Windows Mobile and Windows CE devices have been pretty hacker-friendly since the get-go. Windows Phone 7, on the other hand, isn’t. Microsoft is insisting that developers use Silverlight and XNA to write apps for the platform, even though those aren’t the tools Microsoft used for building the OS and its core apps. But one hacker has figured out a way to write apps for Windows Phone 7 using native code… which means that they can access root settings including the full file system and Windows registry.
Theoretically this could lead to software which will allow users to jailbreak, root, or unlock their phones… depending on what terminology the Windows Phone 7 crowd decides to adopt for the act of freeing their phones to run unsupported code.
Of course, there are reasons Microsoft and other mobile OS makers lock down their operating systems. If you install an unsupported app, you have only yourself to blame if something goes wrong. But if you don’t want to play by Microsoft’s rules, you might want to follow the progress of this hack.
Unfortunately right now there’s no way to load apps using native code onto non-developer phones, since all Windows Phone 7 apps have to be downloaded from the Windows Phone Marketplace — and Microsoft probably isn’t going to accept apps meant to get around Microsoft’s own restrictions. But Windows Phone 7 is still a young platform. I’m sure it won’t be that long before someone figures out how to sideload unofficial apps.