ChevronWP7: Microsoft, unlocking, and piracy, oh my!

By on November 29, 2010, 12:53 PM
The release of ChevronWP7, which allows you to unlock any retail Windows Phone 7 device for application side-loading without having to pay $99 per year for a WP7 marketplace account, has resulted in a war of words. Microsoft made an official statement about the tool and its three developers, Long Zheng, Rafael Rivera, and Chris Walsh have also made public comments.

"We anticipated that people would attempt to unlock the phones and explore the underlying operating system," a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement to WinRumors. "We encourage people to use their Windows Phone as supplied by the manufacturer to ensure the best possible user experience. Attempting to unlock a device could void the warranty, disable phone functionality, interrupt access to Windows Phone 7 services or render the phone permanently unusable."

The ChevronWP7 developers disagree with Microsoft's statement. "Thanks in part to Tom Warren's sensational story headline, and a boilerplate non-headquarters Microsoft UK response, tech bloggers are reporting that ChevronWP7 can brick your phone," Rivera posted on his blog. "This is patently false as we use the same exact procedure the official Phone Registration tool uses. I recommend you wait for an official response from the real Microsoft Windows Phone 7 guys in Redmond. You know, the ones who actually worked on Windows Phone 7 and know what they're talking about."

Meanwhile, sites like MobileTechWorld claim that the tool will be used by pirates to illegally download Windows Phone 7 apps: "Secondly, couple this new unlocker with the security issue of the current Marketplace (anyone can freely download an app directly from the marketplace by bypassing the Zune software and decompile the code if it was obfuscated by the developer..) and we are now in piracy heaven… Anyway, it's up to you to decide if you want to unlock your device this way at the risk of being blocked by MS (if they decide to take this route) but I won’t be surprised to see a WP7 update in the near future 'fix' this potential security hole."

As a result, the ChevronWP7 team decided to post its stance on piracy and the surrounding issues:

  • We do not condone piracy. We are all app developers ourselves and value the financial incentives of app development.
  • We will not help or support efforts to pirate WP7 applications. Our intention is to enable and create WP7 homebrew applications that cannot be submitted to the Marketplace in the first place.
  • ChevronWP7 is not an enabler for piracy. Our tool only enables functionality inside every Windows Phone 7 device designed and implemented by Microsoft. We do not make any modifications to the operating system.
  • Unlocking and piracy are mutually exclusive All Marketplace application XAP packages are sufficiently protected so that you cannot sideload to run them on any unlocked device (official or with our tool). We have no intentions or knowledge to break that protection. (You can still run legitimately purchased and downloaded applications after unlocking)

The main points to takeaway from all of this is that the trio of developers claims the tool is completely safe, that the unlocking it performs can be reversed on all devices, and that piracy is a big no-no. In the meantime, while different parts of Microsoft may issue statements on the surrounding issues, we have to wait and see how the software giant will actually react to the tool's release. Actions speak louder than words.





User Comments: 7

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yRaz yRaz said:

I am considering buying the LG quantum, but smart phones are expensive. The phone, with a contract, is going to cost me $200 and $75 a month with a 2 yr contract. This is kinda a deal breaker if they want to "take this route." I would paying ~$2000 for a phone over 2 years and they want to tell me what I can and can't do with it? Only reason I want a smart phone is so I don't have to carry an MP3 player with me. If that's what getting A smart phone means, I will just replace my BB pearl with a cheap Slider and deal with having an extra device in my pocket.

mosu said:

Microsoft should learn from Android experiment and give people more credit.What they need are real users , because non creative users will still prefer Apple. Anyhow, Microsoft will lose users in favor of Android and Chrome OS, so they should be more permissive in order to keep up with the competition and they should thank the developers of Chevron WP7.At least that's my opinion..just look at Mozilla project and Android market.

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

yRaz said:

I am considering buying the LG quantum, but smart phones are expensive. The phone, with a contract, is going to cost me $200 and $75 a month with a 2 yr contract. This is kinda a deal breaker if they want to "take this route." I would paying ~$2000 for a phone over 2 years and they want to tell me what I can and can't do with it? Only reason I want a smart phone is so I don't have to carry an MP3 player with me. If that's what getting A smart phone means, I will just replace my BB pearl with a cheap Slider and deal with having an extra device in my pocket.

You're looking at the numbers the wrong way. Suppose you get a cheap slider (for free we'll assume) you will still be paying $60 a month for 2 years. That's $1440 just for the PHONE SERVICE. The data plan will cost you $360 over 2 years, plus the $200 for the phone means you will pay about $560 more than a regular phone, or about $23 more a month. Also, Microsoft didn't and more importantly CAN'T tell you what to do with your phone thanks to the new FCC legislation. You just may be voiding warranties or other services provided by Microsoft and your wireless carrier.

You should look for some deals on WP7 devices. You could have gotten one for free at a Microsoft store on Black Friday.

yRaz yRaz said:

wagan8r said:

You're looking at the numbers the wrong way. Suppose you get a cheap slider (for free we'll assume) you will still be paying $60 a month for 2 years. That's $1440 just for the PHONE SERVICE. The data plan will cost you $360 over 2 years, plus the $200 for the phone means you will pay about $560 more than a regular phone, or about $23 more a month. Also, Microsoft didn't and more importantly CAN'T tell you what to do with your phone thanks to the new FCC legislation. You just may be voiding warranties or other services provided by Microsoft and your wireless carrier.

You should look for some deals on WP7 devices. You could have gotten one for free at a Microsoft store on Black Friday.

I don't need a data plan or any of that fancy stuff. I am only paying $50/m for unlimited text and 300 minutes from ATT. My contract is up and I can get a nice slider(but basic, i only want a keyboard) for under $100.

All that aside, modifying software SHOULD NOT void a warranty and they are doing this on piracy grounds. They are trying to remove it so you have to pay $100 a year to test if your app works. Removing it to make $100 a year is enough right there for me to not buy it. On top of that, they are using piracy as a cover.

lipe123 said:

yRaz said:

....

All that aside, modifying software SHOULD NOT void a warranty and they are doing this on piracy grounds. They are trying to remove it so you have to pay $100 a year to test if your app works. Removing it to make $100 a year is enough right there for me to not buy it. On top of that, they are using piracy as a cover.

Suppose you are the wireless carrier store that sell these phones and some guy comes back with his phone 2 weeks after purchase with "it doesn't work anymore, I want a new one because its under warranty".

At lets suppose its bricked because he messed with the software, is it fair to the store to have to pay for a new phone or the shipping and repair costs of that phone?

There should be software and hardware warranties if you ask me.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

Suppose you are the wireless carrier store that sell these phones and some guy comes back with his phone 2 weeks after purchase with "it doesn't work anymore, I want a new one because its under warranty".

At lets suppose its bricked because he messed with the software, is it fair to the store to have to pay for a new phone or the shipping and repair costs of that phone?

Ideally the store could just plug it in to their system and restore it to factory state.

yRaz yRaz said:

Suppose you are the wireless carrier store that sell these phones and some guy comes back with his phone 2 weeks after purchase with "it doesn't work anymore, I want a new one because its under warranty".

At lets suppose its bricked because he messed with the software, is it fair to the store to have to pay for a new phone or the shipping and repair costs of that phone?

There should be software and hardware warranties if you ask me.

Bricking is one thing, simple software mods made by people who KNOW what they are doing should not void a warranty, but that is a valid point.

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