Huawei is no stranger to Windows Phone, having released a handset in the US last year, but the company is now planning to combine Android and Windows Phone into a single smartphone. Speaking to TrustedReviews, Huawei’s chief marketing officer, Shao Yang, reveals the firm is still committed to Microsoft’s mobile software, but the preference is to dual-boot it alongside Android. "With Windows Phone, one direction for us – and one that we are now following – is dual OS. Dual OS as in Android and Windows together," says Yang. Huawei's plans are almost identical to PC makers who are dual-booting Android and Windows on laptops and tablets.
Why are phone makers dual-booting?
The new Huawei handset will go on sale in the US during Q2, meaning it will arrive around the same time as Microsoft starts shipping Windows Phone 8.1. Indian phone maker Karbonn is also planning its own dual-booting Android and Windows Phone handset, due to be released in the coming months. It’s still not clear why any phone maker is opting to install both Android and Windows Phone on a single handset. Yang says Huawei’s version will allow consumers to "change it as you wish," offering a choice because "if it is Windows only, maybe people will not find it as easy a decision to buy the phone."
Microsoft is pushing Windows Phone 8.1 to lower price points, lowering device specification requirements, and offering free license deals to phone makers. Microsoft’s changes will assist with low-cost Windows Phone handsets, but they could also assist phone makers with dual-booting Android. Any additional installation of Android on a single handset will take up precious storage space, but Windows Phone 8.1 will support devices with just 4GB of storage and an option for apps to be installable to microSD cards. It’s also possible that phone makers will simply ship their handsets to retail stores and allow customers to choose either Android or Windows Phone at purchase, but the complexity of loading software in stores makes that option unlikely. Microsoft will detail all of its Windows Phone 8.1 changes at its Build conference next month, and we might just hear more about any dual OS plans.