ChevronWP7 Labs Windows Phone Unlocking Experiment comes to an end

Last year we told you about a service from ChevronWP7 Labs that enabled you to unlock your Windows Phone. The “experiment” now comes to an end.

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This is what they just posted:

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.

This is a real shame, and to be honest I see it as a bit of setback for the hobbyist community, but I can also completely understand why they chose to do this.

Did you use the service? What do you think about the decision?