The concept of a sanctioned way to sideload apps seemed like a huge windfall for all involved. Let people sideload things, like apps that let you take screenshots for example. Some of the need for this were reduced when the beta testing was made available since devs could give beta downloads to third parties without an unlock but there was still a lot of desire and need for unlocking. Well after 10,000 unlocks it’s over. Mostly because the people buying the unlock codes didn’t understand the product and ruined it for the rest of us. End result? You can expect the third party unlockers to come back again and show exploits to the OS that will permit sideloading (like the iPhone and we can play cat and mouse all day on this game). Oh well. Hopefully Microsoft will just handle this in house and for free and let sideloading be sanctioned in the future.

Here’s the official Chevron statement on the issue:

The ChevronWP7 Labs experiment comes to an end

tl;dr The ChevronWP7 Labs service is closing. Existing customers will receive a complimentary upgrade to a Microsoft App Hub membership.

So, you may recall that ChevronWP7 Labs sold about 10,000 developer-unlock tokens in a matter of two months. Working with Microsoft over the past few months, we finished analyzing the resulting data.

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.

While we kicked butt on the former, the latter didn’t work out so well. Our data indicates that most developers simply unlocked their devices for non-developmental reasons and never went all the way to publish an app in the marketplace. There was also some confusion about the actual purpose of the ChevronWP7 service – some folks thought we provided SIM-unlock capabilities, while others thought we were a hacker group providing full root access. On top of this, there were a larger than expected number of support emails.

As a result, both sides amicably agreed to discontinue the ChevronWP7 Labs experiment.

Fear not, we will continue to explore other ideas with Microsoft. All sides are still very interested in the hobbyist and homebrew developer communities.

As a thank you gift, courtesy of Microsoft, we will be offering paid ChevronWP7 Labs users a free upgrade to a one-year membership of Windows Phone App Hub.

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. (Your purchase will then be refunded shortly after.) More details on this below.

All of us involved – Rafael Rivera, Chris Walsh, Long Zheng and the Windows Phone team at Microsoft — are very proud to have been able to bring the ChevronWP7 Labs experiment to fruition and are excited for what the future holds.

/shout out to Brandon Watson

Upgrade offer for ChevronWP7 Labs customers: Conditions for ChevronWP7 Labs customers to receive a Microsoft App Hub Annual Membership at no cost

Microsoft is offering existing paid ChevronWP7 customers a complimentary upgrade to a Microsoft App Hub membership.

Here are the details of the offer:

  1. ChevronWP7 paid customers can sign up to Microsoft App Hub for one year from supported countries or regions. (Note: Microsoft will only be able to support developers in countries or regions where payouts are supported, see list)
  2. If a ChevronWP7 customer signs up, Microsoft will refund the first year’s registration fee via Credit Card charge reversal.
  3. Conditions:
  • ChevronWP7 customers need to register using the same email address they used to register for ChevronWP Labs service. This email address needs to be provided in the ‘personal details’ step of the App Hub registration.
  • ChevronWP7 customers need to sign up within 60 days after April 13, 2012 or ChevronWP7 customers have signed up for App Hub on or after January 1st 2012.
  • Only one App Hub account per email will be refunded.

Go to the Microsoft App Hub registration page to signup: http://create.msdn.com/en-us/home/membership

FAQ

  • How long does it take to receive a refund?
    All eligible refunds will be processed monthly 60 days after April 13, 2012. It may take up to 60 additional days for the refund to appear on your credit card statement.
  • What will happen to the unlocks provided by ChevronWP7?
    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.
  • What if I’m in a country where Microsoft App Hub membership is not available?
    If you are in a country or region not covered by Microsoft App Hub (see list) there’s no possibility to take advantage of this offer at this time. However as Microsoft is adding new countries and regions regularly, ChevronWP7 customers might want to check back for expended availability to take advantage of the offer.
  • Where can I get help if I have trouble to register?
    You can find help on the support page http://create.msdn.com/en-US/home/feedback or for help with Registration and Account Sign In, send an email to apphub@microsoft.com

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