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Chevron Dies But HomeBrew Is About To Take Off

imageMixed emotion day around here. So as you probably know, Chevron has been discontinued and that’s not just stopping downloads – the unlock tool has been disabled as a certificate it launched was actually on their servers. In fact, unlocked phones are effectively relocked now (which indicates that the trick they played was that the certificate that the phone looked for to verify that it was unlocked was on their server and they merely redirected the url the phone looked for to their servers instead of MS’s which is otherwise used for dev devices; and now a relock tool is required). But from all indications, the homebrew team appears to have gone in-house. I’ve mentioned that Long Zheng has close ties to MS and was even on their campus recently but from their recent announcement, it may be that the team is now working with/for MS directly. And the end result may just be an MS approved unlock for Windows Phones. In other words, the hacking days may return in an authorized form for those of us that want it. And this all started when Brandon Watson reached out to the team and “Brandon Watson has agreed to engage in further discussions with us about officially facilitating homebrew development on WP7.” And to enforce the notion that they’re now working together, they state “We are excited to explore the opportunity to become more involved with the shaping of the platform and to build a feedback channel for developers around the world.”

So it looks like the Chevron Team is about to become a wing of MS. Just think about it – an authorized unlock from MS that you can participate in and officially launch unofficial apps and permissibly modify your device. You get everything that’s great about Windows Phone with the ability, if you want it, to still tweak away but without the cat and mouse game. This can actually build a real following and lead to a lot of projects that help the platform. Looking at what the Chevron guys did, they were already working on tweaks to the OS that we’d all love to have – custom ringtones, wifi hotspots and hardware reassignment. The speed of MS developing Windows Phone hasn’t been the fastest…sure we saw updates from the initial test phones to the final release OS but they have a lot of ground to make up here and a team like this (along with the rest of the homebrew community) can really pump out some fast updates. Just imagine if MS was actually willing to accept source code from the dev community to integrate into the OS. Not only would that really grow their following but it would close the OS gap and since there’s a ton of original thought out there, and as long as MS parsed through the code and optimized it, they could really have an interesting model here to advance the entire platform in an original way.

Well, here’s to dreaming at least. But this isn’t the last we’ve heard of Rafael Rivera, Chris Walsh and Long Zheng…