Microsoft’s announcement of the tablet-esque Windows 8 has really made a big splash and has seen many mixed reactions. The new version has Metro and ARM, which can really help push Microsoft in a new direction.
ARM Processor support alongside x86 is huge and has opened Windows up to a whole new array of devices. One rumor that has circulated is that Windows Phone 8 might swap out CE for NT, meaning it would be based on Windows 8 technology.
Microsoft has yet to confirm such a notion but it hasn’t stopped the rumors from flowing.
For those who want to go a step further and stop just speculating, it is actually possible to have a Windows 8 phone right now. This phone is actually an x86 phone by HTC, the Shift.
For those of you that don’t remember the Shift, it was a failed project that teamed HTC with Microsoft to develop a specialized phone that would use Windows Vista.
Considering Windows Vista wasn’t exactly well received and such a phone was likely big, bulky, and not touch optimized it really isn’t a surprise that it didn’t do well. Keep in mind this isn’t the EVO Shift, which is an entirely different handset.
The lack of success means that getting a hold of a Shift shouldn’t set you back too far in cash and although it isn’t very powerful and is a bulky machine, it could still be a phone Windows 8 project.
So what kind of power is behind the hood of the HTC/Microsoft Shift? The Shift featured a 800MHz Stanley CPU, a 7-inch widescreen touch display, tri-band UMTS/HSDPA, quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE, Bluetooth 2.0, WiFi, 30GB HDD, and a slide out QWERTY keyboard. The phone had pretty cool specifications, although it isn’t exactly a power house.
For those that know much about Windows 8 though, it should be more than enough power behind the hood to operate Windows Developer Preview.
So how do you go about turning your Shift into a fully-functioning Windows 8 smartphone? Thanks to the folks at IT Pro Portal, there are three different guides that will take you through the installation process, how to get the drivers working, and essentially everything you need to make the most out of Windows 8 on your mobile phone.
This is the first of such ports on the Internet, but it wouldn’t be surprising if more of these Windows x86 phones start showing up with instructions for getting Windows 8 running onboard. Admittedly running Windows 8 on a phone is pretty cool, but x86 phones are bulky, loud, and not the most mobile of mobile solutions.
The real excitement will start when Windows 8 for ARM arrives we will start seeing real Windows mobile phones getting the port treatment. Imagine finding a way to get an older Windows 6 Mobile (or phone 7) phone running 8, that would certainly be something worth seeing.
Until then, all we have is the x86 version of Windows 8 and so we are limited on the ports we will see. What do you think of x86 phones running Windows 8? Is it worth the effort to get this kind of project going or are x86 phones just too bulky?
I personally am considering buying an older x86 project phone or maybe one from China and trying a project like this, but I’m someone who likes to tinker around. For those looking for a useable Windows 8 experience on a phone? It probably is better to wait for the arrival of ARM beta or perhaps a real announcement from Microsoft.