ChevronWP7's three developers, Long Zheng, Rafael Rivera, and Chris Walsh, have announced ChevronWP7 Labs, a Windows Phone unlocking service that requires a small fee via PayPal. Most importantly, Microsoft has approved this device unlocking solution, which will be available to developers across all skill levels and all regions. While this is good news, it's rather frustrating that there is no timeline for when to expect this service, though it's not too big a surprise, since Microsoft is now actively participating in the process.
"The service will require a small fee — currently via PayPal — to offset costs but we assure you it will be more affordable than the App Hub," the ChevronWP7 team said in a statement. "Those who wish to write and immediately publish apps are recommended to sign up to the App Hub instead. We're excited to be making this service available to users with the support of the Windows Phone team."
The news follows a long period of silence regarding the homebrew scene for Windows Phone 7. Five months ago, the ChevronWP7 team met for two full days with various members of the Windows Phone 7 team. They discussed homebrew support for the platform, why it's important, the groups of people it affects, its direct and indirect benefits, and how to manage any risks. The two groups agreed to develop Windows Phone 7 homebrew support together, but nothing was heard since. Now we know that they're still working on it, but beyond the fact that it will cost you a little, we don't know much more.
Last year, ChevronWP7 was discontinued less than a week after its release. ChevronWP7's three developers were approached by Brandon Watson, Director of Developer Experience for Windows Phone 7, and told to kill their app. In return, Microsoft agreed to allow them to become more involved with the shaping of the homebrew scene on the Windows Phone platform, but emphasized that the ChevronWP7 tool would not be the way to do so.