Today, the smartphone market is dominated by two operating systems, iOS and Android. And we tend to forget that previously, other OSes tried to make a place for themselves alongside those of Apple and Google.
Among these is Microsoft’s mobile operating system, the mobile version of Windows. Unfortunately, it didn’t take off and the Redmond firm ended up abandoning Windows Mobile. If Microsoft now offers smartphones (with two screens), they run on a customized version of Android.
An Android device, but with Windows airs
But some are still nostalgic for the Windows Mobile era, like YouTuber Mark Spurrell. This takes us back to that time, thanks to a video in which he made some small changes to his Galaxy Z Fold 4 so that the operating system interface looks like Windows.
Indeed, contrary to what appearances may suggest, the device does not run on Windows but on Android. The youtuber didn’t even have to replace Samsung’s operating system. He simply installed two app launchers, available on the Google Play Store, so that the interface resembles that of a Windows device.
When the foldable screen is used, the smartphone displays an interface similar to that of computers running Windows 10. On the other hand, when using the external screen, it displays an interface comparable to the interface Metro from Windows Phone 8.1, with the tiles that were the hallmark of this operating system.
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It is not even necessary to change the operating system
The app launcher used on the internal screen is called Win-X Launcher, while the launcher used for the external screen is called Square Home. And since normally you can only use one application launcher on Android, Spurell had to resort to a little trick so that the smartphone automatically switches from one launcher to another depending on the screen that is used.
As explained in the video, the youtuber uses a Samsung feature called Bixby Routine. In essence, it automates actions on the smartphone, much like IFTTT. And, in essence, it was enough to program routines that run app launchers (which are also Android apps) when switching from the foldable screen to the external screen, or vice versa.
Result, we have a device that displays a computer interface when unfolded, and a Windows Phone interface when folded. It works relatively well. But as the video showed, we can also sometimes have some bugs.
Everything was created only by installing two applications available on the Play Store, and programming two routines on Bixby. So, no code or complicated manipulations.
However, if you want to use a real Windows smartphone, developer Gustave Monce has created a project to install the desktop version of Windows on Microsoft’s Surface Duo smartphone, which normally uses Android. However, the installation requires complex manipulations and currently, it is still riddled with bugs.
The flash also now works but not the camera sensor just yet pic.twitter.com/6PK7nszPKS
—Gustave Monce (@gus33000) August 3, 2022
In any case, all this reminds us that before the pandemic, Microsoft had planned to launch a tablet with two screens under Windows (a modified version of the OS called Windows 10X). Unfortunately, the product was eventually discontinued.