PhoneMag has reported some problems getting certain applications to install and/or sync with their desktop companions, and is worried that this might indicate that these new Smartphones are “app locked” – that is, the carriers have “locked” them so that you can only install applications that have been signed/approved by them. On an “app-locked” Smartphone, you can’t install whatever applications you want, unless you unlock the phone to remove this block. Note that this is completely different from SIM locking, which prevents you from using a SIM card from another carrier.
PhoneMag reports problems getting SplashID to sync between the Smartphone and the PC, and as a test, they tried to install PHM Registry Editor, and were unsuccessful. I haven’t done any tests myself yet (as I haven’t gotten my hands on an MPX220 or SMT5600), but I have never been able to get PHM Registry Editor to install using the traditional ActiveSync .exe installer – I always have to copy the .CAB file directly to the phone, and install it from there (this was also pointed out in the comments section of the PhoneMag article). So this might not be a completely valid test.
If it turns out that these new Smartphones are, in fact, app locked, you can bet that a market for unlocking them will spring up overnight, just like SIM unlocking. Who wants to be told by their carrier what applications you can and can’t install on your device?