Remember all that talk about Microsoft courting OEMs to Windows Phone by allowing them to create phones that could switch back and forth between running WP8 and Android? The ones that seemed so far out on the fringes of possibility? Well, we’re not exactly looking at a polished mass-market phone from an HTC or a Samsung, but this afternoon we see the first handset that even approaches this goal, as we learn about the BM180 from Korean manufacturer Bluebird.
The ruggedized BM180 (also available with additional environmental protection as the BP30) runs Android in addition to Windows Embedded 8 Handheld – you might recall that from yesterday’s post about a new Panasonic phone running the same platform; it’s based on WP8, and looks and feels a lot like it, but with an industry focus, rather than being intended for personal use. That means that you shouldn’t count on picking up a BM180 as your daily driver, but we’re less concerned with the device itself, and more just glad to see that someone’s actually building it.
We also don’t know yet how smooth the transition from one platform to the other is: if you can jump back and forth on the fly, if it’s a choose-at-boot situation, of if you might actually need to manually reflash the phone. While that last option might be a non-starter for a consumer phone, we could believe it as a possibility for a business-focused device like this. The presence of what looks like an OS-switching app on that screenshot up top has us leaning towards one of the first two, certainly, but switching could still require a reboot.
With this first major step out of the way, who’s going to be first with a consumer version?
Update: It’s proving to be quite difficult to get straight answers about this device, but it now seems that the end-user may be stuck with the choice of one OS or the other, with the BM180 arriving permanently flashed for either Android or WE8H. Even if there’s no easy way to switch, this is still noteworthy for being one singular piece of hardware with options for different OSes.