Walls tumbling down

Apple has taken a fair bit of criticism for its locked-down approach to the iPhone. The only Apple-approved way of installing apps onto the iPhone is, of course, to go through the App Store. Apps that aren't approved for the App Store - including some very useful ones - like Wi-fi Sync - are basically stuck.

So naturally people started trying to get round the restrictions, and jailbreaking was born. For the last three years the hacking community has played an odd game of tag with Apple, each new release of iOS being freshly jailbroken within days of release - or in the case of this week's release of iOS 4.2.1, before release.

Well, Apple must be doing something right, because Microsoft adopted the same approach with Windows Phone 7, which it released a few weeks ago. And, inevitably, WP7 has now also been jailbroken. A new tool, ChevronWP7, lets you break Microsoft's protections, allowing you to 'side-load' non-approved apps and fiddle with some extra settings. It's early days, but we reckon as WP7 spreads, we'll soon see hundreds of 'jailbreak apps' letting people have some fun with their WP7 devices.

Of course, if all this sounds a bit crazy, you might want to consider an Android device. Android isn't closed-down and any compatible application can be installed, so all this is unnecessary. And with Android 2.3 due in a few weeks and expected to bring major improvements, there's never been a better time...

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