Microsoft Flips the Switch on XAP Encryption
Often when companies incorporate anti-piracy updates, they tend to leave the app more or less alone and focus on preventing its spread. Sometimes, though, companies flip the switch on a new anti-piracy feature, and it breaks many things for the development community. This happened recently with Windows Phone 7, as it has been confirmed that Microsoft has turned on XAP encryption.
Brought to our attention by XDA Forum Member LastBattle in this discussion thread, this new protection for XAPs is already causing a lot of issues for those who are unlocked. While some devices have remained unaffected, many devices are currently suffering from minor issues, such as not being able to update certain applications. For now, Bing Translation and Whatsapp have been confirmed as apps that are causing problems, but there could very well be more as proper testing hasn’t been conducted yet. For those who are not developer unlocked, though, there should be no noticeable changes in the day-to-day operations of your device.
The XAP encryption is very much a catch-22 for the WP development community. On one hand, theming paid apps is now off limits and decompiling them via normal means for code study is no longer possible. On the other hand, developers are now much more protected from piracy than they were previously. Overall, though, the XAP encryption is a positive step forward for developers, who can now have a little more faith in releasing their works for WP devices and not worry about them getting pirated. This may even help drive more applications into the Zune Marketplace, which is something WP users have been clamoring for.
For additional information, check out the discussion thread linked above.