Microsoft goes rogue_ windows on android

At a recent Windows Hardware Engineering Community summit in China, Windows chief Terry Myerson revealed a number of newsworthy tidbits about Windows 10, the unified operating system whose universal nature will allow developers to code apps which run on a host of different device classes. Android phone games free download apk Headlining the announcements was the expected summer release timetable, followed by free upgrade plans for current users, along with an update on the long-anticipated Windows phone from Lenovo.

At the very end of the news items, almost as an aside, came word of a unprecedented trial that Microsoft is undertaking “in partnership” with popular Chinese handset manufacturer Xiaomi. Best cell phone android According to Myerson, a select group of Xiaomi Mi 4 owners (power users, he calls them) will be invited to test out a custom Windows 10 ROM on their devices.

Www android phone Devices that ship running not Windows out of the box, but Android.

Let me restate that, so the full implications of such a program are clear: Microsoft has prepared a build of Windows 10 for phones, that is capable of powering Android hardware; this is not just an emulator or even a dual-boot option, but an actual replacement for the stock Android firmware.

It should be clear why this potentially explosive piece of news was relegated to an afterthought. Best android phone comparison The idea that Microsoft could make an end-run around manufacturers (many of whom are its partners in other device classes) and offer to turn their handsets into de facto Windows phones by appealing directly to the consumer, flies in the face of everything you thought you knew about the mechanics of the consumer electronics industry.

In fact, this development has so much potential to disrupt the status quo, that even Microsoft’s so-called partner in the endeavor, market leader Xiaomi, made a point of noting that it was simply providing functional assistance, and was not engaged in a partnership in the traditional sense. Hottest android phone Strange bedfellows

It’s not exactly clear what Xiaomi gets out of its involvement with this potentially disruptive project — cash? goodwill? quid pro quo? — especially since the custom ROM which ships pre-loaded on the Mi 4 gives its owners access to the company’s services — access which will presumably disappear once the devices have been flashed to Windows.

As for Microsoft, there seem to be several reasons why Xiaomi made a good choice for the trial. Phone android app For one, customers play a big part in the development of MIUI, Xiaomi’s custom flavor of Android, by delivering feedback on the weekly builds that are released in beta. Android phone to tablet These users are comfortable flashing their phones, hungry for the latest features, and accustomed to providing crucial reports about their experiences.

Secondly, and perhaps even more practically, Microsoft very likely does not want this build seeing a more widespread release (although chefs at XDA-developers and other communities will surely adapt it for all sorts of unintended uses). No 1 android phone By undertaking this project in China, it should serve as a barrier to usage by non-Mandarin speakers. Best android phone currently Finally, exposing Chinese mobile enthusiasts to Windows 10 may encourage them to take a more serious look at the platform for future purchases.

For the last few months, Microsoft was rumored to be on the verge of making a substantial investment in Cyanogen, Inc, makers of Cyanogenmod, a popular alternative ROM available for a host of Android devices. Android phone 128gb At the time, the alleged investment didn’t make a great deal of sense, and the latest reports claim that Redmond will not in fact be participating in Cyanogen’s next round of funding.

But taken in the context of this Xiaomi pilot program, it now seems completely logical that the two companies were engaged in talks — and probably still are, in some capacity or another. Android phone flashing software free download If Microsoft is in fact exploring the possibility of a more widespread rollout of its Windows ROM, no one is more familiar with the mechanics and challenges than Cyanogen. Phone with android lollipop Who needs Windows?

This brings us to our next question: if they build it, will people come? In other words, how likely (or unlikely) would Microsoft be to see any significant market penetration with a third-party Android ROM? After all, these are people who purchased an Android device because… Spreadtrum android phone driver they wanted an Android device, not a Windows Phone.

If the perceived dearth of Windows phone apps is indeed the biggest deterrent keeping consumers away from the platform, then offering it as a flashable alternative doesn’t seem like it would be all that effective; seemingly more promising would be following the BlackBerry path of bringing Android app compatibility to the existing platform and hardware.

Plus, there’s the not-insignificant obstacle of actually getting people to flash their devices, which is both technically-challenging as well as, in many cases, warranty-breaking. Android phone driver windows 8 It’s hard to imagine swarms of Android owners taking the risk of rooting and flashing their phones just to play around with a new and different operating system. Android phone comparison 2015 A reason to hope

That being said, maybe Microsoft wouldn’t need Cyanogen-level adoption to consider such a program a success. Com android phone is not responding After all, its new mantra hinges on simply getting people to use its services, regardless of what platform they’re running on. Com android phone samsung Looking at the situation from that perspective, any increase at all in potential customers is a net positive, even if overall market share doesn’t shift much due to the adopters.

One thing Microsoft does have going for it is the optimization of its code, which has historically allowed Windows Phone to run more smoothly on lower-spec’ed devices than comparable Android handsets. Blu android phone reviews This could be quite a compelling selling point, if marketed properly. What is the best android phone antivirus Imagine that all of a sudden your year-old, mid-range smartphone could perform not just better than it does now, but better, even, than when you bought it.

For now, though, such a scenario is just a pipe dream, extrapolated from a pilot program that even Microsoft itself is not keen on highlighting. Android phone below 5000 There are a million ways that this initiative could die a quick death, meaning that the path to Windows-on-Android is paved with obstacles and landmines.

However, if the company can somehow pull this off without alienating partners and confusing consumers, it seems like a unique way to let people test drive a platform that its fans swear by. Android phone joystick At the very least, the Xiaomi Experiment proves that Redmond is not afraid to think outside the box when it comes to the crucial mobile space — and in this case, that could end up benefiting the entire category.