Annex is free for everyone participating in the project - it always has been, and always will be.
Annex will be free to the public, and always will be... IF it is eventually released.
The IF, and version timeout, and minor free update inconvenience, and optional licencing ... were not even contemplated at the beginning of beta testing. The version timeout is a direct consequence of non-participation members, because it raised unavoidable questions about their motives, leading on to the possibility for abuse of privilege and piracy.
So it is ironic that it's the same non-participating members who are complaining about the version timeouts and licence mechanism ... who actually caused them to be introduced due to persistently ignoring all requests to participate.
But that's ok... because it resulted in the possibility for remaining Annex users to licence Annex devices for profit if wished, even if eventually it may incur some minor cost. Which certainly adds incentive for development, and for discovering ever more astonishing capabilities of Annex.
But Annex will still always be available for free, even if with a minor inconvenience a few times a year for those who choose not to pay a trifle to gain unlimited convenience.