Mar 18th, 2015

misswindowsphone2

Microsoft has been doing a lot of work to capture mind share by releasing many of their latest apps and services on Android, but the company could look to get the “market” share to go along with it in their latest move. TechCrunch reports Microsoft is working on a custom ROM that will emulate a Windows Phone 10 experience.

This won’t be some simple Metro-styled launcher, either — this is apparently going to operate as a full-blown operating system as if you had originally bought a Windows 10 phone with access to Microsoft’s wealth of apps and services.

Xiaomi has agreed to make their flagship MI 4 a testing platform for the projects, though the company is clear to note that this isn’t a “partnership” of sorts where Xiaomi will begin shipping Mi 4 units with Windows 10 instead of MIUI. Instead, this is a pure trial for only the most interested Mi 4 owners, and the opportunity to take part won’t be extended to everyone.

Microsoft issued the following statement regarding the program:

As part of the Windows Insider Program, Microsoft will partner with Xiaomi to offer Windows 10 free downloads to a select group of Xiaomi Mi4 users. Xiaomi Mi4 users will get the ability to flash their phones with the new Windows 10 OS and provide feedback to Xiaomi and Microsoft on their experience. This partnership will allow Xiaomi and Microsoft to get direct user feedback and continue to improve the experience for China. Microsoft is thrilled to see Xiaomi embracing Windows 10 and offering this great value to their customers. We’re excited to see the feedback we receive from this audience.

Xiaomi is a leading phone manufacturer in China undergoing significant global expansion. We are excited to partner with them in China and jointly gather feedback from Chinese users on their experience with Windows 10 to jointly collaborate on product and services development for the platform.

Availability will be announced in the months to come.

Microsoft’s motive for this interesting move isn’t clear. Is this meant to give users a taste of Windows 10 so Microsoft can entice them to buy into the real deal? Does Microsoft want to create an alternate platform for users to use and become a true device-agnostic platform that can be used on a wide variety of devices like their desktop operating system is? Are they simply bored? Who knows, but they have our ear either way and we can’t wait to see how well this project turns out to be once it’s available for folks to try out.

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