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Windows Phone emulator unlocked

The Windows Phone 7 emulator released at Mix this week had a fair bit of Microsoft's stuff hidden, but one developer managed to jimmy his way in.

At its Mix10 event this week, Microsoft released a software emulator for the Windows Phone 7 platform, but kept a lot of its own programs and features hidden.

However, with a bit of work, one developer says he has unlocked those features making them available for the world to see and play with.

"I still cannot believe it but I did it," Don Ardelean said in a blog post early Friday. "After a good idea, 6 hours of work and a lot a lot of digging I've unlocked the ROM image in the emulator CTP. I will describe tomorrow the method but right now I will just post some screenshots, upload the bin somewhere so I can give you the link and go to sleep cause it's almost 2 o'clock in the morning."

Windows Phone was clearly the star of the show at Mix. But while Microsoft had lots of sessions on how developers can write their own programs for the phones, Microsoft kept much of its own work under wraps. The software maker had prototype phones in its booth at the show, but employees were careful not to let the devices out of their hands and have kept a good chunk of their work--such as the mobile version of Office--to themselves.

As shown over on Engadget, unlocking the emulator allows a look at the Windows Phone versions of Word and Excel--at least whatever early versions Microsoft included in the emulator.

Sensing that Microsoft might not be too happy with his discovery, Ardelean said he decided to take down the unlocked version of the emulator.

"I have decided to take down the link because Microsoft could get upset and I don't really want that (if someone at Microsoft will tell me that it doesn't bother them I will put it back)," Ardelean said. "Anyway I will explain later how I was able to do it (cause it was done for educational purposes only) and I think this won't cause me problems. Right? :)"

I'll check in with the folks in Redmond this morning to see what they have to say.

Update 10:30 a.m. PDT: No word yet from Microsoft. But, for those who want to see what the unlocked emulator reveals (without having to find the code), TechAU has two good videos on its site.

With their permission, I've posted a screenshot gallerywith images from those videos.

Update 2:20 p.m. PDT: Microsoft e-mailed the following statement: "We are extremely pleased with the level of excitement we're seeing for Windows Phone Developer Tools. When we decided to provide a Windows Phone 7 Emulator as part of the tools, we anticipated that people would attempt to unlock and explore the code. We have been very clear that the emulator is based on early code and is not reflective of the final user experience. Windows Phone 7 is still under development. The UI has been disabled to avoid confusion and allow developers to focus on testing applications on the underlying platform. We continue to recommend that developers use the emulator as provided to avoid any issues and unpredictability that may be introduced by an unlocked version."