We don’t think of Windows Phone as having the same app piracy problems that affect Android and iOS, but the platform is far from immune. In an effort to halt piracy in its tracks, Microsoft intends to implement a new encryption protocol for XAP packages, as revealed to Ars Technica during a discussion on ChevronWP7 issues.
So far, the lack of public unlocking tools has limited the ability of Windows Phone users to make non-Marketplace installs, acting as a big roadblock against piracy. With the arrival of the cheap new ChevronWP7 unlock process, it seems that Microsoft is starting to show concern.
Apparently, support for server-side encryption of XAPs is already present in Mango, and Microsoft is waiting until Mango deployment is more complete before it switches over to the new system. The implementation details of the new encryption aren’t yet available, so we can’t comment on how robust this DRM may be, but you can bet that at least some Windows Phone hackers will take a shot at developing tools to remove it.
If all goes as planned, you shouldn’t notice the change at all. If this is to be an effective tool against piracy, it only stands to reason that Microsoft would need to cease all distribution of non-encrypted apps; let’s hope those Mango releases for the Samsung Focus 1.4 and the DVP on AT&T get here soon!