I’ve become increasingly interested in Microsoft’s latest strategies to keep Windows Phone alive. With Microsoft struggling to hold even 3% of the mobile phone market, something’s got to give and the company has to do something in order to increase that number. Between Windows Phone’s “app gap” problem and somewhat slow rate of adding features that have been available on other platforms for years, the rate of growth for Windows Phone has been at a standstill for quite some time. It’s time for Microsoft to start getting aggressive if they want Windows Phone to thrive in the mobile industry.
So when Microsoft announced that they’ll be making a Windows 10 ROM for Android devices (specifically and only for the Xiaomi Mi 4, at the moment) it would seem that Microsoft’s next move is to actively pursue Android users to switch to Windows. The question is: Will it work, or will it backfire?
In theory it would seem like a good idea, because it would be an inexpensive (free, even) way for Android users to try out Windows 10. As long as a user knows how to root and flash the ROM to their phone, they would be good to go. When they’re finished, all they have to do is restore a backup of their phone when the device was running on Android, and things would be back to the way they were. If they liked the way Windows 10 worked, they may consider switching to an official Windows 10 handset. With Windows 10 heading towards unification between its smartphones, tablets, and computers, allowing users to experience that unification (assuming they use another Windows product, that is) might just do the trick.
On the other hand, it’s very possible that this would backfire. This might end up showing Android users why they might want to stick to Android.
First and foremost, you have the fact that you can even run Windows 10 on Android in the first place. This just goes to show how versatile Android is. If you purchase a Windows 10 device, you’re probably never going to see a Google official Android ROM for it, much less a way to make it run.
And then, of course, you still have the app gap, assuming that Windows 10 doesn’t allow for the use of Android apps. You’ll go from a flourishing app store on Android's Google Play to the abysmal one currently available for Windows Phone. This one is subject to change, because Microsoft now realizes how dire said app gap really is. Hopefully this means that they’ll be able to work with developers easier now that Windows 10 will be unified.
I’m not sure which way it will go, but I hope that Windows 10 is going to end up being impressive enough to make people want to switch. Hopefully Microsoft will allow for more Android phones to download the ROM in the future to test Windows 10 out. I think more people would be interested in giving it a shot if they didn’t have to potentially lose money by purchasing a separate Windows Phone device and risk not even liking the platform at the end of the day. I really, really want Windows 10 to succeed, but in order to do that Microsoft is going to need to get fierce, because the rest of the industry isn’t going to slow down to cater to their agenda.