After the ChevronWP7 Labs project, which allowed to unlock Windows Phones to enable them to run homebrew apps, reached the 10k downloads mark, it was closed early January and so far there was no further information how this project is continuing, or not. Now, Brandon Watson, one of the brains behind ChevronWP7 and Chevron WP7 Labs, announced that the service is closing. According to him, the goal of this experiment was two-fold: "First, to determine if we could supercharge the Windows Phone beginner/hobbyist community by removing the initial cost barrier (i.e. App Hub membership). And second, to convert potential developers into published developers."
Working with Microsoft over the past few months, the ChevronWP7 Labs team finished analyzing the resulting data and acknowledges that it indeed could supercharge the Windows Phone beginner/hobbyist community by removing the initial cost barrier. However, Watson also acknowledged now that it didn't work out so well to convert potential developers into published developers.
Anyway, as a result, both sides - Microsoft and the ChevronWP7 Labs team, amicably agreed to discontinue the ChevronWP7 Labs experiment and shutting down the service in general! And this mean, that Windows Phone 7 unlocks issued through the ChevronWP service will expire 120 days after April 13, 2012. If ChevronWP7 customers choose to sign up for the Microsoft App Hub membership, they will be able to re-unlock the phone after expiration!
Nevertheless, not everything is lost (yet). Existing customers, in supported countries (only) will receive a complimentary (and free) 12 months upgrade to a Microsoft App Hub membership.Users who wish to take advantage of this will need to sign up with the same Live ID as their ChevronWP7 Labs account and complete App Hub account registration with a credit card (the purchase is said to be refunded shortly after).
Definitely a bad move and sad day for the Windows Phone homebrew community and quite honestly, I wasn't aware that the unlock tokens I purchased were time-bombed. At the end of the day, I'm not a developer but wanted to take benefit from the homebrew developer community and therefore I neither had nor have any interest to purchase a Microsoft App Hub membership for US$ 99 a year.
Cheers ~ Arne