Microsoft (MSFT) last week signaled it may use Windows 10 to make a stronger move to capture smartphone market share from Android in a new deal with Xiaomi to enable Mi 4 power users in China to download and install a Windows 10 Technical Preview to their handsets in exchange for providing feedback to Microsoft.
Word of the deal sparked a great deal of chatter to say the least, ranging from questions about whether it’s the start of a broader reaching partnership between Microsoft and Xiaomi to musings about Xiaomi possibly thinking about dual-boot smartphones or perhaps a full-on change of allegiance from Android to Windows 10.
That prompted Hugo Barra, Xiaomi’s Global vice president, to take to his Google+ account to defend the Microsoft arrangement, repeating that the Microsoft-led program is “experimental” and does not suggest Xiaomi’s interest in Android is waning in favor of Windows.
In his Google+ post, Barra, who a year and a half ago jumped from Google’s Android unit to Xiaomi after five years helming the OS unit, addressed the rumors surrounding the deal, reiterating that “Xiaomi continues to fully embrace the Android ecosystem through our MIUI software platform and we’re moving ahead full steam building many exciting new Android-based features and services.”
Here’s the full text of Barra’s statement:
“We received many questions from Mi fans about an announcement made by Microsoft yesterday regarding Windows 10 Technical Preview for Mi 4 users in China. We’d like to clarify a few points.
This is an experimental program led by Microsoft, working directly with the Mi fan community in China.
Microsoft is working on a build of Windows 10 specifically for Mi 4 devices. This Windows 10 build will not be running on top of Android nor be available as a dual-boot option. A small number of Mi 4 power users from the Xiaomi Forum in China who choose to take part in this experimental program will have to manually re-flash their Mi 4 devices with this Windows 10 ROM, in the same way they would re-flash other Android ROMs.
At Xiaomi, we are very supportive of users trying new things and we encourage them to do so all the time! That’s why all of our devices ship with unlocked bootloader, for example. That’s also why Xiaomi welcomes Microsoft team members to interact directly with members of the Xiaomi Forum in China. More details will be announced by Microsoft in the coming months. This program will only be available in China.
Xiaomi continues to fully embrace the Android ecosystem through our MIUI software platform and we’re moving ahead full steam building many exciting new Android-based features and services.”