As announced Friday evening, ChevronWP7 will be back anytime soon but this time as ChevronWP7 Labs, which won't be free of charge any longer. While the original ChevronWP7 tool allowed Windows Phone 7 developers and end users to unlock their devices to side-load non Marketplace apps, ChevronWP7 Labs will do the same but won't come as a free solution. After the developers agreed with Microsoft to take down the original ChevronWP7 tool, both parties worked on a solution to bring back the service and the result seems to be ChevronWP7 Labs. However, it's now designed for developers which wish to write and test their apps before they might want to subscribe to Microsoft's App Hub.
It's said that the service fee has to be paid via PayPal but that it will be more affordable than Microsoft's App Hub service fee; even if it is yet not said if it will be a yearly or one time fee.
While this is an important and major step forward to possibly generate more developers interest for the Windows Phone 7 platform, it's definitely bad news for the regular end-user because this makes side-loading homebrewed apps impossible without paying for the device unlock. I hoped for a more end-user friendly follow-up solution when the original ChevronWP7 tool was taken down by Microsoft's request.
Cheers ~ Arne