It’s been a few weeks since a new build of Windows Phone Internals made it possible to unlock the bootloader for most Lumia smartphones, and ever since the tool was released, developers have been finding ways to do crazy things like cram a desktop/tablet version of Windows onto phone-sized devices.
Developer Ben Wang has made a lot of progress getting Windows RT to run on a Lumi 640 XL smartphone. While Windows RT is pretty much a dead platform at this point, it is a version of Windows that’s designed to run on devices with ARM-based processors.
And now he’s also posted a tutorial explaining how you can load Windows RT 8.1 on a Lumia phone yourself.
The first thing to note is that the guide is not for the faint-of-heart. It requires making some pretty serious changes to your phone. It looks like a time consuming process. There’s a good chance something will go wrong. And you’ll certainly end up wiping data from your phone… because that’s what happens when you try replacing one operating system with another. The guide also assumes a pretty high level of technical knowledge.
The second thing to note is that the guide still only gets you part of the way to the finish line, because Wang still hasn’t enabled all of the phone’s features. There’s no support for battery status. The built-in speakers don’t work. And cellular features don’t work (and probably never will).
In other words, if you’re hoping for an easy-to-follow list of 10 steps for turning a Lumia phone into a tiny Windows RT tablet, you might want to wait until the process is less experimental.
That said, it’s still pretty impressive that it’s even possible to load Windows RT on a phone designed to run Windows Phone. And since Microsoft isn’t really supporting Windows Phone anymore and app developers are abandoning the platform, what else are you going to do with your old Lumia?