Android or Windows? Microsoft reportedly discussing dual-OS phones

700-nokia_lumia_1520_group-shot_1Microsoft’s plan for gaining relevance in the smartphone market may be taking a page out of a traditional PC strategy.

The company is in talks with smartphone manufacturers about building phones that can work both with Google’s Android operating system as well as Windows Phone 8, according to Amir Efrati at The Information. At the time of activation, consumers would be able to choose between a phone that boots Microsoft’s mobile OS or Google’s.

The move seems similar to how Linux and Windows have traditionally coexisted in the PC ecosystem. Users can install either operating system on PC hardware, but most choose Microsoft’s offering. Microsoft would seem to be hoping that something similar would happen if users were given the choice on their smartphones.

The report is similar to rumors that surfaced last year, which pointed to a “dual-OS” phone from HTC that would run both WP8 and Android.

A dual-OS strategy could have massive benefits: OEMs have seemed skittish when it comes to investing in building hardware for Microsoft’s platform, preferring to stick with the tried-and-true, market-dominating choice of Android. Being able to build one phone for both platforms could make Microsoft’s OS a more interesting choice.

It could also mean more opportunities for consumers to choose Microsoft’s offering over Google’s. At this point, any edge might help bring Windows Phone’s market share up from 3.2 percent of the U.S. market.

Microsoft declined to comment.

  • http://www.christopherbudd.com Christopher Budd

    What would make more senses to me would be for them to take a page from the original WIndows NT 3.1 playbook and build an Android subsystem into WP much like WIndows NT has the old Win16, POSIX and OS/2 subsystems.

    That would help close the app gap by letting people run Android apps when there are no WP-native apps

    • Ben A

      I don’t think you understand, they meant, dual OS, its got nothing to do with application cross platform coding. Running android apps will destroy windows phone experience, no thanks, no buggy, malware apps please, this will close app gap, by peoples choice choosing windows phone or android, some want windows phone, some want android, and if android run mostly, anyway, Microsoft is still will get a big chunk out of Android market share with this new strategy and also Nokia’s D&S acquisition purchase. Developers will decide to do both android and wp apps at the same time, and release apps rapidly without “coming soon”, “later.

      • http://www.christopherbudd.com Christopher Budd

        No I understood correctly and that’s my point. I don’t see this as a particularly effective strategy. I believe most people will just boot into Android most if not all the time.

        In other words I think this is a solution to the wrong problem. It’s not a problem with availability of WP that’s holding it back. It’s a problem with the availability of apps and the quality of those apps.

        I have friends on WP and I hear them complain about the app problem regularly. An Android subsystem would close that gap.

        • Ben A

          sorry that wont close app gap on windows phone, by letting users abandon windows phone to go to android, it will give android completion advantage over windows phone and this will confuse average consumers. WP, is already closing app gap, its still exist, but closing very fast rate and when that time is come, windows phone users don’t need to go to android to get the apps they need. Yes I don’t see this a effective strategy too, yes without thinking, yes most people will boot to android mostly if not all the time, as you said, correct. That will put windows phone in a disvantage and will lose consumers and buyers, and possibly user base and marketshare and will have a bland market side of things. So I’m against this idea and Microsoft should too, I think this is not going to happen because it wont work, it will fail, they will be classed the loser in mobile and android will have the laugh and crown and Microsoft is more common sense, when Microsoft release windows, it was not going to give it to Apple, to get an advantage, so Microsoft is not going to give Android a easy way.

          • klickster

            So how long have you worked for MS? There’s ZERO reason to own a Windows phone when Apple and Android have the market share. Sadly you miss the point – it’s ALL about apps and the poster’s idea is sound – WP sucks for apps. Period. There’s no catching up to iOS/Android until MS gets Surface right – that’s not going to happen until Threshold (or whatever it’s called) and by that time Apple/Google will be on to the “next big thing”. So, if you simply must have the toddler interface that is WP and you want to run useful apps (e.g. from Google Play) then you’re gold with poster’s idea. Otherwise you’ll do what the rest of the world does and get the phone that makes the most sense to you (e.g. iOS/Android) and skin it to look like WP if you want (by why???)

          • Ben A

            I don’t need to work at MS, I know. You are missing the point, There is a reason to own a windows phone over ios and android because of Microsoft strong ecosystem with its windows and xbox devices and someone who wants a choice to get away from iOS horrid itunes offerings and Google chaotic approach. You missed the point of apps on windows phone, its getting better period, saying WP apps sucks is so yesterday, today is a different story, they have the popular apps from ios and android, do you want the list, I can create the long list, For e.g, Vine,Instagram, Temple Run 2 etc, THEY ALREADY CATCHING UP, MS ALREADY GOT SURFACE RIGHT, WHY BECAUSE THEY ARE SELLING OUT BACK IN THE CHRSITMAS SHOPPING PERIOD AND THRESHOLD GOT NOTHING TO DO WITH IT AND GOOGLE/APPLE HAVE NO NEXT BIG THING, BECAUSE MS ALREADY HAVE THE THE BIG THING, Who the fuck are you calling toddler interface, since you haven’t used one, jealous, take a good look at that fisher price iOS 7 and don’t get me started with that cumber stone antique android interface . Windows phone has useful apps than that buggy malware google play sham store, you don’t know what the worlds want, because windows phone is growing outside of the little USA market, get over it, I will not follow the USA world, that are senseless and telling and misinforming consumers to go todo “what the rest of the world does and get the phone that makes the most sense to you (e.g. iOS/Android)”, others don’t want that, so that’s there choice, you have a choice and you chosed android, I don’t give a crap, this is MS article here, focusly on windows phone, not android, btw android skins cant look like WP, its poor copy of metro ui, it cant work, because WP has a distinctive UI. so who are you to dictate me to choose, I don’t dictate anyone, im just pointing the real facts here.

          • TeaPartyCitizen

            Ben is right. Having Microsoft adds no value yet it will cost more money and take more time to boot. I also hear that emulated Android is slow. Why have emulated Android when you can have the real thing. Plus Google may not allow emulated Android to download from their store. If a million of these devices are made and Google shuts down Google Play access then the one million phones are worthless. It’s best to wait before buying an emulated Android phone.

  • LonelyTraveler

    Wouldn’t there be a price differential based on what OS the customer wanted? Or is Microsoft thinking of subsidizing the license cost of Windows to match Android’s free offering?

    • Ben A

      I think Microsoft is thinking back in October and now of subsidizing the license cost of windows phone and RT, not windows pc OS, to match android free offering, definitely yes. That’s the solution, not this crap solution that will get nowhere for windows “mobility” products. That android/windows phone dual boot thing was old news, people should get over it. Its not happening, period

  • http://www.upcomingsmartphones10.com/ rikitchi

    Most of the Developer base is on either iOS or ANDROID. So apps and games are developed and maintained up to date on these two platforms. If you want features like Dual sim card, expandable storage and good hardware for less bucks, go for android. I think i made my point as you were asking only about android or windows mobile phone.
    http://www.upcomingsmartphones10.com/