Microsoft making it easy for phone makers to bring WP 8.1 to Android hardware

February 26, 2014

Windows Phone 8

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We are starting to see a number of alternative mobile OSes that promise the ability to run on existing Android hardware. Some of these solutions make it relatively easy for Android end-users to flash a ROM that brings the new OS, other methods are meant for phone makers only. Microsoft revealed today that they are taking the second approach with Windows Phone.

When it arrives later this spring, Windows Phone 8.1 will be able to be loaded on to existing Qualcomm-based Android hardware, at least if you are a handset manufacturer that has a device based on Snapdragon 200, 400 or 400 LTE chips.

The goal is to make it easy for companies to take phones that were design with Android in mind and then slap Windows Phone onto them. Microsoft hopes this will tempt Android manufacturers to release Windows Phone versions of their budget-oriented Android devices. To make the idea of WP even more appealing, Microsoft is also reportedly getting ready to slash their licensing fee by as much as 70%.

In order to make putting WP 8.1 onto Android hardware as painless as possible, Windows Phone will now be able to use on-screen keys instead of the physical “Windows key”. Microsoft is also ditching the need for a physical camera button and will allow apps to be installed to SD cards.

For those of you that wouldn’t mind giving WP8.1 a try, Microsoft says that they will not be offering their software for loading onto devices that are already in the hands of consumers. Of course, we wouldn’t be too surprised if developer forums like XDA eventually offer a way around this — at least if there is enough consumer/developer interest.

What do you think of Microsoft’s plans to make porting Windows Phone onto Android hardware as easy as possible? Smart strategy or desperate move that will yield little result? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Comments

  • JoĂŁo Grácio

    Good move from Microsoft

  • Mark Washington

    Definitely! Great move! How about supporting the Snapdragon 600 as well!

    • Shark Bait

      Really??? You don’t think the big players don’t have the resources to port windows already ?

    • MrMagoo

      Well they’ve already got it running on the S800, I don’t see why it would be that hard to port it to a S600, I know they are set up differently, with the radios included in the s800 an all but shouldn’t be an issue.

  • Mike Bastable

    Smart

  • pytajnik

    wow that’s nice

  • justd80010

    Good move, should make it so end users can do it themselves and offer an incentive as well, like 25gb of storage on one drive or $25 in credit on the store and go around Google’s OEMs.

  • Paul Allen

    I’d definitely like to give it a try. I love both Android and iOS but I hate home screens that scroll horizontally when nearly everything else in the OS scrolls vertically.

  • Dalvik

    Nope, it didn’t solve the main problem: Non-costumizable, locked-down OS.
    No matter what phone WP is installed, it will always be the same limited OS.

    • MasterMuffin

      Costumizable? :D Some people don’t like customization, that’s why iOs is popular

  • Akash

    No OEM can destroy their own Android market by investing in windows phone.

  • Doug Lowe

    Great move. It is the right thing to do.

  • http://www.thinkingbrian.com/ ThinkingBrian

    It seems to me that Microsoft will try just about anything to try and get other manufacturers and consumers like myself who have never tried a WP 8.1 Smartphone before to try it. I would say the hope is that once more consumers and manufacturers jump on board, more app developers including Google will do so as well. But will it work? Of course for myself, Android isn’t Android with Google Services. In other words, If a Smartphone or tablet doesn’t have access to Google Services such as GMail, Keep, Drive, You Tube, Chrome and so via app or web browser, I’m not interested.

  • asd

    The beauty of android is that we can download windows launchers

  • Duck Knight

    Well…superfast WP will be.

  • http://www.allabtgadgets.in/ allabtGADGETSin

    I think this move is to attract the domestic OEMs like Xolo, Karbonn etc in India as they don’t have to spend much time to start from scratch and design a whole new device to bring a WP smartphone. Only time will tell how much successful this strategy is.

  • Otto Andersson

    “Microsoft says that they will not be offering their software for loading onto devices that are already in the hands of consumers.”

    Haha, then no thanks. The flailing company can’t be a beggar and a chooser at the same time. At this point, giving it away to increase brand recognition would be their best option.

    • MrMagoo

      I hear you! That has to be one of the only reasons they won’t just knock off the licensing fees. It keeps it out of the hands of the consumer.

    • MrMagoo

      Maybe if they even put it out there for sale at a reasonable price, say $10 or something. Idk…just a thought

      • Otto Andersson

        I have no problem spending money for software. I actually purchase quite a few apps on my Android phone that aid me in productivity (although I still pirateBay media because I’m scum). My problem with Microsoft is that they used to charge a flat fee for software and that was that. However, now they charge a licensing fee on top of the selling of information and meta data a la Google. Android is open but does some shady things with our data. Microsoft is taking advantage of users from both ends. They do the same thing with the advertisement heavy Xbox live subscription and other products.

        • Lisandro O Oocks

          Not only that, they also claim to be losing money from Xbox.. Sounds to me very shady.. They’re likely avoiding taxes and money laundering too.

  • Otto Andersson

    The sad thing is, I kind of like the UI on the phone(Windows 8 is awful on traditional desktops) . Is there a good knock off launcher I can get for Android?

    • John Conatser

      launcher 8 is very close

      • Otto Andersson

        Thanks brother. I used it and actually like it. I’m pretty much treating as a music hub home screen in combination of Apex launcher.

  • takpro

    I bet a lot of enterprise guys like the thought of this; low cost Windows Phone. If they come up with a way to port to older phones, the BYOD guys might love it.

  • Stefan

    Smartphones should be set up like PCs, with an easy way of switching from one OS to another, or even dual-booting. I guess the market isn’t mature enough for this already.

  • Frank

    I have a better idea, open your Lumia handsets so individuals can install Android.

    • gh0st

      you sir, just won the internet

  • Luke

    I would purchase WP8 for a reasonable sum if I could load it onto my nexus 4. Being able to try it out would be worth the cost. Choice! Who knows, maybe I’d like it?