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Microsoft sniffs around Xiaomi Mi 4 smarties with Windows 10

No, we can't give it to you, go pester Redmond, says Chinese giant

Chinese mobe giant Xiaomi confirmed it is helping Microsoft port Windows 10 to its Mi 4 smartphones.

Xiaomi vice president Hugo Barra said Redmond has managed to build its OS for phones that normally run Android as part of a test program, but people shouldn't get their hopes up for a larger partnership or dual-boot devices any time soon.

The Mi 4 is powered by an ARM-compatible Snapdragon 801 from Qualcomm. Barra, you may recall, was a senior Google exec working on Android.

Microsoft said earlier this week that it was running the test, but Barra said that the development effort was small-scale and very limited.

Barra explained that the test is only being conducted with a small number of users in China and is limited to a special Mi 4 build of Windows 10.

"This Windows 10 build will not be running on top of Android nor be available as a dual-boot option," Barra wrote.

The test program asked users from China's Xiaomi Forum to manually re-flash their Android-powered devices with a ROM containing the Windows 10 build. It is not a direct collaboration between the two companies, rather a test between Microsoft and Xiaomi users, he said.

"At Xiaomi, we are very supportive of users trying new things and we encourage them to do so all the time," Barra wrote.

"That’s why all of our devices ship with unlocked bootloader, for example. That’s also why Xiaomi welcomes Microsoft team members to interact directly with members of the Xiaomi Forum in China."

Microsoft has talked up Windows 10 as a platform to unite the phone, tablet and PC versions of Windows under a single brand. The company said that all devices running Windows 7, Windows 8.a Windows Phone 8.1 will be able to upgrade free of charge in the first year of availability.

The Xiaomi testers will be extended similar hospitality, Redmond said it will provide them with not only test versions, but a gold build of the OS when Windows 10 reaches availability later this year.

As for Xiaomi, Barra said that the hardware maker will remain committed to producing Android devices for the foreseeable future. ®


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