Back when Windows Phone 7 was released, the folks over at Team ChevronWP7 released a tool that allowed users to install apps on their WP7 devices without having to go through the Windows Marketplace. It wasn’t too long before Microsoft made them remove the tool from their website and stopped it from working. The homebrew community was in an uproar over the whole situation, but Team ChevronWP7 said they were going to work together with Microsoft to provide an alternative method to sideloading apps in the future.
And it looks like that day has come – but not how everybody expected. Team ChevronWP7 has announced on its blog that it will be providing the app sideloading tool in the near future but there’s going to be a catch: it won’t be free. The tool will be approved by the Windows Phone team, and it’s not for users to write apps for the Marketplace – those people will still have to go through the official App Hub. Other than that, no details have been revealed but expect to find out more soon.
This raises some interesting questions though. Android users root for free, iOS users jailbreak for free, why do Windows Phone 7 users have to pay a fee for this feature? The whole point of the sideloader was so that users who wanted to sideload apps didn’t have to pay Microsoft a developer fee in the first place. What do you think of having to pay for a tool like the Chevron WP7 unlocker?