With Microsoft implementation of Apple’s tight-grip strategy on mobile, a lot of power users are upset that many power features will be removed or crippled as a result of the new direction Microsoft is taking with Windows Phone 7. Among the issue is that sideloading applications would not be available to the average consumer–you can read our sideloading article for additional details. However, given that the Zune HD has similar lockdown constraints and that developers have been able to break through Microsoft’s imposed limitations to load a port of Doom, hope is there for a “jailbreaking” method to allow power users to “unlock” powerful features that are not officially sanctioned nor supported by Microsoft.
Microsoft in its design of Windows Phone had chosen to focus on the user experience rather than powerful feature; the company is making this radical departure from the extensibility and flexibility of Windows Mobile in order to move its mobile OS from a niche market to a more mainstream consumer and enterprise audience. Such a move by Microsoft could lead users to perform hacks to regain those functionalities, and we’ve seen some of those taken on the iPhone.
Actions from competitor Apple, which exerts control and often cripples more powerful features on its iPhone platform–like file sharing, a true file management feature, and Bluetooth profiles to name a few–have led users of the platform to hack their devices in a process widely known as jailbreaking. Jailbreaking the iPhone allows users to add features and functionality to their devices in areas where Apple had imposed limitations. For instance, before the release of iPhone OS 4.0, jailbreaking can allow users to add home screen backgrounds, multitask, create folders, access the file system of the iPhone through SSH protocols, and more.
Given that the Zune HD is now hacked–or “jailbroken”–users can perhaps gain hope that developers and hackers on the XDA-Developers community or other online forums can free the shackles of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 when that OS is released on devices later this year.