Which Android handsets would you like to see as Windows Phones?

Earlier this week, HTC launched the long-awaited Windows Phone version of its Android flagship, the One M8. It’s a sign of the times, as manufacturers are reluctant to invest in developing hardware exclusively for Windows Phone, while the platform continues to struggle, with less than 3% of the worldwide smartphone market.

It was for precisely that reason that Microsoft dropped its licensing fees for the Windows Phone OS, and relaxed its stringent guidelines on handset design, allowing manufacturers to do without the dedicated hardware camera button, and letting them use on-screen ‘soft buttons’ in place of dedicated Back, Start and Search buttons on the front of the device.

Since then, Microsoft has succeeded in signing up a much larger range of OEMs to the platform, and many are taking advantage of the less prescriptive hardware requirements to repurpose existing Android handset designs for Windows Phone, just as HTC did. That opens up a whole world of possibilities.

According to OpenSignal, there are currently around 19,000 different Android models in the hands of users worldwide. Many are obsolete and no longer on sale, but there is still an enormous number of Android phones out there, and while some are less than desirable, there are plenty of stylish, and capable handsets that Windows Phone users may well stare at in quiet envy.

Given the overwhelmingly positive response to the HTC One M8 for Windows, it seems that this strange new world of turning Androids into Windows Phones may not be so bad after all. But which devices should be next to switch platforms?

One obvious candidate that springs to mind is the LG G3. LG used to make Windows Phone 7 devices, many moons ago, but turned its back on the platform to focus on Android instead. But this year, Microsoft announced that LG is returning to Windows Phone – so could a WP version of its G3 be on the way?

If it is, it won’t be arriving for a while – even the very latest versions of Windows Phone do not yet support ultra-high resolution displays. The G3 has a Quad HD (2560x1440px) display, but the maximum supported resolution for the OS is still Full HD (1920x1080px), so whatever LG has in store for Windows Phone, it probably won’t be a version of the G3.

What about Samsung’s Galaxy S5? The company’s Android flagship managed to impress us when we reviewed it earlier this year, with its stunning display, snappy performance and water-resistance. A Windows Phone version of this device could be a very compelling offering – although, sadly, this too seems unlikely.

The S5’s hardware buttons could well prove to be a problem, with an app-switcher button in place of one for search, and the back button located on the right rather than the left. Making costly hardware changes is exactly what OEMs have been avoiding when it comes to Windows Phone, so the odds seem low of Samsung – whose commitment to the platform has been half-hearted at best – redesigning the device to accommodate new buttons.

But hope springs eternal, and you never know what might happen. Indeed, for all we know, Sony might finally join Windows Phone – it came close to doing so in the Windows Phone 7 Series days, developing prototypes of a device codenamed 'Julie', before ultimately dropping its launch plans to focus exclusively on Android. But there are surely plenty of users out there who would relish the opportunity to get their hands on a Windows Phone version of the Xperia Z2, for example.

And if we’re really indulging our flight of fancy, shall we dare to dream of a Windows Phone version of the OnePlus One? Yeah... that’s probably not going to happen.

Still, the Android hardware ecosystem is incredibly diverse, in a way that continues to elude Windows Phone, even with the new wave of manufacturers that have committed to launching new devices for Microsoft’s mobile OS. It’s not just flagships either – there are many beautiful and impressive Android devices to be found in the low- and mid-range too.

So now, it's over to you: which Android handsets would you most like to see running Windows Phone? 


All images above were created solely for the purpose of this article. None of these images are intended to represent any actual upcoming devices. 

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Strangely enough, I would love to see that as well. It's such a good phone with excellent specs and a great price.

I feel that Android is actually dragging this phone down but I expect Android L to greatly improve the Nexus 5.

Why on Earth would anyone want to spoil their Android device by installing the Windows Phone OS on it?

I wouldn't count the tile interface as an advantage. What actual features would you gain by doing this?

The G3 is a nice phone. My coworker has one. But it's just too large for my preferences. If they made a 1080p version at ~5" then I'm definitely considering the phone. The pictures I've seen of it seem to be quite good compared to Lumia-based cameras. That thin profile and light weight for its size also made it a desirable product for me. But I've enjoyed the WP platform for a couple years now and I'm not looking to exit it with all the new hardware coming to the platform. I do want to see Sony put a good Experia-type product out for WP as well. I've enjoyed much of what Sony has done design-wise and think they would help themselves out by trying to make a good impression on the WP community.

Why couldn't the LG G3 come out with Windows Phone. The article says it is unlikely because WP doesn't support the resolution of the G3.

I don't see why they couldn't just release it as is, and then when WP get's an update to support the higher resolution, it would just be an update to the device. I think that would be win-win for the consumer/OEM. The OEM could tout the update as saying they are keeping up with giving the consumer updates. The consumer would see the update and say, look, this update allowed my phone to support the already high resolution screen and be seen as a nice upgrade.

Neowin Team - The blue bgcolor for all the articles and the entire site is making it unreadable. Please change it to white background. pls.

I dream of the day when the average consumer can swap between Android and Windows Phone at will (as in flashing) without the need for a specific device that supports one or the other.

None of them, actually. Nothing in the Android realm looks attractive at all, and there's really nothing special about them. I have yet to see a device that touches the Lumia 1020.

You got this backwards. It's Android users that are lusting for Lumia's, not WP users lusting for Android devices. And the iPhone faithful just want bigger screens.

Darth Tigris said,
You got this backwards. It's Android users that are lusting for Lumia's, not WP users lusting for Android devices. And the iPhone faithful just want bigger screens.

in your magic dream world maybe,
consumers like choice, and Android has many FLAGSHIP phones, while WP has NOKIA

pretty limiting, if i may say so myself.

Yes, I still have to see another device like the Lumia 1520.3 that supports wireless charging, 20.1MP PureView camera, 6" 1080p display that works even with your gloves on. IMO best all-rounder phone on the market today. I wouldn't trade it for any of the Android phones out there. Well if the Note 4 specs are true than it's the closest competitor to the 1520, but I still don't want to deal with Android.

Darth Tigris said,
You got this backwards. It's Android users that are lusting for Lumia's, not WP users lusting for Android devices. And the iPhone faithful just want bigger screens.

LOL you're delusional.

To be honest any of the Android flagships would be welcome. Windows Phone needs a flagship like the GS5, LG G3, Note 3, Experia Z2, etc.

bithush said,
To be honest any of the Android flagships would be welcome. Windows Phone needs a flagship like the GS5, LG G3, Note 3, Experia Z2, etc.

To be honest any of the Android flagships would be welcome. Windows Phone needs a flagship like the GS5, LG G3, Note 3, Experia Z2, MI 3 etc

I corrected that for you as you left one out: MI3

Is this really a strategy for Windows Phone? Get OEM's to run the OS on their existing Android Phones and release them as a Windows Phone variant? Its a bit desperate, especially after spending billions on NOKIA.

derekaw said,
Is this really a strategy for Windows Phone? Get OEM's to run the OS on their existing Android Phones and release them as a Windows Phone variant? Its a bit desperate, especially after spending billions on NOKIA.

I remember reading a study two years ago that said when a large company bought another large one in order to break into a new market, their success rate in that new market was 0%. For the life of me I can't find the article anymore.

Not really sure why they bought Nokia, unless they were just worried that Nokia was going Android. Probably not worth buying them for $7 billion though.

At least now they're doing smarter things with OEM support.

I usually love HTC hardware, just because they seem to be the only company to risks with their designs add to that they typically have a premium feel, even on the low end devices.

Also Motorola seems to have had a resurgence of great hardware of late as well as LG (especially the Nexus 4 chassis, beautiful) and can't forget about the iPhone's glorious hardware

I would like to see a Nokia icon with the droid maxx battery life. The battery life of the maxx is the only thing holding me to android.

I would say the flagships like HTC One M8, LG G3, Samsung GS5/Note 3, etc. How about the flip side of this - what WP device (read: Nokia) would I like to see with Android? I would love to see the Nokia Lumia 1520/Icon/1020/930 with stock Android. If Nokia had its way, they'd butcher Android like they did with Nokia X/X2 -> hence stock Android.

I don't find any Android phone appealing as far as physical look. Nokia's design is superior to all of them. Most android hardware is cheap crap and that's what WP will end up on for the most part. The point is to flood the market with cheap phones just like Android, is it not? I'll be sticking to Nokia designed phones as long as it's maintained the same way at MS.

The LG G3. That's all I'd want.

There again, a Nexus 5 with WP8.1 would be great... I love the Nexus chassis. But that is obviously NEVER going to happen :)

I would buy a Sony phone if they made a Windows phone 8.1 device with the ability to run playstation mobile games, especially if it had a MOGA style PlayStation controller with it.

Why not give us the option to choose what OS we want on our phones? We have the ability to do that with desktops and laptops. I wouldn't mind running WP on my Nexus 5.

Steffan said,
Why not give us the option to choose what OS we want on our phones? We have the ability to do that with desktops and laptops. I wouldn't mind running WP on my Nexus 5.

Exactly! And perhaps later change it? Whatever we please! And normal user just get what they choose to start with.

Steffan said,
Why not give us the option to choose what OS we want on our phones? We have the ability to do that with desktops and laptops. I wouldn't mind running WP on my Nexus 5.

Microsoft's obsession with imitating Apple has blinded them. It's clear that after 4 years in the market but still struggling to break 3% should be enough to see that anyone can copy an idea, but not everyone can copy results. If Microsoft weren't so hard-headed and gave people the choice, and move away from that metro crap, I'd jump in their bandwagon immediately.

Pluribus said,

If Microsoft weren't so hard-headed and gave people the choice, and move away from that metro crap, I'd jump in their bandwagon immediately.

So you want a start menu on windows phone? /s

eddman said,

So you want a start menu on windows phone? /s

Nah, I only want Windows Phone to succeed /s
Apparently nothing's worked so far so let's keep using the same formula /s

Pluribus said,

Microsoft's obsession with imitating Apple has blinded them. It's clear that after 4 years in the market

Sorry, but I had to cut you short there.
Microsoft has been in the market since WELL before Apple was blinding the gullible.

My previous 'alter ego' (which no one at Neowin cares was me), taomuon, even wrote about it here, when the first iPhone was released.

Windows has been in the mobile phone arena longer than many mobile phone manufacturers. Windows was on phones before Android even.

abecedarian paradoxious said,
Sorry, but I had to cut you short there.
Microsoft has been in the market since WELL before Apple was blinding the gullible.

My previous 'alter ego' (which no one at Neowin cares was me), taomuon, even wrote about it here, when the first iPhone was released.

Windows has been in the mobile phone arena longer than many mobile phone manufacturers. Windows was on phones before Android even.

Sorry to bust your bubble, but none of that who-did-it-first garbage matters - all that matters is sales and profit, which Microsoft lags behind. I don't care for Apple or any company, but in terms of business, if you can sell, make money, and have people believe in your company - well mission accomplished. Business 101.

Pluribus, I can't see how Microsoft has copied Apple AT ALL?! Microsoft is more open, customizable. Apple will forever be fenced in grid of icons.

Back on topic, I'd like to see the Galaxy series on Windows Phone. They are just so many options for the Galaxy, covers, batteries, lenses and there are many users for support. Yes, the Lumia is superior hardware, but look at where the Windows Phone growth is..... LOW END, CHEAP PHONES!!! Why?
1. Cheap is always attractive to the budget conscience.
2. Many want try Windows Phone, but may not want to jump in fully. The 5xx and 6xx series allows you to cheaply try out Windows Phone.

Allowing a plentiful, cheap Samsung S3 or S4 to be repurposed is GREAT for the consumer... maybe not so much for Samsung.

The Ramen Master said,
What about windows phone on the Iphone 5? Apple makes some sweet devices.

The issue isn't with hardware, it's software. Windows Phone OS is cluttered and Ugly. People would shun and despise like they do now even with the chassis of an iPhone 5.

Pluribus said,

The issue isn't with hardware, it's software. Windows Phone OS is cluttered and Ugly. People would shun and despise like they do now even with the chassis of an iPhone 5.

I = people. Seems legit. /s

Let me counter your anecdotal evidence with another.

My friend's 50-something mom wanted a simple smartphone. We got her a lumia 620. She easily learned how to use it and liked it.
Unfortunately it developed a hardware issue 2 months later. We got her an android sony and she still wanted her 620 back.

Anecdotal?! Wow, people in here never ceases to amaze me. How's a change from 3.5% to an even more pathetic 2.5% anecdotal? Clearly people don't give a crap about it.

Pluribus said,
Anecdotal?! Wow, people in here never ceases to amaze me. How's a change from 3.5% to an even more pathetic 2.5% anecdotal? Clearly people don't give a crap about it.

The anecdotal was you speaking on behalf of all people that they don't like WP's interface and then I brought an example showing that's not it.

Yes, WP's market share is small, although it's much bigger outside US (still small though), but there are many factors involved in this; main and foremost having just one manufacturer paying proper attention to it, which is touched upon in this very article.

I know people who just don't want or like nokia, even if it had android on it, and I'm not talking about the X line, but proper android.

daniel_rh said,
From Samsung: Galaxy S5, Alpha.
Motorola: Moto X or G

Galaxy Alpha certainly, branded as ATIV Alpha with Qi wireless charging and expandable storage.

I think the LG G3 could easily come to windows phone, if the resolution is an issue... microsoft will surely put it in update 2 and release it as soon as LG wish to release the phone. Much like HTC features needed were added in update 1 for the case to work!

Also the smart watch features added can help LG smart watches work with WP.

techbeck said,
WP cannot survive without other OEMs producing WP devices.

I said nothing about OEMs. All I was saying is that WP deserves its own hardware. Not recycled Android handsets.

Dot Matrix said,

I said nothing about OEMs. All I was saying is that WP deserves its own hardware. Not recycled Android handsets.

Even recycled Android phones are more popular than Windows Phones. Windows Phone isn't special enough to have its own hardware. It will need all the life-support from OEMs as it can get. If anything, Microsoft's flip-flopping on its OS policies to spur OEM interest is enough for any non-fanboy to see how desperate it's become for Windows Phone.

Depicus said,
Apple manages ok.

Apparently Microsoft has all kinds if problems with its hardware. So something's wrong since Microsoft can't duplicate Apple's success.

Pluribus said,

Apparently Microsoft has all kinds if problems with its hardware. So something's wrong since Microsoft can't duplicate Apple's success.

Care to name them?

Dot Matrix said,

Care to name them?

Why sure, Matrix. I'll just start and end it on one simple fact: 2.5% after 4 years. And let's not forget about it sloping downward either.

Depicus said,
Apple manages ok.

Compared to Android? Yeah I'd say they are managing, but not thriving. That is only because they had major marketshare and ecosystem before Android stole the show. If they started where MS did, it would be bad.

Dot Matrix said,

I said nothing about OEMs. All I was saying is that WP deserves its own hardware. Not recycled Android handsets.

Then make your statement clearer next time.

Last thing OEMs need is more model phones they have to support and update. If the android design worked well and people liked it, then by all means use it with other devices. And at this point, MS should feel lucky other OEMs are starting to come out with WPs.

Pluribus said,
I'll just start and end it on one simple fact: 2.5% after 4 years.

That's not a problem with the hardware. (Which is typically quite good actually.) Marketshare has nothing to do with how good or bad the hardware is. (Lack of apps, consumer perception, all that stuff on the other hand..)

Depicus said,
Apple manages ok.

Apple has the massive and impossible to repeat brand loyalty, seriously Steve and co did a fantastic job at positioning apple at the high fashion/cool end of tech.

An iTurd would sell by the millions.

I didn't want to have to focus so much and get lost in the details but, things like uninspired, ugly hardware (1020) are things that also stick in peoples' minds. The idea of a 41 MP camera is great actually, but man does that thing look ugly. Microsoft needs to hire people that have better artistic abilities and fire the current ones.

But the point still stands, either software will sell hardware, or hardware will sell software. In the case of Microsoft, both the hardware and software can use some more inspiration.

duddit2 said,

Apple has the massive and impossible to repeat brand loyalty, seriously Steve and co did a fantastic job at positioning apple at the high fashion/cool end of tech.

An iTurd would sell by the millions.

And it built that brand loyalty, so others could do the same - I'd say Microsoft did to a degree with the Xbox so it is possible. Nokia did it because they produced solid products and Blackberry did it with great software so it's not impossible.

Pluribus said,

Why sure, Matrix. I'll just start and end it on one simple fact: 2.5% after 4 years. And let's not forget about it sloping downward either.

How does that indicate a hardware issue?

I don't think anyones done what apple have done tbh, not to the extent where a tech product is seen as fashionable amongst all age groups - or more to the point tech products (ipod, iPad, iPhone, imac, imac air) - I'm not a 'fan' of apple as I prefer windows os BUT I can recognise good marketing and management when I see it, and apple has built both the marketing hype AND the real work backing it up system of support.

if you want ugly look at the Samsung attempt to have a beautiful camera on their phones, the 1020 actually is not as ugly as you think and still has no real competition today for its camera.

Depicus said,
Microsoft did to a degree with the Xbox so it is possible.

Bwahahaha, are you serious? Brand loyalty means you keep going back to different products of the same brand. The original Xbox didn't sell well. The Xbox 360 sold great and is well liked but that's not brand loyalty unless it translates to sales of future products. The Xbox One is getting CRUSHED by the PS4 and there are recent articles saying 1/3 of the PS4 sales are from Xbox and Wii so it doesn't look like the 360's success translated into much brand loyalty at all.

LG is said to be a OEM partner again, so they could do a G3 or wait till the next one and maybe release the android and WP version at the same time. As for Sony, don't know, but they're not doing that great in the overall smartphone market iirc, in the same boat with HTC overall.

As many high-end models from different manufacturers as possible; LG, sony, samsung, etc., doesn't matter.
It's not possible to grab market share with just one dedicated brand, maybe two now, with HTC.

eddman said,
As many high-end models from different manufacturers as possible; LG, sony, samsung, etc., doesn't matter.
It's not possible to grab market share with just one dedicated brand, maybe two now, with HTC.

And to increase number of carriers that have them on there network. Example - There's no sprint lumia's.

subcld said,
LG G3 and sony xperia z2

Seeing as they are some of best android phones on the market, they would be nice as WP :). Couldn't LG just swap out the screen though?

subcld said,

x+1 ? it looks nice but it doesn't feel like a premium phone

The X+1 is not out yet...also going by the latest moto devices it should feel premium enough, the Moto X and Moto G feel very nice, especially for their price points

Silver47 said,

Seeing as they are some of best android phones on the market, they would be nice as WP :). Couldn't LG just swap out the screen though?

Well that defeats the whole point of this endeavor, in that zero hardware mods are needed and its simply a case of choosing between 2 images to install on the hardware.

subcld said,

x+1 ? it looks nice but it doesn't feel like a premium phone

Well not sure about that but let's say you're right. Xperia Z3 then.