Microsoft and ChevronWP7 team up for new Windows Phone 7 developer unlock tool

By Tom Warren, on 17th Jun 11 7:44 pm with 23 Comments

ChevronWP7 meets Microsoft - Image Credit @longzheng

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.”

  • UzEE

    Interesting development. I hope the tool would unlock devices in any country.

  • Test

    Chris Walsh I believe, and not Long Zheng

    • Keno Butler

      Service provided by Rafael Rivera, Chris Walsh and Long Zheng in partnership with Microsoft

  • oolong2

    They really should release the tool as open source…  so that developers and busineses can come up with their own WP7 ideas.

    • Homebrewer

      de-compile the program, done.
      Done this on way to many programs.

    • oolong2

      Which is entirely different than open source  :-)

    • Crobinson85

      Doubtful that this would work.  The existing unlock scheme requires contacting the MS server and getting some sort of unlock code.

    • Crobinson85

      Doubtful that this would work.  The existing unlock scheme requires contacting the MS server and getting some sort of unlock code.

    • Anonymous

      what would be the benefit to open sourcing the dev tools? i don’t see any great advantage.

    • oolong2

      The advantage is that groups could create their own tool and mechanism for creating and deploying their own customizations to WP7.  Businesses could setup “this service” on their own networks to  automatically deploy custom apps and customizations to their employees using Windows Phones.

      Obviously they’re accessing areas of the OS unavailable to most developers.  There could be lots of  functions for applications outside of the normal Windows Phone Marketplace that could be prove to be very useful for homebrew developers.

    • Anonymous

      That has very little todo with open sourcing the tools. Your talking about making the OS itself more customisable. All the things your talking about are possible today for homebrewers with jailbroken phones.

    • oolong2

      It’s a matter of supporting homebrew officially rather than relying on hacks.  Which was the whole point of the collaboration between Microsoft & Chevron.   To basically get away from “jail breaking”.

      Hiding the inner workings of ChevronWP7 inside of a tool doesn’t benefit the community as much as if it were open source.

  • dEuZ

    Awesome piece of news, and I don’t mind using Paypal at all.

  • Anonymous

    I want this badly.   I’ve not done any dev work since college and WP7 has me itching to get back into it.  

    I’ve been making due with the emulator but being able to load the apps on my phone would be great.

  • Kanelp

    This is great news. Allow you to unlock your
    phone if you wish. And if you are someone looking to provide ‘official’ apps
    though the Windows 7 marketplace, then you can pay the $99. This makes a lot of
    sense.  Gives you the open-ness of if
    you want it and the protection of vetted and tested applications for the average
    user from the ‘App Store’ (sorry, I meant Marketplace!)

  • Wheezle

    They “phone home” do they?

    Tell that do my device that’s been unlocked for months and remained unlocked even after NoDo…

  • Dinuweera

    good option for developers new to the os to check out the easy of working on wp7 initially before paying $99,so if they want to continue they my officially do it via apphub

  • Craig

    Just wait for Nokia they are going to make developing for WP7 and publishing to Maketplace Free, so there will be an official free way to dev unlock soon any way.

  • SK

     Why didn’t Microsoft do this in the first place as they are marginal in the smartphone space today. They need to engage developers more.

  • Bobdole

    Mircosoft should support and embrace these types of people that modify their products to make them better.  When they see something they need to send a rep to that “hackers” house and set up some sort of agreement.  Apple will lose fans when those idiots realizes that apple as turned into its own 1984 commercial.  Mircrosoft needs to support the hand that feeds it.  Let freedom ring and inturn you will be on top once again.  Microsoft needs to turn away from what apple is doing with the whole “apple is mine and you cant change it!” mentality of steve jobs.  

  • WP7 User

    Very good news! I hope it will be soon available. Now I can start developing for WP7!
    Thanks to MS! This is a very important steps for developers!!!

  • di


  • di

    I love my phone but these do-dad dumb ringtones are driving me crazy…..