Windows Phone 7 Open for Business: Homebrew, Hacking through ChevronWP7

Microsoft’s new WP7 OS for smartphones has received its first “developer mode unlock” which lets you install whatever you want on it. While this doesn’t address the PVK problems regarding WP7 and modified operating systems that can get you banned from Xbox Live, it does work and is reversible. Think of it like the WP7 version of an iPhone jailbreak.

The WP7 hack is called ChevronWP7 and it does its job without you needing to be a hacker or even familiar with basic command line. Just download the program to your PC, plug in your WP7 device, follow the instructions on screen and you’re all set. While there really isn’t anything going on yet in the homebrew department for WP7, you can rest assured that the situation will quickly change. A Cydia store for WP7 anyone?

Why would anyone want to hack their WP7 device though? Doesn’t Microsoft pretty much let anyone distribute their stuff through their online store? Not quite. Apps that want to take full advantage of what the hardware can actually do are left out. Check out the video below of a quick demo of augmented reality on a WP7 device.

Without the phone being in developer mode, it couldn’t have installed or run the app since Microsoft isn’t allowing anyone access to certain hardware or software features yet. While Microsoft may let developers tinker around more at a later date, don’t plan on WP7 being anything like Android when it comes to openness and customizability. It’s not the end of the world. Expect WP7 to try to walk the line between Android and iOS if that’s possible.

If you want to free your WP7 smartphone from the shackles of Microsoft, then Google up ‘chevronwp7’. The makers (Rafael Rivera, Chris Walsh and Long Zheng) of ChevronWP7 claim that their hack is safe and completely reversible. Of course, any messing around like this will probably cause Microsoft to just roll its eyes at you if you screw up, so do so at your own risk. The standard jailbreak/unlocking/rooting/etc. warning applies here—backup first and keep your fingers crossed.

Think WP7 has a chance against iOS and Android? Happy that the first developer mode unlock has already come out? Planning on trying this yourself? Let me know!

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