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Yes, Windows 11 was just ported to a six-year-old smartphone

Is the Lumia 950 XL the closest thing we have to the HTCHD2 of yore?

Published onJune 30, 2021

Windows 11 Hero
  • A developer has managed to port Windows 11 to a six-year-old Windows Phone handset.
  • This is a native version of Windows 11 running on the Lumia 950 XL, which has a Snapdragon 810 SoC.

Windows 11 was announced last week and Microsoft is already allowing users to download a preview version of the operating system in both x64 and Arm flavors. Now, it looks like an enterprising tinkerer has managed to get Windows 11 Arm running on Microsoft’s last flagship Windows Phone.

Gustave Monce posted a YouTube video and screenshots on Twitter (h/t: Liliputing), showing Windows 11 on the Lumia 950 XL. Monce posted a screenshot earlier this month that appeared to show Windows 11 on the device, but he later clarified that this was simply Windows 11 running on the phone via remote desktop.

This time, however, the tinkerer has confirmed that we’re indeed looking at a native port of Windows 11 Arm running on the Lumia 950 XL. Check out the video below for a better idea of how it all works.

The Lumia 950 XL’s Snapdragon 810 chipset definitely chugs while running Windows 11, and you do see delays when double-tapping the screen, launching the file explorer, hitting the start menu, and accomplishing other tasks. It also looks like screen rotation is very buggy now. Nevertheless, we do get a great idea of how the UI looks on a smartphone and how features like Snap Layouts would work on a small screen.

Windows 11 previews don’t support Android apps just yet, but we wonder how the Lumia 950 XL will cope when this capability comes to the preview. It wouldn’t be the first time a Windows Phone gained Android app support in a preview, either.

We’ve previously seen Windows 10 Arm ported to the six-year-old phone as well, so there’s definitely a precedent here. Still, the fact that Windows 11 is running on such an old phone (and on phones at all) is a cool achievement. It’s especially noteworthy when you consider Microsoft’s confusing system requirements for the update.

Would you run Windows 11 on a smartphone if it included Android app support? Let us know via the poll below.

Would you run Windows 11 on your phone if it had Android app support?

1700 votes