with the ChevronWP7 team for several months to make it easier for the Home Brew community to explore the Windows Phone platform. We have been pursuing solutions that enable the community to develop and install apps on their own Windows Phone for testing and tinkering purposes, without jeopardizing the intellectual property of existing registered developers or the Marketplace in general. By working with the ChevronWP7 team, we hope to ensure that their new tool will continue to advance our shared goals for both Home Brew and registered Windows Phone developers.”