ChevronWP7 Labs unlocker a few weeks from launch, new details released

Now that Mango has come to a lot of Windows Phones, there's still a few big things to look forward to this year: Skype, Nokia and of course ChevronWP7 Labs. For those new to the site or community, ChevronWP7 Labs is the little project by Rafael Rivera, Chris Walsh and Long Zheng who originally unlocked Windows Phone in the pre and post NoDo era (with Microsoft's indirect and humorous approval).

The Labs project has one goal:" allow hobbyist developers to install, run, and debug unsigned applications on their personal Windows Phone". That is, it's a way for you, the regular user, to toy around with some advanced tools without breaking the bank and while being sanctioned by Microsoft.  And now that day is nearly upon us, meaning you can soon join the homebrew community to side-load some apps on to your Windows Phone.

Here's how the process will work when launched in a few weeks:

  1. You'll need a Windows Live ID (it can be different from your Windows Phone Live ID)
  2. Purchase an "unlock token". Cost is $9.00 via PayPal and is good for infinite unlocks per single phone.
  3. Download and install an unlocking too, which is similar to the official AppHub registration one
  4. Your phone will be placed in a queue to be unlocked and that's it!

All in all, this will provide a great opportunity for those who aren't full-time developers nor those who can't afford to pay the regular $99 to unlock their phones. It should also expand the hobbyist and homebrew community significantly, giving Windows Phone users a new avenue to explore as well as apply new ideas.

The team is wrapping up the final preparations now and we can look for an official launch in a few weeks. We'll of course keep you abreast of all and any new developments.

Read the full details from the ChevronWP7 Labs team right here.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • If I do this, am I going to be able to install emulators and other software developed by the scene for mango?If that is correct then I'm in, theres so much software that I would like to seed that will will never land on the market because of copyrights etc etc.WP7 is the bomb!! never had such an incredible OS after selling my iphone 3.
  • Having more control over this OS will be nice. Homebrew has the ability to fill in the gaps that can get overlooked and really improve the experience in a niche way. Can't wait to see what the homebrew scene looks like for WP7 after this.
  • So with the Chevron unlocker, would I be able to use the Windows Phone Device Manager with my Arrive? For that reason alone, it would be worth it to me. I'm working on learning to program for WP7 since there are a few things I'd like to have that just aren't available on this platform yet. Getting my phone unlocked would be a big help.
  • why is it that the dev team and others for iOS do it for the community (like not charging you to open up your own phone) but these 3 guys want to charge $9.
  • I think a lot of it is for server costs. This is using a similar method for unlocking as Microsoft uses--server authentication--and that costs money. I don't really think profit is the motive here.If they didn't use the server method, it could arguably be free (or a lot cheaper) but then it wouldn't have Microsoft's support.Either way, we're still talking 1/10 the cost of a dev unlock ($9 vs $99) and that's still better than nothing. Nothing is stopping devs at XDA to come up with a better or free method--but while there are some really smart people over there, they haven't yet made a universal, 1-click solution.
  • Because this way is approved by Microsoft themselves, unlike on iOS where Apple completely hates what the dev team and others do.
  • well what does being approved by MS have to do with anything. Installous and Cydia arent approved by Apple and they have been powerless to do anything about it.
  • I'd also point out I think GeoHot made a pretty penny on his iPhone work via donations.
  • yeah I gave him some of my pennies. the point Im trying to make is the JB community see's it as opening up your phone which you already purchased so they wouldnt charge to JB it.I understand that the iOS JB is alot bigger so the ppl who would donate is really big.
  • 2 reasons:1 - It's officially sanctioned by Microsoft2 - It provides even a small barrier to entry for people who should otherwise not be jailbreaking their phone.
  • Utterly lame. Jailbreaking is still possible with Mango right? Good. I don't care how many hoops I have to go through, if I pay hundreds of dollars for something I better be able to use it as I damn well please.
  • I don't get it... Why do we have to pay for unlocking a device? In my book, unlocking is something that breaks the guaranty etc... Also, why even after Microsoft is envolved, we have to wait in cues and we still have to use a third party app to unlock it? Will we be able to unlock the phone with free ways or all the developers are going to adopt this method? Is it just an alternative method of unlocking? What are the benefits compared to all the other working unlock methods? Does it have a marketplace? Will I be able to use the device as a usb device with full access in system files? There are many questions, mostly because there is a price and MS is involved. If MS want to pay them (or pay their "unlock services" developer), they better give us more reasons to do it...a direct use of the device through the explorer, support for more media formats etc...otherwise I won't give them a penny!
  • I don't get the uproar about having to pay for the unlock. You have to pay because somebody did the work to provide a service. If you don't want to pay find somebody to do the work for free. So far that person does not exist. I just don't get the devaluation of a person's time and effort so that there is an expectation that the hard work of providing valuable software/services should come at no cost.
  • There must be a clear benefit from this project for people to support it. Microsoft support doesn't mean something special to me...the point is what are they going to practically add...not an anemic, theoretical support. One click solution is not something important either. Most of the people who are involved in unlocking their devices, they know how to unlock them manually and there are always people who do a research about new methods for unlocking and post the results without a price, for the benefit of the community.For me, just an easy 1-click sideloading method isn't enough to make me pay for it. I want them to confirm that we will take extra features and not only some random homebrew apps. This is the reason homebrew scene is one does it professionaly so we can't complain...but if we have to pay, then they must give a list with practical features/enhancements that the phone WILL get after the unlock and not make us pay for services that they don't control/provide. I have already unlocked my phone very easily and i have some few nice homebrew apps, and I really look forward to find out what will be so different with the "official unlock" to make me consider paying for it. A divx support? An explorer usb device support? Proper pdf support?
  • I guess my confusion with the reaction here is why people are treating this different than any other application you can buy. If the features offered are good enough then buy it. When they do an official launch you can evaluate it and buy or not based on the features. By the way, since they are calling it an unlock tool would appear that unlocking is the feature. Unlock means you can go find the other things to add. It seems they've simplified the unlock process. Each person can determine if it's worth it. I just don't see the requirement that this be free. The market will decide if the price is correct.
  • Keep in mind that homebrew apps that access/alter the registry will not be allowed using this unlock method. The same holds true for an official Microsoft dev unlocked device. So the only homebrew apps available to sideload will be those that would probably pass Marketplace certification, but the developer, for one reason or another, has chosen not to bother with the whole Marketplace scene. Not sure if the jailbreak, currently available to unlocked devices, which bypasses the registry editing restriction will work using this new Chevron method. We will have to wait and see.
  • will we be able to sideload free apps that are not available on our country's marketplace?
  • So, there is absolutely no reason to get this "jailbreak"...If it doesn't permit access to registry and homebrew apps have to get certification, then it's almost the same with Zune software. What's the point of this?