The hacking scene for Windows Phone 8 so far has been pretty dismal, with a lot of the legends in the community moving on to more open systems like Android. Although Windows Phone 7.x did see some minor movement within the fringe hacking community, its replacement OS has not met the same fate. The reason for that is Windows Phone 8 was unable to be interop-unlocked, a phrase not familiar to most casual users.
When it comes to operating systems, especially Windows Phone, there are different levels. Developer unlocking is the easiest and can be achieved by joining Microsoft’s developer program. Once registered, users can unlock their device by connecting to a computer and logging in. This allows developers to side-load XAP files i.e. apps not from the Store. But even side-loaded XAP files are sandboxed by the OS and cannot touch the deeper level functions. OEMs and carriers get access to this area, which is why they can roll out system updates.
Now, for the first time an interop-unlock has been achieved on the Samsung ATIV S. The news come via XDA Forums, home to many in the homebrew and hacking community. The trick was accomplished by a user nicknamed ‘GoodDayToDie’ and while it’s not for the casual user, for those looking for an adventure can try and repeat the process.
Currently there are very few if any apps or services available to take advantage of this unlocking, though that can easily change in the future. It’s unclear at the time if this process could translate over to other Windows Phone 8 devices, especially the more popular Lumia line from Nokia. Device bootloaders and differing configurations make direct translation of interop unlocking difficult, though we’ll continue to monitor for any changes.
Source: XDA Forums; Thanks, Trevor H., for the tip
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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.