Back many moons ago, HTC and Microsoft we're buddy-buddy. HTC was producing Windows Mobile devices, Microsoft was happy to be one of the leaders in the smartphone business, and everything chugged along nicely. Then the iPhone and Android showed up, changed the smartphone game completely, and Microsoft was essentially left in the dust. The company has since been trying to get back in the ring with Windows Phone, but high licensing costs and lack of third-party support make this an unappealing option to many hardware vendors – why pay for the OS (Windows Phone), when you can get one for free (Android)? HTC has produced a few devices in the Windows Phone era, but the primary focus has still been on the company's Android handsets.


Now, however, Microsoft has allegedly gotten in touch with HTC and offered an interesting proposition: dual-boot Windows Phone/Android phones. It's unclear how this would work on a technical level, but Microsoft is said to be willing to reduce or completely eliminate the licensing cost of Windows Phone if HTC were to agree to the partnership.

If true, this is no doubt and intriguing option for HTC, as it's no secret the company isn't doing so well as of late. Having more options on the table could be a major benefit for both companies, as long as folks are willing to buy into the whole "dual-boot" thing. That is, of course, questionable.

This is something that many geeks or mobile enthusiasts would probably really enjoy, just as many have been dual-booting Windows and Linux on PCs for years. The "typical" buyer (if such a thing can exist), however? Probably not as much.

Either way, it may be in both Microsoft's and HTC's best interest to give it a shot with at least one handset. Testing the waters is never a bad idea in a situation like this – the results may be surprising. Of course, HTC simply may not be willing to take that risk right now, either. All of this is still just talk at the moment and may never actually turn into anything more. Time will tell.

Bloomberg via Techcrunch

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • anzensepp1987

    If I wanted to buy a WP then I'd do so.

  • redsnowfox

    Windows Phone doesn't have much developer support because of lack of marketshare, and it doesn't have marketshare because of lack of quality apps. Dual booting might help break this vicious cycle to some extent.

    • Brad

      Or they could piggyback like BB hahahahahaha

    • Mike Reid

      Yeah. I'd be interested in at least taking a peak at WinPhone.

      I'm an Android/Linux dev and have hated and tried to avoid MS since they abandoned OS/2 some 20 years ago.

      And WinPhone marketshare sucks, so I don't want to waste my time or phone money checking it out.

      But if I had an Android device that could dual boot WinPhone. I would, at least to check it out.

      Google may be headed in directions I don't like, so it's good to have options.

      • Qorse

        Agreed. I develop for both Windows and Linux. I prefer Linux development but I won't lie-- I'm somewhat of a sucker for Visual Studio. They've made some serious improvements in the past couple years and it's actually usable now.

        In any case, my Android phone doesn't integrate as tightly as I'd like with Windows. Dropbox and Google Drive don't blow my hair back, but the native SkyDrive integration in Windows 8 has me a little interested. You can do some pretty cool stuff with NTFS junctions. I'd definitely be interested in a dual boot phone.

  • Mayoo

    Dual is good if you want something from one OS that the Other can't give you. In this case, I see only a one way deal.

    • Qorse

      I generally agree, but Windows Phone has much better integration with Windows. I would definitely be interested in this for that reason alone, as long as it was a flagship phone and the either added expandable storage or beefed up internal storage to compensate for two operating systems eating up space.

  • http://bertelking.com/ Bertel King, Jr.

    Step 1: Keep the HTC One as an Android flagship.
    Step 2: Release an HTC Two as a dual-boot option.
    Step 3: Get Robert Downey Jr to make "How To Change" ads.

    • PhoenixPath

      Better yet: Microsoft stores offers in-store "conversion" of HTC One and warranty support.

      • Justin W

        So, what about those that don't have a Microsoft store nearby? I actually would be interested in trying this out, though - I've heard some good things about WP and am interested in seeing what they have to offer, but I'm not interested in abandoning Android, so a dual boot option would be nice.

        • PhoenixPath

          "So, what about those that don't have a Microsoft store nearby?"

          I doubt I could care less. I've got plenty of things to worry about...this ain't one of them. ;)

  • lost

    Dual boot may not be so interesting, but "Dual OS" where both are active at same time WOULD be interesting for more people - similar to what Samsung plans for Ativ Q. Then you could put shortcuts from one OS on "desktop" of other OS. It would be acceptable even if one OS is primary (say Windows) and other OS is 'virtual' (Android).

    • Qorse

      That would definitely be pretty neat, but is it actually practical? IIRC the Ativ Q sports a Haswell processor. I'm not confident that this would be doable in a way that would actually be an improvement with current ARM chips.

  • Jose Torres


    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      If you scroll up to the top and look just under the headline, there's a batch of text that somewhat explains that.

      • Jose Torres

        Why have 2 competing operating systems on a phone? A PC is understandable but a phone? It's not like the ASUS Transformer Book either, this is 2 operating systems that essentially do the same thing.

        • danielP

          My parents like the htc one but can't use android (too complicated for them) so if they can have the htc one with wp8 would be perfect as it's a really simple to use OS for my parents..

          I do not thing it's a bad idea

          • Tom`

            Exactly, there's 2 of them sold right there!

          • frhow

            So they say Android is too complicated but they will understand the dual boot function of this? Um, I think not. They make phones for the older generations and its called the iPhone. :)

  • anmolm97

    HTC won't do very well till the time they improve their customer service!! Also WP sucks...using it these days. Also why would an Android user want a Windows Phone? End up using Android all the time.

  • AnthonyRyan89

    Personally I think Windows Phone should just give up and die already.

  • selonmoi

    Oh, HTC, stop pissing away your money on bad ideas and start executing.

  • Mahyar Borhani

    they should do that With Nokia phones.

  • Dave

    I have one pic for WP:


    • kataloniz

      you can say the same thing about google even worse case with google

      • Dave

        The difference is no one concerned uses stock ROM. I have exactly what i want on my phone. You cannot do that on WP.

  • Александр Орлов

    Because WP played out so well for Nokia.

    Already anticipating how "easy" will be explaining all that dual boot crap to my wife, or "technically weak" friends

  • Guest

    I think is an interesting ideas for tables, but yeah, those are already being sold.

  • ginobili

    I think is an interesting idea for tablets, but yeah, those are already in the market.

  • Ahmad Nadeem

    It would be intriguing provided the bootloader is unlockable

  • h4rr4r

    Are they not going out of business fast enough?
    After what MS did to Nokia, no one with any sense at all would do that.

    • Justin W

      I think it would be a smart idea. HTC needs a flagship WP device and a flagship Android device. Why not combine the two? Make one device with the same specs/overall design, allow customers to choose whether it runs Android or WP. I'd buy it as long as I had the option of switching between the two (via software changes/mods, not necessarily dual-boot).

      • h4rr4r

        They do not need a flagship WP device. No one is buying them. It is a waste of money and will only lead to a Nokia scenario.

        • Justin W

          Is no one buying them because there isn't a flagship device other than Nokia available? Possible, I can't say for sure. I just would like to see a non-Nokia WP flagship available on all carriers, like the HTC One or SGS4/Note 3. It would make it much more accessible, brand recognition (under one brand, such as the One or Galaxy brand) would be good for WP to have.

          • h4rr4r

            This would add tons more cost and not very many sales. Unless you want HTC to go out of business you can't support that. Or you are a paid WP shill, that is the other possibility.

          • Justin W

            I wouldn't mind getting paid to speak my mind (as I said earlier, though, I'd just like to see a non-Nokia Flagship WP device), but unfortunately I'm not. It would add costs, but if MS wants them to do it, they would likely help with it (I would assume, anyway, since HTC clearly hasn't had luck in the past with WP devices).

          • h4rr4r

            MS would have to cover all costs to make it worthwhile.

            WP brings nothing to the mobile market. If you want a closed locked down product get an iPhone. If you want to own your own hardware android.

          • Di Lu

            MS currently collect a hefty fee for every Android phone HTC makes, they can just drop that fee in exchange for this.

          • Qorse

            Why would it add more cost? All the coverage I've seen seems to suggest MS would be willing to waive licensing fees, and they'd be stupid not to as this is least part of the reason why their market share is nonexistent. Android is better and it's free.

            I don't see why more options is a bad thing. HTC is floundering and that's a shame, because I think they make great hardware. This would be a "first to market" situation and I think there's tangible benefits for both Windows users and developers who wouldn't otherwise ever buy a WP device.

          • h4rr4r

            So writing drivers, porting HTC apps and testing are all free? Marketing is free?

            Good, I hope no one ever buys a WP device. MS deserves this.

          • Qorse

            Marketing gets done anyway. MS presumably has their own drivers, as they're baked into WP. And who said anything about HTC apps on the WP build? I sure didn't, and neither did the press release. WP is a closed platform. You wouldn't expect to see manufacturer-specific functionality in any significant amount. It sounds like an absolutely terrible idea if you make half a dozen baseless assumptions, but then again so does anything.

          • h4rr4r

            Not for this hardware. MS only has drivers for one set of hardware right now. Marketing would have to focus on two things so double your cost.

            The simply fact that no one is buying WP means HTC should not bother building them. Why make something the market is not buying?

          • Qorse

            As I understand it, MS generally writes most if not all of the drivers for hardware that uses WP. It's one of the perks for paying the extra ~$20/device over Google's licensing fees, and also one of the reasons why MS has yet to get WP on decent hardware that people actually want. And marketing doesn't really work like that. All of the WP assets would be coming from MS, and HTC already has assets for the One. It's paying the marketing team to release a product, basically, which would be done regardless. It's not twice as much to focus on, it's just different things to focus on, which is what marketers do for a living.

            But you do have a really good point, though. I really don't know if it's worth the time it would take to get to market because there might just not be a market for high end dual boot devices. As a power user and a developer, I'd be down to try it out. If I had to guess, I'd probably end up using Android 90%+ of the time and using WP only to handle synching with my laptop's file system. So you're probably right. It's far from certain that this would sell enough to warrant a big release, which is likely something MS would insist on. But I just don't think added costs inherent to WP are really an issue in this context.

  • Pierre Gardin

    Android isn't actually free when you ship it with the "Android" name and/ or with Google apps, though it's cheap.

    • Justin W

      "Android" is free, the Google Apps are not. There's a pretty big difference there.

      • Pierre Gardin

        See edit.

        • Justin W

          "-using the Android... is subject to licensing"

          No, it's not. I can go download AOSP's code and modify it to fit any device I please without paying anything to anyone. If I wanted Google Apps on it, I'd have to get it licensed for it, but Google Apps are not included. AOSP is not licensed as Google's Apps suite is.

          Also, I'm glad you value others' input by calling them retards.

  • frhow

    So exactly what would you need to do with the Windows OS that you wouldn't be able to do with Android? Seems like more resources to be used for HTC in creating a seamless process. Also, would you have to buy the same App for both OS? I see way too many negatives than positives for the everyday consumer. Why not just plop a skin on top of android if you want that Windows look.

  • AJH

    The reason I would consider buying one of these - Windows phone comes with Microsoft Office. Use Android as my primary OS, switch when I need Office.

  • MarkG

    They got distracted by the Windows Phone OS that consumers have told the world they aren't interested in. Samsung took the ball and ran with it.

    Windows Phone destroyed HTC last time around, they took their eye of the ball, and it was game over.

  • Cuvis

    You know, I could see this being a good thing for HTC and MS. It'd enable HTC to consolidate lines while getting MS's OS onto primo hardware. That said, I see this more as being sold with either WP or Android, with perhaps a developer edition with dual-boot. A dual-boot phone is a non-starter as a consumer-oriented device.

  • awaaas

    It's so ironic that they block their tablets from dual-booting other OS, and then do this

  • Sergii Pylypenko

    I would love more competition to Google/Samsung dominance, not from Microsoft though, they have long-standing reputation of being evil.
    Blackberry making an epic comeback, for example, would get cheers from me, also they do not try to reinvent the API and frameworks, and just allow existing Android apps to run on their devices with minimal effort from developers, a smart move indeed.

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  • APai

    there would be a LOT of articles, explaining to "free up" the extra space *lost* on internal memory