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Windows Phone 7 unlocked, Visual Basic support added

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Windows Phone 7 isn’t yet a month old, but hackers have already jailbroken the phone. According to The Register, the first jailbreaking app is now available for Microsoft’s fledgling OS, enabling users to install unsigned, unapproved applications on Windows phones. Previously, users had to register as a developer and pay $99 to enable the installation of unsigned apps, but the ChevronWP7 unlocking tool gives all users this ability.

To jailbreak a phone is to free it from artificial limitations set by manufacturers and carriers. An obvious benefit is the ability to install any application on a phone instead of the filtered, approved applications on OS and carrier app stores. In some devices, the technique also allows a phone to be moved to another carrier. Developer tools and features are sometimes opened up as well, enabling far more control over phone functions than manufacturers or carriers intended.

Jailbreaking techniques and apps are available for Apple’s iPhone 4 and Android devices. Recently, hackers have even conjured up a way to run Android on iPhone hardware. However, playing around with these devices does come with risks. Malware, adware, and viruses have started to creep up on smartphones.

Visual Basic comes to WP7

In related news, Microsoft has announced that developers can now create Silverlight WP7 apps in Visual Basic and get them placed in the Windows Phone Marketplace. Developers must have Visual Studio 2010 Pro or higher. Visual Basic was first introduced by Microsoft in 1991 to spur developer growth on the Windows platform. It is considered one of the easier programming languages to learn. Hopefully the move will help the Windows Phone Marketplace compete with Android Market and the Apple App Store, which both have tens of thousands (perhaps hundreds of thousands) more apps and games than WP7.