Long Zheng has reported that at TechEd today they went into more details on unlocking. And folks, you may not want to hear all of it. Here’s the deal – for $99 a developer can unlock 3 phones (more may be considered on request). That was known already. The new news is the method to unlock. There’s a PC side app that simply asks for the Live ID to be registered on the phone. “The process simply flags that device in the cloud backend and does not change the phone ROM in any way. Once completed, developers can view through the Marketplace website which contains a listing of all their registered devices as well as removing the device registration.” So unlocking is not really an on-device change. This is really MS, on their server, so I question if this means you can freely sideload the way we all thought it would happen. I think the end results is that you may need to upload the app to a private cloud (like beta testing) and then load it to your phone. It’s a controlled environment.
The more I think about it the less I really care. WP7 is being delivered with a working core experience and apps will matter less with it since the OS itself is one massive fully functional app. But that’s me. Tell me why I’m wrong.