After news of a jailbreaking/rooting solution was reported on the Internet by the name of ChevronWP7, Microsoft has come out to advise users against employing or utilizing ChevronWP7 on their Windows Phone 7 devices.
According to the developers behind ChevronWP7, the tool will allow users to enable “the sideloading of experimental applications that would otherwise can’t be published to the Marketplace, such as those which access private or native APIs,” features that are not enabled by Microsoft on stock, unmodified devices much like how Apple had locked down the iPhone to its own ecosystem. Potentially, while ChevronWP7 may enable piracy of Windows Phone 7 apps, the big upside potential is that it could open up a gray market of home-brewed apps that would otherwise extend the functionality of WIndows Phone devices with apps that would not have been approved for Windows Phone Marketplace to begin with.
Rooting, or jailbreaking, is a way of gaining access to the core system and will allow for more unrestricted use of a device. The process was recently made legal by revisions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and we’ve seen the potential on the iPhone. On that device, among the many features that are enabled by jailbreaking, developers were able to bring multitasking to iOS before Apple had done so, brought Google Voice, and also delivered customized icons and wallpaper solutions when Apple had limited the iPhone to a drab black background.
In regards to Windows Phone 7, Microsoft had issued the following warning:
We anticipated that people would attempt to unlock the phones and explore the underlying operating system. We encourage people to use their Windows Phone as supplied by the manufacturer to ensure the best possible user experience. Attempting to unlock a device could void the warranty, disable phone functionality, interrupt access to Windows Phone 7 services or render the phone permanently unusable.
It’s unclear at this time, however, if Microsoft will take the more relaxed approach that Google is taking with Android and rooting or if the company will aggressively play the cat and mouse game with hackers to patch any exploits taken by jailbreaking with successive patches and updates that will block ChevonWP7; this latter approach is more keenly used by Apple with iOS.