Last year ChevronWP7 Labs — in conjunction with Microsoft — began selling $9 tokens that would allow owners of Windows Phone devices to unlock their phones and sideload apps. It was intended as a way to promote developer adoption of the Windows Phone platform, but the experiment has now drawn to a close. According to the team, while the project saw massive uptake from users, it didn't translate into an influx of new apps, with most participants simply unlocking their devices "for non-developmental reasons." The program also led to confusion as to the exact capabilities provided by the solution, as well as an influx of support requests. Microsoft's original agreement with ChevronWP7 Labs allowed for a maximum of 10,000 unlock tokens to be sold, a limit that was reached back in January, and given the results thus far both Microsoft and ChevronWP7 Labs decided to put a stop to the practice.
While other jailbreak options do exist in the wild, this marks the shutdown of the only platform-wide solution, to say nothing of the only officially-sanctioned one. Those that purchased a token do have reason to be happy, however, as they will be receiving a one-year membership to the Microsoft App Hub. ChevronWP7 has instructions on how users can claim their membership — it's not the most streamlined of procedures, with participants required to buy their own $99 membership and then receiving a refund — but it should take some of the sting away, as well as encourage more Windows Phone app development.