Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi’s devices ship with a custom version of Android called MIUI. But earlier this year Xiaomi and Microsoft announced plans to let users install Windows 10 on some Xiaomi phones.
Now the time has come: if you have a Xiaomi Mi 4 LTE smartphone you can download and install Windows 10.
There are a few things to keep in mind:
- The software is available as a free download, but you’ll need to join Microsoft’s Windows Insider program which is basically Microsoft’s program for providing pre-release builds of its software to folks interested in testing the software and providing feedback.
- Technically this isn’t the first build of Windows 10 available for the Mi 4: a pre-release build was made available in June. But that was before Microsoft officially released Windows 10 to the public, so that software was basically an early beta, whereas the new Insider Preview builds are based on the commercially available Windows 10 Mobile, but may include experimental features tacked on top.
- Windows 10 for the Mi 4 is only available in Chinese.
- Only the 4G LTE version of the phone is supported.
While Xiaomi doesn’t currently sell its phones in the United States, the company does have a presence in India, Singapore, Indonesia, and some other markets. So it’s worth noting that it looks like Microsoft and Xiaomi are only officially supporting the 4G model of the phone sold in China.
Still, this is the first time Microsoft has officially made its smartphone operating system available as software that users could install on their own phones. Up until now if you’ve wanted a phone running Windows, you’ve had to buy a phone that came with the software pre-installed (or flash an unofficial custom ROM).
There’s a new tool for flashing the software on supported phones, and if you’d prefer to go back to MIUI/Android after trying Windows, you can do that. Still, this sort of software is really aimed at advanced users that are comfortable flashing firmware on smartphones.