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Some homebrew apps are currently blocked in Mango? Yes.

Question: Can you currently install homebrew apps on Windows Phone 'Mango'? 

Answer: No, you cannot

One of the firs things we did with the Samung Focus with "Mango" (see review) was to developer-unlock the device using our AppHub account--no problems there. We were also able to sideload official apps from developers not yet released to the Marketplace (e.g. beta testing, early reviews, etc.). However, when it came to side-loading XAP files from say, XDA or other developers, they would not load. Things like Registry editors, themes changers, etc. would result in Error 0×81030120 (see above image).

A few days ago, Rafael Rivera, of ChevronWP7, gave some details about the situation on his blog, which you can read in detail here. [Warning: only developers will understand the lingo]. In short, the technical reason is "Mango won’t officially support the deployment of custom applications with the ID_CAP_INTEROPSERVICES capability flag".

What is not clear at the moment is (a) Is this is a permanent change that will be in the final build of "Mango"? and/or (b) Can there can be a work around for it? (Rivera notes that he hasn't "...figured that out yet, you'll need to standby." in response to developer). It is quite perceivable that Microsoft will keep this as a way to prevent communities like XDA and the homebrew crowd from running Interopservices aka native code on Windows Phones, which will negate a lot of the homebrew communities work. As alternative, developers can release apps to the Beta Marketplace, however even there, running native code (the point of homebrew for many) would not be acceptable there either.

Update: Scratch (a) up above. The final version of "Mango" will have this limitation, according to Rivera, which means the fate of homebrew is up to some ambitious devs.

All we can say is stay tuned.

Source: Within Windows; via NanaPho

Daniel Rubino
Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

7 Comments
  • "The final version of "Mango" will have this limitation, according to Rivera, which means the fate of homebrew is up to some ambitious devs."The ID_CAP_INTEROPSERVICES is only used for invoking native dll's on the phone. This is actually a good thing, cause it means homebrew apps has to use the same API's as marketplace apps. Meaning two things, they can have the possibility to be put on marketplace, and they can't invoke hidden stuff like brick your phone or steal all your information.Homebrew will still be possible. But those apps that do stuff by going outside the official API's will have a hard time. I'm fine with this as long as the official API's have enough functions to fill my needs.
  • Exactly!This will allow things like IM+ with MSN support (circumventing Microsoft's Marketplace non-competition policy) but will keep core OS safe from people who have no idea what they are doing.
  • Well this sucks. So if for example, Microsoft does not get the push/live tile problem "perfect" with Mango, and I personally don't think the will, then we will all be hard resetting our phones every other month to keep our 30 live tiles working. Worse yet, we won't know why we have to, and it will create a slew of urban legends. Homebrew is supposed to help further the platform by finding fixes for little glitches and pushing the envelope where appropriate. Their work should be fostering new ideas and remedies for Microsoft engineers. What homebrew app "does not" access the registry in some way. A battery percent meter maybe. Not even sure if that's possible with Mango. This news is not a good thing unless they add another 2000 features and fixes on top of the 500 already advertised, and get it done in the next few weeks. Perfection is something seldom achieved and unless Mango provides it, we need homebrew to deal with the rest.
  • I find it hard to care about this for two reasons.1) Legit devs will still have the ability to make some incredible apps.2) Homebrew will eventually find a workaround and proceed to continue to do what they do best. I see Microsoft both supporting homebrew devs like the Chevron team while simultaneously beefing out-of-the-box security for WP7 which will make the transition into the business market much easier. In short, it's too early to panic. Yes it may suck for homebrew to find a new workaround but I don't foresee Microsoft continually trying to shutdown the homebrew scene.
  • So do apps that allow custom color for themes use registry tweaks that will be blocked? That will be a huge bummer for me if they dont add this ability natively. The stock colors are lacking.
  • Well those apps definitely edit the registry, so I assume yes. Same for the homebrew screenshot app, another feature that should already be there. Wonder how FileXplorer will be handled. Not sure about how custom ringtones will be addressed in Mango with third party support, as most of my ringtones are truly custom, meaning original and not commercial.
  • I figured. Well, hopefully somebody figures out a work around. Custom tile colors is something I will actively seek out.