Saturday, October 3, 2015

Microsoft patent shows how smartphones could run multiple operating systems

Want a computer that lets you run Windows 10 as easily as OS X, or even Linux? One that, as a part of its boot process, lets you pick the operating system of your choice? And where switching from one OS to the next is as easy as rebooting your machine? Done. Easy. 

A ten-year-old could set it up for you. So why is it that when we’re talking about smartphones – devices that are supposed to be just as technologically advanced, if not more so, than our stodgy old computers – this prospect of easily jumping between platforms is suddenly the most difficult thing in the world? There’s a heck of a lot of blame to be passed around there (and honestly, it’s more an issue of “won’t” multi-boot than “can’t”), but this week we’ve got one new development that as least brings us some remote hope that a multi-platform phone could one day become a reality, as Microsoft applies for a patent related to just that tech.

What Microsoft suggests in this patent should sound very familiar to anyone who’s ever dual-booted before: the patent describes various boot menus users could navigate through to select their platform of choice. And while the patent is broad enough to cover all sorts of device types, Microsoft is clearly putting its focus on phones and tablets here.

Heading further into the patent, though, the method Microsoft describes doesn’t sound ideal for really serious platform-switchers. Rather than have user data stored separately from OS files (and be accessible across operating systems), Microsoft is talking more about a phone that may be pre-loaded with one OS, but holds installation files for other platforms – and you would have to go through a lengthy installation process when switching between them, akin to setting up a phone for the first time. Or maybe instead, the phone could ship with multiple OS options, and let the user choose their preferred one on first boot, deleting the unwanted platform files to free up storage space.

We’re just happy to see that the company is discussing the idea at all, and even if Microsoft doesn’t have any commercial plans to release a phone that can dual-boot between Windows 10 Mobile and Android, it may not have dismissed that possibility entirely.

Source: USPTO
Via: WMPoweruser, pocketnow