Microsoft plans on turning Android handsets into Windows 10 phones using custom ROMs

Microsoft plans on turning Android handsets into Windows 10 phones using custom ROMs
On Tuesday, we told you that Microsoft was planning on testing Windows 10 with power users sporting the Android powered Xiaomi Mi 4. Xiaomi is assisting Microsoft with the tests although it stresses that it is not partnering with Microsoft. Further details about the testing reveal that the version of Windows 10 being used will override the Android OS that comes out of the box with the Mi 4.

The end result with the testing is a Windows 10 flavored Xiaomi Mi 4 that features all of Microsoft's mobile services. Consider this a simple customization of an Android device with the Xiaomi Mi 4 user opting to install a ROM containing Windows 10 instead of Cyanogen, for example. This ROM allows the Android user to have close to a native Windows 10 experience on his phone, which Microsoft hopes will be so positive that the Android user switches to Windows 10.

Xiaomi's handset is just the first being tested. Eventually, Microsoft hopes to have similar ROMs available for other Android phones down the road. The company picked Xiaomi first because its customers provide feedback religiously on Xiaomi's weekly software updates.

source: TechCrunch

Related phones

Mi 4
  • Display 5.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Quad-core, 2500 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 3080 mAh



1. corporateJP

Posts: 2458; Member since: Nov 28, 2009

What? That's like trading a Corvette for a Prius. Nobody does that...

11. Ashoaib

Posts: 3276; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

Thats not a bad idea... will love to try windows rom on my phone and if I dont like it then I will flash android back. Android is getting annoying with so many unwanted advertisement

14. yourmom

Posts: 82; Member since: Feb 21, 2015

what ads? most custom roms have inbuilt adfree feature.. if not just root and install ad free and get rid of all ads.

42. sgodsell

Posts: 7209; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

This is just a publicity stunt on Microsoft's front. Considering Microsoft's WP currently only supports certain Qualcomm CPUs. It just so happens that the Snapdragon 801 CPU is supported. But many other SoCs and CPUs are not supported by WP. But Android currently supports them all. Not to mention there is different internal components as well. Different modems, GPS, wifi, bluetooth, displays, all kinds of different sensors, battery tech, and the list goes on. That means the OEMs will have to write their own drivers for Windows 10, or have Microsoft write all the drivers for their hardware.

44. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

You act like somehow they are using some mysterious parts that only 'android' knows about. Please. OEM's already have to do that for android, oh wait its android somehow it can handle all that 'power'. Windows 10 phone just got intel, more QUALCOMM chips including 810 support, as well as AMD chip support, and support for >4GB of ram with screen resolutions at 2560x2048 and higher. And other displays you are so 'worried' about.

47. sgodsell

Posts: 7209; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

So mister smarty pants you gloss over the parts about different CPUs. Intel and AMD is given for Windows and should fully support their bread and butter, which BTW Android also supports. What about other mobile CPU OEMs other then Qualcomm, like NVidia, Eyxnos, MediaTek, Rockchip, and many others). What about all the different modem chips from not only from Qualcomm, but broadcom, mediatek, huawei, and others. The same holds true for different bluetooth or wifi chipsets, different battery hardware, different sensors, etc. You make it sound like all the drivers just will magically work and will be the same. Dream on buddy.

50. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

You act like somehow they magically wouldn't work. Surface RT used NVidia so technically the drivers are there, considering it was arm based. As well, your statement is so broad it does nothing for you. Please tell me which Bluetooth chips you are 'worried' about, which wifi chipsets? Battery hardware? Sensors?. Please enlighten this entire website of which models that a majority of android run...that somehow just magically will never work. Also you forget that windows support the widest array of don't think windows themselves wouldn't spend a day to write a driver? Eyxnos is a Samsung only product, and I would bet, if I was a gambling man, that part of MS patents were that Samsung make drivers for win10 for Eyxnos. Just as a fyi, all Eyxnos chips since the 5xt chips support Dirct3D 9+, which is a windows api. Also the tegra 3 and 4's also support this as well. Seriously, your 'doom' aspect is so far fetched. Will all androids be supported? NO. But acting like its some small subset that win10 will only support is very laughable at best.

51. sgodsell

Posts: 7209; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

First of all there is a ton of combinations of different hardware that can be thrown together. With different GPUs and other supporting hardware that comes on the device. So is Microsoft going to include all these drivers with support for all the different hardware. How much storage is needed? Basically make a ROM image that will support a number of devices? How big will the ROM be? If they do support other OEMS CPUs then separate Roms would have to be created for each category of CPU. As far as Windows RT and nvidia are concerned, then why didn't Microsoft support or create any WP devices based on Nvidia? Were they waiting until Windows 10? Your request to tell you which Bluetooth, WiFi, or modem chip sets is stupid because there is a number of vendors that supply different chips. Just like there is different hardware for cameras, sensors, and other internal components. You can write books on it. Oh wait there are books out there already. You want me to enlighten the website of which models. Listing models is stupid because there are too many to list. I can do one better. I can list some OEMS that make devices that support CPUs that are not using Qualcomms CPUs. Like Xiaomi, HTC, Lenovo, Sony, Samsung, and more. I think you get the idea. In fact you can just bring up a number of manufacturers from phone arena, and they will display all the devices and show you what CPUs are in the devices. Also when you went on about how I forget that windows support the widest array of drivers. Which BTW it is not true any longer. Especially since Android and its kernel called Linux has supported the widest array of drivers and hardware for years now. You need proof of that, well Android is on TVs, HDMI sticks, cars, computers, tablets, phones, watches, numerous iot devices, and more already. Android is on more hardware then any other OS in the world. Windows is still trying to get there. At least your admiting already that Microsoft will not support all Androids. So the real question is how many devices and from which OEMS will support these Roms. The proof is always yet to be seen from Microsoft.

55. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Oh no Android is 50GB! Do you know how drivers work? And do you know how large drivers are? Do you know you can strip drivers you dont use out of the OS...dear gasp the horror! nVidia, this is truly funny because you were proven wrong and you are still trying to backstep this. This is simply because it was not chosen, nothing more. Look into it further all you want, simply put MS supports Tegra. Let me know when your linux gets plug and play support for as many drivers as windows has. Windows is on billions of devices as well for 20yrs, every heard of CE? They run kiosks, factories, printers, atms, and on and on and on. Like me to link you to their video? You think android is the only thing on those? Here is your delusional hat. Android doesnt support all oem's either, they have to make the drivers. Android does not come out of the box with Exynos support, Samsung had to make the driver. As stated the gpu already supports direct3d. Mali gpu's higher than 400mp4 already support direct3d. Seriously, bluetooth drivers are a dime a dozen, they are not using some magical unheard of drivers. Nor are their sensors anymore different to the point, that literally a day or even possibly a few hours of coding wouldnt support. Most android manufactuers are using generic drivers and generic parts that are sold by the bucket bins. They are not mysterious like you are trying to make it out to be. nVidia? check drivers for tegra 3/4 exist, and wouldnt be any long shot for their new ones to exist as well. Rockchip - i would bet they already do, as well they partner with intel on their latest stuff, if you think intel of all companies wont provide win driver support then you truly are simply a delusional fanboy Exynos - already got gpu support, their arm support shouldnt any different.

56. sgodsell

Posts: 7209; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

You realize I kept changing to see how far down the rabbit hole you would go. You never addressed or maybe you don't know that these other ARM CPUs have different instructions from each other. Some may support some different instructions that the others do not support, and vise versa. Will it be more then one ROM per class of CPU? Why hasn't Microsoft addressed this till now. You even said that they are most likely NOT going to support all devices. Right. So most likely they are not going to support all the currently classes of CPUs, as well as all the current components for every device out there. Or Microsoft would have addressed this issue by now, especially after 5 years of WP being on the market. Linux does have plug and play support. It's had that support for years. Windows is on billions of devices, and now so is Android and Linux. Especially on all the new stuff its mainly Android and Linux and NOT Windows. Tell me who cares about ATA or SCSI drivers or for that matter older video drivers for new mobile devices and tablets, especially since they are no longer used. There is tons of drivers that will never come into play any more. Yet on the newer hardware Android and Linux support them all. Which Windows does not. This is 100% a fact. This goes back to the first paragraph when I stated that WP would be on more devices by now. BTW I do development in the embedded industry. I have all kinds of boards from beagle boards (including black), STM32 boards, CC3200, MSP430, Raspberry PI, Banana Pi, Odroid boards, Allwinder boards, HDMI sticks, Intel Edison, all kinds of Arduino boards, mbed, and the list goes on and on. I have a room full of different boards, and the vast majority of them don't run any Windows or even have support for Windows. Even new boards like Intel Edison don't run Windows. Guess what its running, its running Linux. Microsoft has been losing so much ground in the embedded world that it isn't funny. Why because there is better options out there that support more hardware, scale better, and the best part is some cost nothing. Windows embedded has been losing ground for years. I guess that's why Linux and Android are in more embedded systems and IoT devices then Windows (Embedded) systems. This is 100% a fact. Do you want your delusional hat back? Try doing a web search once in a while. You will see I am completely right. But it isn't about being wrong or right. Its about getting the facts out there. You point about Android doesn't support all OEMs either. Like I need you to tell me that Samsung had to make support for their Exynos CPUs or other hardware. The point is that Android and Linux do support Exynos CPUs and well as many others including MIPS support and others. So again you have to point out the obvious while not mentioning that Windows Phone and Windows currently does not support Exynos CPUs or any other ARM vendors except Qualcomm. Another fact.

57. sgodsell

Posts: 7209; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

I should address what you said about that win driver support. I can see more support in the future. I never said that the OEMs would never support Windows. However today as it stands. There IS NO Windows support currently, or else we would have seen more WP devices on different hardware other then just Qualcomm CPUs. Window Phone as it stands today ONLY supports certain Qualcomm CPUs Only. This is 100% a fact. You can slip and slide around like you do, and try to point at or misdirect away from the facts. But WP today ONLY supports Qualcomm CPUs today.

58. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Good thing this article is not about CURRENT win8. But dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnnnn windows 10. you read what you write? Also you keep saying that android supports them all, its the other way around, you write drivers for the OS. It is not that the OS supports the drivers. The drivers support the OS. Again, when i download android, i do not get exynos support, i have to download and ask Samsung for them.

59. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Almost forgot? MIPS? REally that thing that MS has supported since windows CE? Come on, what the hell are you going of on a tangent about. This is not about windows 8, do you understand that? Can you read that and realize you are arguing about an OS that is not even in the article?! This is about windows 10. As well windows is in BILLIONS of devices for over 20yrs from atms, to kiosks, to airport terminals, to robotics, to ups, etc etc etc.

52. consure

Posts: 4; Member since: Feb 13, 2015

Rockchip has worked pretty close with MS for years now, I'm sure at least in their case work something out.

60. pctopgs

Posts: 5; Member since: Sep 12, 2011

But this isn't even Windows on an android device. Its an Android rom that closely resembles Windows. So all drivers that work on Android will work on the "Windows Rom"

22. Pattyface

Posts: 1658; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

You forgot imo behind your comment. Strange to see your usual fanboy hate comments

61. corporateJP

Posts: 2458; Member since: Nov 28, 2009

Nah, I should've put "VW" instead of "Prius".

2. ianbbaa

Posts: 332; Member since: Mar 20, 2013

Android is fine, but i am annoyed with the amount of advertisements all over the "ecosystem". There is one feature that android lacks in its customization - "checkbox - advertisements OFF". I will buy app that i need and my list of bought Android apps is pretty big but... windows will deliver the same advertisements crap - but actually their services works much better than google services crap on your phone. We have to buy high end android devices to enjoy better android experience - windows runs pretty sweet even on low end lumias. I will definitelly switch to Windows 10 device when launched. I even got an iPad for short time to consider this but returned it very quickly. And the most sweet thing would be to get Windows 10 on my Note 3 even with S-pen working. But this wont happen, waiting for some new w10 devices to be announced - with stylus welcomed.

4. arch_angel

Posts: 1651; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

you will be waiting till late this year-early next year for a flagship windows phone. i want to try windows as well i might buy one just to try it but i wont be giving up android tho

13. microsoftnokiawin

Posts: 1268; Member since: Mar 30, 2012

September is the time you're looking for

20. arch_angel

Posts: 1651; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

Microsoft is releasing a flagship device in September? i heard it was December show me your prof of a September release please.

38. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

show us your proof of December...

43. arch_angel

Posts: 1651; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

Like I said I heard it from somebody. But I did see the September thing here on PA. so maybe he's right.

45. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Well considering literally no one knows what dates, all is speculative. Windows 10 is coming in the summer. Which means they will need a fall release of their flagship phone to hit for Christmas and the fall shopping season. I would take anything from Sept onwards as a date of reasonable expectations. I currently have a 930 'flagship' so I am in no crazy rush. My wait is for the 1020 successor.

46. arch_angel

Posts: 1651; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

true true

3. Joulukas

Posts: 113; Member since: Jun 05, 2013

I would actually love this. My company is mostly MS based software, this would geive me better integration options and a chance to try Windows before i spend my hard earned cash on native Windows phone.

5. ysk79

Posts: 39; Member since: Jan 06, 2014

so buying Nokia handset division isn't paying off...

6. 7thspaceman

Posts: 1597; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

this an interesting concept. however Microsoft also needs to have the "Blue stakes" program folks make an app that allows Android apps to run on Windows smart phones like the Blue stacks program does for Full windows 8 / 8.1 desktops, Laptops and Tablets like the Surface pro 3. Microsoft's best bet is to have an app make Android apps work on windows smart phones because a lot of people would buy Windows smart phones but their favorite Apps are not yet in the Windows store eco system so they stay with Android.

7. Venkatramanan

Posts: 327; Member since: Aug 15, 2014

Win10 / Android Dual boot phone could be released next year by HTC / Samsung/ Xiaomi.

35. NexusKoolaid

Posts: 493; Member since: Oct 24, 2011

IIRC there was a dual boot tablets in the works a while ago, but neither MS or Google were liking the idea so they pressured the OEM to kill the project. I don't think we'll be seeing a dual boot phone anytime soon.

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