Microsoft has handed out ASUS Windows Phone 7 developer devices to a number of “jailbreakers” recently.
Microsoft is currently working with the ChevronWP7 team of Windows Phone 7 jailbreakers to support homebrew applications on the platform. As part of the ongoing talks, Microsoft has provided the ChevronWP7 team with unreleased ASUS E600 Windows Phone 7 devices. Rafael Rivera, a member of the ChevronWP7 team, revealed the engineering device in a blog posting on Sunday. “As part of ongoing “homebrew” discussions with Microsoft, the gang (Long Zheng, Chris Walsh) and I were handed non-production, engineering ASUS E600 devices for development use,” wrote Rivera.
The devices are non-production and designed exclusively for development use. Rivera explains that the devices aren’t “super secret” but do feature a prominent serial number on the face of the device. “They’re just samples sent out through various channels (e.g. press) for testing and development use. I’m sure when the juicy stuff surfaces, you’ll see it on sites like Engadget,” says Rivera.
Microsoft confirmed earlier this month that the company plans to block the ChevronWP7 application that unlocks Windows Phone 7 devices for homebrew third-party applications. 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 representatives met with Rafael Rivera and Long Zheng of the ChevronWP7 team last week to discuss the tool and Microsoft’s plans to support homebrew applications on Windows Phone 7. The ChevronWP7 team has confirmed that Microsoft is working on long-term solutions that support homebrew Windows Phone applications. Microsoft is also working on a short-term solution to continue homebrew support after the first Windows Phone 7 update. “We’re collaborating with Microsoft on an interim solution that will continue to support homebrew developments after the update,” a ChevronWP7 spokesperson wrote in a blog posting on Saturday. “We will share details of this when it has been finalized.”
Microsoft’s approach to Windows Phone 7 jailbreaking is a stark contrast to that of its competitors. Sony launched a lawsuit against PlayStation 3 jailbreaker Geohot earlier this month. Whilst Sony is seeking to squash secret codes that the company uses to protect the PlayStation 3, Microsoft has reached out to the jailbreaking community. Microsoft recently reached out to PlayStation 3 and iPhone jailbreaker Geohot. George Hotz (Geohot) joked on his personal blog that he will be purchasing a Windows Phone 7 device soon and caught Microsoft’s attention. Brandon Watson, Director of Developer Experience for Windows Phone, posted a tweet attempting to reach Geohot. Julien Schapman, a Windows Phone developer, is also planning to release a Windows Phone 7 Device Manager that includes a new way to jailbreak Microsoft’s mobile operating system. Schapman confirmed to WinRumors that his unlock method is “different and more reliable” than ChevronWP7′s.
Image Credit: WithinWindows.com