Opinion: I want a Microsoft-powered Android phone

Windows Phone was Microsoft’s ambitious plan to build a unique OS that ultimately failed. The company is no longer focusing on building hardware for Windows Phone, but it is believed to be working on a new mobile/hybrid device codenamed Andromeda. Not a lot has been revealed about Andromeda as of yet, and it’s hard to tell if the project will help Microsoft get back into the mobile market in the future. From what I have seen so far, Andromeda could really help Microsoft fight back to some extent, but it’s far from being ready and won’t be released anytime soon. But till then I kind of want an Android phone made by Microsoft.

With the launch of the new Microsoft Launcher and Microsoft Edge on Android, Redmond now has almost all of the apps required to build a “Microsoft-powered” Android phone. The company has an app for browsing the web, reading your emails, making documents or presentations, a video calling and chatting app, multiple to-do list apps, a cloud storage service, a news reader, a weather app, a search engine, a virtual assistant, and much, much more. Plus, there’s no doubt that Microsoft builds superior apps for the iPhone and Android phones when compared to the company’s modern Windows 10 apps. These apps offer a better experience on Android/iPhone than on Windows 10, both in terms of the design and functionality. All of these apps are connected to the Microsoft ecosystem, and they could easily help Microsoft make a Microsoft-powered Android phone. More importantly, having direct access to the core part of the software on a phone will allow Microsoft to build a phone that offers a true cross-device experience for Windows 10 users.

Microsoft has shown in the past that the company can build premium hardware, and a flagship Android smartphone with a premium design could easily give other Android OEMs a run for their money. The critical problem with the Android smartphone market, however, is that it’s way too crowded with far too many similar products. Most of them pack the same specs, nearly the same design, the same feature set, and offer nothing unique. If Microsoft ends up building an Android phone, it would need to make sure there’s some sort of differentiation happening to actually attract customers who aren’t completely part of the Microsoft ecosystem yet. But then again, one could argue that an Android phone made by Microsoft could be a differentiation factor by itself — just like Google’s Pixel line of phones.

Redmond already sells a Microsoft edition of the Samsung Galaxy S8 that comes with Microsoft apps out of the box, so it wouldn’t be too surprising to see an official Microsoft branded high-end Android phone in the future. I mean, I honestly wouldn’t mind a premium Android phone with a good-looking design, and a beautiful display, with support for the Surface Pen, pure Android (maybe with a Windows 10-inspired skin), and a high-end camera that seamlessly connects with the Microsoft ecosystem and my Windows 10 devices. It probably wouldn’t happen, though — Microsoft will need to make sure that the phone comes with Google Play Services for regular customers to actually buy the phone, and the company probably would not be too happy with shipping a product with Google’s services.

The Microsoft of 2017 is staggeringly different from the Microsoft of 2012, though. The company is now a lot more open than ever before, making partnerships with companies that you probably didn’t think would happen before. So an Android phone made by Microsoft that also comes with Google’s services is possible at the end of the day. Make it happen, Microsoft.

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