Microsoft To Provide Its Windows 10 ROM On Xiaomi Phones
Microsoft is testing a ROM that let Android users install and use Windows 10 on their smartphones. The ROM is for testing purposes only and is aimed at getting feedback from Android users. For the initial rollout, Microsoft has partnered up with Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi.
For those who do not know what ROM is, it stands for Read-Only Memory but in mobile software development world the term ROM is used to refer to an operating system image. It is installed in ROM area of the smartphone and lets users use and modify their OS as they wish. Microsoft’s Windows 10 ROM is also the same thing. Users will be able to install it and get a Windows Phone-like experience. Both Microsoft and Xiaomi have not revealed much details about the ROM yet.
However, sources of TechCrunch report that the ROM will replace Android and allow the device to act entirely as a phone running on Windows 10, with Windows apps support and its interface.
Xiaomi has chosen its “power users” as the lucky ones who will be getting Windows 10 Technical Preview via this ROM. These users are currently running MIUI, a variant of Android developed by Xiaomi.
“Through a new program with Xiaomi, one of the top smartphone distributors in the world, a select group of Xiaomi Mi 4 power users will be invited to help test Windows 10 and contribute to its future release later this year,” Terry Myerson, who runs Microsoft’s operating systems unit, says in a blog post following the announcement. “These power users will have the opportunity to download the Windows 10 Technical Preview — installing it and providing feedback to Microsoft.”
Microsoft has chosen Xiaomi for the initial rollout of its ROM because of its receptive userbase who get weekly updates and give feedback to the company which then improves its software based on the feedback. These responsive users will help Microsoft in getting its software right, as they have been testing features of Xiaomi’s MIUI and providing feedback.
Xiaomi is not partnering up with Microsoft for revenue, neither it is striking any deals. The Chinese company is just helping Microsoft in testing of Windows 10. Microsoft plans to provide this ROM on smartphones other than Xiaomi in future.
Microsoft is on its way to move out of closed-systems approach. The Redmond company is reaching out to wider audience and it is starting from the right segment of market — Android users. Android’s market share is 81.5% while Apple has 14.8%, according to market share data for 2014 from research firm IDC. By offering its software for testing to the Android users, the company will not only get its software into the hands of many people, it will also address the issue that many users never get to use Windows on their phones because it was previously available on Microsoft’s phones only.