The Chevron WP7 homebrew program, which was launched to great fanfare as a way to circumvent Microsoft’s requirements for application development and paved the way for the building blocks of a homebrew software scene has now come to an official end after Microsoft and the ChevronWP7 team looked at the performance of the program and decided it wasn’t worth continuing. The news was published earlier today on a post on the official Chevron WP7 blog.
The ChevronWP7 unlock allowed anyone with a Windows Phone smartphone to unlock the device to allow for the installation of unsigned applications in early 2011, shortly after the official launch of Windows Phone, since Microsoft’s requirements for application development at the time precluded many from developing apps for the platform as a consequence of the cost of entry and limitations placed on developers despite Microsoft offering the actual Windows Phone toolset for free.
ChevronWP7 was developed as a response to Microsoft’s own developer program, and the initial response to the program so great, that it ended up being shut down after two months due to the high volume of requests for the unlock. After massive media atteniton in mid-2011, Microsoft offered an olive branch to the Chevron WP7 developers with a limited amount of official tokens (10,000) to continue the unlock program, this time with tacit approval.
As with the first run of unlocks, this latest wave proved more popular than the first, to the point that both ChevronWP7 and Microsoft decided to suspend the program until both sides could figure out where to take it, as the program never led to notable homebrew software on the Windows Phone Marketplace and never really bridged the enthusiast developer community with the officially sanctioned developer community, which was the original intent behind the offering to begin with.
Now with the program officially at an end, those that purchased the Chevron WP7 unlock will have their handsets relocked 120 days from now, but Microsoft is also offering consolation to those users by offering a fully paid year of Microsoft App Hub as a show of support for everyone’s initiative to at least attempt to develop apps outside of Microsoft’s own development path.
The end of the ChevronWP7 program could also be considered another sign that Windows Phone as a platform is still unattractive to developers despite the volume of unlock tokens sold and the lack of any notable applications surfacing as a result of the program. The end of the program also follows recent media reports confirming that Microsoft is paying millions of dollars in benefits and subsidies to development houses in order to shore up its Windows Phone Marketplace, due to the lack of marquee apps that are are present on iOS and Android.