The Android community is filled with mods of all kinds for devices, from customizations to rooting to even installing alternative operating systems. The same can’t be said for other mobile platforms, especially iOS. Microsoft’s Windows phones, however, was a no man’s land until recently. Now thanks to some avid fans, and indirectly thanks to Microsoft, soon some users might be able to dust off their old Lumia phones and find new use for them. Like, for example, installing Windows RT.
It all began with Microsoft releasing its Windows Phone Internals 2.3 tool, which allowed owners of Lumia phones to unlock their bootloaders and flash custom ROMs. While that doesn’t exactly give them the ability to install something useful like an Android ROM, it at least allows more experienced users to tinker around and do the next useful thing.
Granted, Windows RT is even deader than Windows 10 Mobile, which is also practically dead at this point. It at least shows how Microsoft could have made the ARM-based limited Windows 8 version work on something as restricted as Lumia 640 XL. Here it can even run with smooth graphics and audio, though audio has to be piped through USB instead of the internal speakers.
Since Windows RT uses a desktop UI, it’s not entirely usable with touch alone, there are definitely parts and apps, especially the “Metro”/Modern ones, that are touch-friendly. But connect a mouse, a keyboard, and mirror the display and you could have a desktop in your pocket.
The hack simply shows that it was technically possible in the first place, just that Microsoft chose not to. Yet another example of wasted opportunity. In the coming days, more hacks and ROMs like this might pop up, maybe with instructions on how to make the installation easier for anyone. Unfortunately, it might be too little too late by that time.