A case for Microsoft flavoured Android Phone

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With the success of Chromium based Edge, there is a strong case for Microsoft to have its own version of Android.

I would’t be surprised if it not in the works already, waiting for the final hammer to drop on Google from EU, when Google will be froced to unbundle their services.

Similar to the new Edge, they can take all the successful elements from the windows Phone, with all the services they already have, it will sure make for a compelling case to be installed on a Surface phone or any generic android phone.

Comments (27)

27 responses to “A case for Microsoft flavoured Android Phone”

  1. Avatar

    Paul Thurrott

    So the issue is ... why?


    What kind of success would such a product have? What would be the point?


    I wonder if there is a way for Microsoft to do this through HMD or another phone maker, just specify which software is built-in but not take on the manufacturing/production costs.


    • Avatar

      Piyer

      In reply to paul-thurrott:

      If Microsoft can offer an alternative to Google, some hardware manufacturers might look at that option . For enterprise users, a Microsoft backed manageable device would be a alternative, especially for the front line workers. Right now, there is manageability through InTune, but not in a direct way with full AAD integration. The Azure Sphere is one such device, Linux o/s with Microsoft manageability and update for 10 years.


      Me thinks, in 3 to 5 years, Windows as we know will be a decoupled layer which can run on a set of linux distros, which would include Android, as well as Microsoft's own kernel. On the dev side, we are already seeing the evolution of this with the brilliant TypeScript/VS Code, which will one day replace Visual Studio (except legacy windows app dev) across all platforms. The upcoming Windows Lite would be the first insight into this direction from Microsoft.


      If they can fend off the Chromebooks onslaught with Windows Lite, and with Microsoft fully geared with Win 10 IoT and backend services for the Industrial 4.0, the reimagined Microsoft for the new era would be admirable.

    • Avatar

      ntgay17

      In reply to paul-thurrott:

      I also think there are a couple of things that microsoft have done in the last few months that are small individually that can have big effects going forward --- if they are aggressive and if they see it as worth while.


      1. The developer revenue changes - potentially 95% to 5%.
      2. this makes an microsoft app store on android very appealing.
      3. MiChrome Os = ChromeOs with windows replacing Linux...
      4. this could be a way to win back education and future developers... they just need to figure out the IT management side.
      5. Adding in a cloud layer that makes devices secure and updates... android as is does not update. if they could help android manufactures update then it would make Microsoft very viable in the mobile space.
      6. Lastly this is my personal wish. Microsoft should make remote desktop a cloud based office 365 thing. And go after manufactures of mobile phones to add to there phones... Android mainly, and do it like it was on continuum!
      • Avatar

        skane2600

        In reply to Ntgay17:

        I don't get what a MiChrome OS would do for the customer.

        • Avatar

          Paul Thurrott

          In reply to skane2600:

          It's obvious: It would provide all of the benefits of Chrome OS, which are well-documented, without the number one downside, it's reliance on Google and Google accounts.

          • Avatar

            skane2600

            In reply to paul-thurrott:

            For a Windows user the limitations of a Chrome OS based product would far outweigh its benefits. Unless, of course, this is a fantasy idea where you can glam together anything and everything you want without regard to real-world constraints.

            • Avatar

              coeus89

              In reply to skane2600:

              I think (or I am inferring) you are assuming all "windows users" have the same needs that you do. If you abstract that thought process more to "Computer users" you can obviously see a reason to use a stripped down Microsoft centric OS. Chredge is an extremely positive step towards that. I have family and friends that i wished to god that i could lock down windows enough to get them into a nice windows PC. But you can't easily do that. These people WILL click on that malicious ad that says "your computer is infected, click here to fix". I can't baby sit them all the time. So i had to recommend a chrome book. If there was a MSFT equivalent to that i would have recommended it in a heartbeat. I want lite-OS or whatever it's called so badly for people i know with basic computing needs.

              • Avatar

                skane2600

                In reply to coeus89:

                I should have qualified my statement a bit more, but I think the lack of market share of Chromebooks speaks for itself. Having said that if a Chromebook works for people they should buy it. There's no reason to prefer Windows in that case. Product design always involves trade-offs and MS isn't going to be able to create an OS with all the capabilities associated with Windows, and also be as simple as a Chromebook. It's also worth noting that Google has strayed from it's original web-only approach with Chromebook to include Android apps in order to make the platform more attractive. So it's trending toward increasing complexity and being more like Windows and MacOS.

  2. Avatar

    skane2600

    I don't see the business case for a Microsoft sort-of Android phone. I don't know why some people think it's a good idea to glam together trendy technologies. IMO, that's not how one creates a stable and solid product.

    • Avatar

      Lauren Glenn

      In reply to skane2600:

      I kind of agree but they are good at making hardware. Despite issues with Windows Phone 10 w/ app support and such, the Lumia 950 was a great phone for its time. If they got that Android bridge fully operational, I would've kept that phone for a while.


      But in a way, I see your point. Very few phone manufacturers seem to make money on Android phones so why would Microsoft put money into one when there's little ROI with so many people making good phones and failing to be profitable?

      • Avatar

        Piyer

        In reply to alissa914:

        All the heavy lifting on the o/s will be done by Google. Microsoft already has a team working on apps for Android. With a strategic use of resources and partnerships, the Microsoftification of Android could be done without draining the bank. Losing the o/s install puts Microsoft in a handicap position with Android/Google which can dethrone it completely for the next gen of users, unlike Apple which is more of a frenemy.

        • Avatar

          skane2600

          In reply to Piyer:

          Besides the investment in software development, MS would also have to pay for the hardware which is going to be very expensive. For the most part Android phones are a commodity business and Microsoft isn't really built around that sort of business model. The bottom line is that they would probably lose money and given the experience with the Nokia acquisition, they aren't likely to take another big risk in mobile.


          Android and iOS are right now about as dominant in mobile as they could possibly be and yet Windows on the desktop is still rolling along fine. Someday some other OS may "dethrone" Windows but it won't be iOS or Android unless they are redesigned to "look" a lot less like a mobile OS and more like a desktop one.



  3. Avatar

    JimP

    Would it have a Windows-like UI?

  4. Avatar

    anderb

    Success? Using the same metric that declares Chrome to be 'the best' browser in the world, the new Edge is currently 'the worst' browser in the world.

    • Avatar

      Lauren Glenn

      In reply to anderb:

      The new Edge is really good. Not sure what issues you're having. I uninstalled Chrome on my machine (which I haven't done in years) and put all my add-ins (Chrome and Edge) here with everything working just fine. Edge used to cause me a lot of frustration but this one just works. Sure a lot of sites think I'm using Chrome, but regardless of that, everything runs the same as if not better than Chrome.


      Now all I need for it is to sync everything to iOS and Android and then my phone and iPad all are in sync.


      Microsoft finally fixed everything I've hated about IE since they released version 7.

    • Avatar

      Paul Thurrott

      In reply to anderb:

      What the heck does that even mean? The new Edge is arguably the best browser in the world, or at least it will be when it's completed.

      • Avatar

        lethalleigh

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        What!


        Who are you and what have you done with the real Paul Thurrott!

      • Avatar

        anderb

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        You declared Chrome to be 'the best browser in the world' based on purely on its usage stats. My point is usage stats is a poor metric to decide which browser is 'the best'. A point which you have implicitly acknowledged by declaring the new Edge 'arguably the best browser in the world' even though the usage stats currently show virtually no one uses it.


        I guess usage stats are only relevant for dismissing Firefox as a browser option.


        • Avatar

          Paul Thurrott

          In reply to anderb:

          You're missing the point.


          Chrome's high usage on desktop, when it is not the default browser on either Mac or Windows (99 percent PCs) suggests that it is the best browser currently available because people actually choose it.


          But usage doesnt equal quality. The Ford Escort was the best-selling car in the world for several years. No one ever claimed it was the best car on the road.


          My point about the new Edge is that it is all of what's good about Chrome combined with improvements to privacy and security from Microsoft, plus whatever unique functionality (Reading View, etc.) which make it, in my opinion, qualifiably and literally the best web browser. There is no downside to the new Edge.


          But it's not out yet, it's only in preview.


          As for Firefox, I'm not sure what that means either. I don't ignore Firefox, in fact I write about virtually every release, as I do for Opera. Sorry it's not performing to your tastes.


          https://www.thurrott.com/?s=firefox

  5. Avatar

    Jhambi

    Yea great idea, they should ask their good friends across lake washington how that went.

  6. Avatar

    Tony Barrett

    Excuse me? Chromium Edge a 'success'. Where did you hear that one from?

    • Avatar

      Paul Thurrott

      In reply to ghostrider:

      As a fully-realized product, it is absolutely successful, even now. But we'll obviously need to wait---years, probably---to see whether it's successful in the real world.

      • Avatar

        Tony Barrett

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        MS will call this 'new' browser Edge, which is enough nails all in one go to almost seal it's doom. If a company as large as MS with all the resources they have and a desktop dominance in Windows can't actually create a tier 1 app of their own design that people actually want to use, there's little hope. MS are just parasitic now - feeding off other platforms and applications as they frantically try to stay relevant. Time and again we've seen poor products from MS with terrible support as they tried to create their own 'locked in' ecosystem (Win10/UWP being a prime example, but there are others). MS are now in a big 'Embrace' drive as they cosy up to competitors, following which they'll try and Extend functionality in their own forked versions to draw users in. The last part is Extinguish, which you can be sure MS will try to do. Same ole, same ole.

  7. Avatar

    yoshi

    The success of Chromium based Edge? What success has it had besides enthusiasts using dev versions of it and saying it's good so far? I have no doubt it will be a great browser at its release, but adoption rate will determine its success.


    Having said that - MS already gives you many options to turn your Android phone into a Microsoft phone. Launcher, Edge, etc. are all there for the taking.

  8. Avatar

    minke

    You can already make your phone very Microsoft-centric by using the MS launcher and all the various MS apps. I think MS would have a very tough time making its own version of Android since they are so far behind. Are you really going to get thousands of app developers to make a new version for a new OS with very few followers (at first)? Look what happened to Windows Phones. My guess is that MS will continue to worm their way onto both iOS and Android phones by creating useful apps that tie in well with their goals on desktop.

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