Windows 10 is coming to town, and it looks like the battle for smartphone OS supremacy is well and truly heating up. Windows 10, once it is released sometime this year, will be the latest version of Microsoft’s flagship OS or operating system, and it will be released for use on smartphones as well. Up till now the smartphone market has well and truly been dominated by Apple with their iPhone series, and Google with their Android series of smartphones. Microsoft has thus far been in an unfamiliar position: playing third fiddle to other giant players in the market. Microsoft is looking to make their play by bringing Windows 10 to smartphones as well as their traditional realm of personal computers, in the hopes that seamless integration between multiple devices using the same operating system will give them an edge. Currently Apple offers a poor man’s version of this integration through their dual offering of Mac computers and iPhones using Apple OS software; the critical difference to note here is that they are not actually the same OS, despite both Mac OS X and iOS being Apple creations. With both your smartphone and your personal computer using the same OS, the potential for hassle free combined usage for consumers is an exciting one.
It is clear that Microsoft is investing big in the smartphone game, and now we are hearing interesting news regarding a planned testing arrangement with one of the world’s biggest smartphone distributors Xiaomi. Selected users of Xiaomi’s flagship Android phone the Mi 4 will be able to test the Windows 10 OS on their phones. Xiaomi were quick to state that this was not indicative of a close partnership with Microsoft, and that they were merely assisting solely for the purpose of the trial.
Although no specific details were given by either Microsoft or Xiaomi, it is believed that Microsoft software used in the trial will effectively override the Android OS. The end result is that the smartphone will behave as if Windows 10 has been installed. There is no indication that Android will be wiped or removed from the phones used in the trial, however the software will not offer a dual boot option where you can choose to boot into Windows 10 or Android.
The idea behind this has huge ramifications for the smartphone industry. Even though it is highly unlikely that any software designed to convert your phone’s OS would reach any kind of wide audience, the very concept is hugely powerful and raises interesting questions for the future. No surprises that Microsoft is planning to conduct these trials in China, where third-party software and ROM installation is much more commonplace than in the Western market. Smartphone customisation is much less of a taboo in China, where restrictions on Google Play make third-party app stores the norm for Android users.