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.
Microsoft have worked with the team throughout the process, and that continues as the project winds down. Every individual who has picked up an unlock token has the opportunity for one year's complimentary membership of Microsoft's AppHub - normally a $99 fee. This will allow you unlock up to three Windows Phone devices for development purposes (i.e. side-load an run unsigned applications).
What it doesn't cover is the significant percentage of ChevronWP7 users that were using the service simply so they could run other people's homebrew apps. For them the $10 fee was manageable, but I don't think they'll continue with AppHub's $99 once their free year is up. And of course new users will have no choice, but to pay the $99 fee.
Included in the above category are those writing about Windows Phone who want access to a screen capture application. This includes most of the AAWP team - only Rafe has an AppHub account - the rest of us are using the ChevreonWP7 Labs unlock.
Microsoft were smart when the ChevronWP7 team first came out with the unlock ability and worked with them. I wonder if they'll continue to be smart now they have to deal with the homebrew issue themselves. The AppHub offer is a good start, but let's see what else comes out of Redmond... if anything.