Unlocking my Windows Phone 7 Mango
I have followed the developers behind ChevronWP7 closely, as I want to be able to do screenshots for the support pages that I have done for Windows Phone 7 at work.
This weekend ChevronWP7 Labs went live. It’s an inexpensive unlocking tool for Windows Phone for enthusiast developers. Before ChewronWP7 labs went live developers would need to pay for Microsoft’s expensive ($99 per year) developer program, even to run self-made apps on a physical device. Enthusiast developers only other option were to run self-made apps in an emulator. But ChevronWP7 Labs developers can unlock their phones for only $9. And that is not an annual fee! With my phone unlocked, I can also run homebrew apps made by others. I plan to run at least one such app, Screen Capture v3.
ChevronWP7 Labs isn’t jailbreaking a Windows Phone, as so many blogs have miscommunicated the past few days. ChevronWP7 is approved by Microsoft, the tool even makes use of the Live account that you have registered for use with your phone and Microsoft’s Azure cloud service. A jailbreak, like on iPhone, would give you unfettered root access to the device. ChewronWP7 on the other hand, enable developers to write code for the device without sacrificing the IP protection that Microsoft has put in place.
I unlocked my device one of the first days the tool was available and had to que up for the service. Bugs were found and service was closed down for a few hours. Problems got fixed and new unlocking tools published and then the Azure cloud service went down. They ran in to some SQL problems. The phone was connected to the PC for most of Saturday eve and the following night, but the service was down the whole Sunday and I could start all over again when the service got up around noon on Monday. But don’t get scarred, the unlocking process is really easy, at least for the enduser. The only problem I run in to, was that I didn’t have a unique name for the device. Somebody had already used HTC Mozart. Appearently the device name is registered at Microsoft.
After having opened the phone, I installed the screenshot tool from the WPXAP Forum, through the Application Deployment tool that came with the Windows Phone Developer SDK: