Microsoft is making a ROM that allows Android smartphones to run Windows 10 for phones

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Microsoft announced earlier today that it was collaborating with Xiaomi in providing Mi 4 customers with a flashable ROM that allows them to run Windows 10 for phones on their Android devices. It looks like that program is set for a wider rollout, according to a report on TechCrunch:

Full story from the WindowsCentral blog...
 

pericle

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I am a bit confused by this, does this mean that the phone will come preloaded with Windows 10 or that it will come with Android and the user has to separately install Windows 10 on top of Android?
 

a5cent

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^ No, it remains an Android phone, but customers who like to experiment will be able to flash a WP ROM to that particular device, at which point it becomes a WP rather than an Android device. WP isn't installed "on top of" Android, but fully replaces it.

I suspect we'll see this happen for other select devices too.
 

rockstarzzz

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This is really cool! I can see Microsoft hit critical mass, very quickly with this. It's like OEMs don't want to make WP? Fine. We will make software that runs on anything. But this should not be full blown W10 though. That should only come pre-loaded.
 

kklemn

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i support the idea! a lot of people experiment with their android devices... i can imagine people with low end devices, that are losing minds because of non fluid performance, trying WP eventually, and be happy about it. after a while maybe buy a windows phone :)
 

D M C

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Now there is no reason to buy Lumia or Any other WP.

You can get everything on Android even W10 with Cortana support.

If you buy Android it means you are buying two phones Windows and Android both.
You can easily switch between them without spending a single penny.
 

a5cent

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We will make software that runs on anything. But this should not be full blown W10 though. That should only come pre-loaded.

Why not full W10M? MS isn't earning anything from W10M. Might as well give people everything MS has to offer and hope they stick with it, rather than change back to Android.
This also won't run on just anything. W10M will still require very specific Qualcomm SoCs and every device will require a custom ROM.

MS must select devices that match W10M's hardware requirements and will likely target devices that are widespread in China and India. I don't know how many devices that group includes, but I'm guessing it's not large.
 

JM_T

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If Microsoft will release a desktop tool for flashing that custom ROM onto a (soon to be former) Android device, I suppose that would have the ability to load specific drivers/firmware for that device as well. Probably it could detect the device automatically if not the user would have to manually input information about it. Either the necessary driver/firmware is preloaded as a package with the desktop tool or it retrieves it from a server.
 

a5cent

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^ Not happening. It will be just like any other ROM, which includes all the necessary drivers and firmware in a single and thoroughly tested (by all involved parties) package.
 

rockstarzzz

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Why not full W10M? MS isn't earning anything from W10M. Might as well give people everything MS has to offer and hope they stick with it, rather than change back to Android.
This also won't run on just anything. W10M will still require very specific Qualcomm SoCs and every device will require a custom ROM.

MS must select devices that match W10M's hardware requirements and will likely target devices that are widespread in China and India. I don't know how many devices that group includes, but I'm guessing it's not large.

​What is the incentive of buying a Windows Phone then? We know Android phones have higher specs. Why would any OEM want to make phones pre-loaded with Windows when they know plenty of users buy into Android easily and then switch to Windows OS on their own. They would rather make devices for the platform they know will sell in store, rather than bet on Windows Phone. This can also mean, we will never see HTC One M10 for Windows launch with M10 for Android. Because, if end user wants Windows, maybe M10 that sells like hot cakes with Android on it will make more money to HTC than making M10 for Windows.
 

a5cent

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^ I'd argue that any smartphone that runs the WP OS is a Windows Phone.

I don't think it matters what hardware the OS runs on, or what label the hardware was originally sold under. Why should it?

All that matters is the number of people actively using WP. Anything that raises that number is good IMHO. No?
 

tgp

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^ Not happening. It will be just like any other ROM, which includes all the necessary drivers and firmware in a single and thoroughly tested (by all involved parties) package.

Likely, but wouldn't that mean that it would be limited to specific devices? Android reportedly is on 1,600 different devices, and that was awhile ago. New ones are coming out all the time. It would be a logistical nightmare for Microsoft to prepare a ROM for and thoroughly test each one.

My guess is that the flashable WP ROM is limited to certain devices. If so, Microsoft will probably choose devices based on their market share and on their ease of flashing another ROM (unlockable bootloader).

All that matters is the number of people actively using WP. Anything that raises that number is good IMHO. No?

Indeed! Actually, an Android flashed to WP is the best of both worlds for Microsoft. They get the patent money from the manufacturer, plus it's running WP!
 

a5cent

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Indeed! Actually, an Android flashed to WP is the best of both worlds for Microsoft. They get the patent money from the manufacturer, plus it's running WP!

Just to be clear, it would run either one or the other OS, never both. Not sure how MS would handle IP licensing in that scenario.
As for everything else you said, yes, that's how it will be. MS will release a set of ROMs targeting a specific number of devices. One specific ROM per device. Since they'd be collaborating with the OEM the usual restrictions (unlockable bootloader, etc) probably don't apply.
Popular devices with large market shares, that also meet WP's hardware requirements, and a cooperative OEM, is probably all that's required.
 

tgp

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Just to be clear, it would run either one or the other OS, never both. Not sure how MS would handle IP licensing in that scenario.

Yes, true, but if the phone is originally sold as an Android, the licensing fee would apply, wouldn't it? For example, someone buys a Samsung Galaxy S5. Samsung would have paid the royalty to Microsoft for that device. The buyer later decides to flash WP on it since it's available. Microsoft has already gotten the royalty since it was retailed as an Android, but it's now running WP.

That said, not all Androids are subject to the royalty. From what I understand, it's mainly those that have SD cards. Even then, maybe Microsoft would cut some kind of a deal with the manufacturers to waive the royalty if they work with them on a flashable WP ROM.
 

a5cent

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^ That last sentence is what I'm thinking too. For the OEM, getting WP to run on their hardware is a bit more involved than just pressing an "install" button. It costs development dollars. With < 1% WP market share in China, I suspect MS must offer something to get OEMs interested in this idea. Waving royalty fees seems like the most likely approach. All speculation of course.
 

ajaya p

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Now there is no reason to buy Lumia or Any other WP.

You can get everything on Android even W10 with Cortana support.

If you buy Android it means you are buying two phones Windows and Android both.
You can easily switch between them without spending a single penny.

You are 100% right. If we buy a windows phone its only work wp OS and small store. If we buy a android phone that mean wp and android os work on a android with a big play store, Cortana.
so now I wait windows 10 if Microsoft windows 10 update comes with best feature with compare android. I am buy a new wp and use continuously. If windows 10 not comes with best features I switch to android and enjoy both operating system , Cortana. And I compare my friends WP to my android phone
 

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