ChevronWP7 unlock tool pulled by its creators

Developer trio in talks with Microsoft on official support for "homebrew" apps on WP7

Barely a week after releasing a tool that lets Windows Phone 7 users load their own smartphone apps, the tool's creators announced today they will no longer offer it.The decision, announced on a Website, followed conversations with Microsoft.

Dubbed ChevronWP7, the app lets users unlock their Windows Phone 7 handset, so that an app that's not available on Microsoft's online Zune Marketplace could be "sideloaded" directly onto the smartphone. This is a function that registered WP7 developers already have. The unlock has been hailed as giving users root access to the underlying WP7 kernel ("Windows Phone 7" is the visible user interface which sits atop an as-yet-unannounced new version of the Windows CE kernel).

For additional details, check our online story on their decision.

The trio of developers are Rafael Rivera, Chris Walsh, Long Zheng. Their joint blogpost reveals what seems to have been a lengthy conversation yesterday with Microsoft's Brandon Watson, Director of Developer Experience for Windows Phone 7. , to discuss the ChevronWP7 unlocking tool. The brief post was sparing in the details: "Through this discussion, we established a mutual understanding of our intent to enable homebrew opportunities and to open the Windows Phone 7 platform for broader access to developers and users."

In an email, Zheng says the trio defines "homebrew" apps as:

•    Experimental applications that explore the possibilities of the device using non-exposed or native APIs

•    Applications that cannot be submitted to the marketplace due to Microsoft restrictions/certification

•    Applications which are not worth submitting to the marketplace as "products"

Watson has agreed to "further discussions" with the trio about "officially facilitating homebrew development on WP7." In response, "To fast-track discussions, we are discontinuing the unlocking tool effective immediately," the coders announced.

It's a bit unclear about what the practical results of discontinuance will be: those who have already downloaded ChevronWP7 could presumably reverse engineer it and repost it, or post a variant of it.

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