Hard on the heels of yesterday's news item on Windows Phone 7 (WP7) and the unofficial unlocker ChevronWP7 comes the news that Microsoft, rather than being threatened by it, seems to be sympathetic.
One of the developers of ChevronWP7 was contacted by Brandon Watson, Director of Developer experience for WP7, about bringing a more open development environment to WP7.
The offer seems to be that Microsoft will open the platform for a broader access by developers. The strange part of the announcement is that they have decided to withdraw ChevronWP7:
To pursue these goals with Microsoft’s support, Brandon Watson has agreed to engage in further discussions with us about officially facilitating homebrew development on WP7. To fast-track discussions, we are discontinuing the unlocking tool effective immediately.
Why this is necessary isn't entirely clear but it seems to part of the deal. By removing ChevronWP7 from the scene Microsoft certainly gains control of the situation and can move forward with deciding what to make available to developers. For example, they might decide to allow access to inner APIs, such as those used by the ChevronWP7 RingTone manager, but not allow third-party apps to be distributed directly to the phone. Clearly Microsoft needs to address the problem of allowing private enterprise applications and experimental apps a way of being distributed. Being open to run any app the user wants is one of the big advantages of the Android phone platform.
All of this comes as rumours of an early major update to the Windows Phone 7 OS sometime next year gather momentum.
Getting started with Windows Phone 7
Windows Phone 7 - Snakes on a Phone Part 1
Windows Phone 7 - using the Pivot control
Windows Phone 7 - using the Panorama control
Windows Phone 7 - the Bing Maps Control
Windows Phone 7 Go Faster resources
Free Windows Phone 7 video training from Microsoft
Mobile platforms of the world!
Windows 7 Phone - developer tools in beta