More details emerge on how the Xiaomi Windows 10 preview will be distributed

Having dropped something of a bombshell early this morning, we've now got a little more information from Xiaomi as to how owners of its Mi4 smartphone will get hold of the Windows 10 preview build. Naturally it'll be a more involved process that for current Windows Phones and will involve downloading and installing a full ROM pack that will be made available through Xiaomi's forums.

"Wanna try out the latest features of Windows on your Mi 4? Stay tuned and we will release the ROM Pack soon in the MIUI forum. Always believe something wonderful is about to happen. "

The forum guys are also running a quick poll and so far there's a good reaction to this news and plenty wanting to try it out. If you have, or are now going to get a Mi4, the MIUI forums are the place to set up shop in the coming weeks. We still don't know when, but it's exciting stuff nevertheless.

Oh, and here's what Windows 10 looks like on an actual, real life Mi4. Hot.

Source: MIUI forums

Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at

  • The settings icon looks ugly with medium sized tile.
  • They really need to change that lol
  • True that
  • Ha ha
  • I think there is sth wrong with Xiaomi, cuz my setting icon is not that big!
  • Yaa...its different
  • It's that big on Windows 10. Hideous tbh.
  • It is
  • This. Completely ruining the Start Screen layout on my 635. It's so unsightly. :P
  • Why putting it on the start screen when you can jump directly through the notification centre?
  • It's a legacy thing for me, personally. I've had it front and center since 7.5 on my Lumia 900. I like the way it looks. Well, not anymore. :/
  • Yeah no need for settings on your start screen. Put it in a live folder at least.
  • I chose Windows Phone because Microsoft treats me like a big kid and let's me make my own decisions about how I want my Start Screen to look. I'm fond of having settings right there. I don't really use Live Folders. They're awesome for those who need them, but I don't need them, and I still think the gear looks ugly. Shouldn't be a hard fix for Microsoft. Afterall, is there anyone who /prefers/ the obnoxiously large gear?
  • Because he wants to... The icon is so big, it's different than the others so it's probably a mistake and it's going normal in future builds.
  • C'mon guys! Lets not ruin the good news mood! You've got the feedback app to suggest Microsoft what you want changed.
  • What people choose to comment on is fascinating. Microsoft announces Windows for Android phones, and the first comment is that the settings icon is too big.
  • Yeah I swear, WC readers are the biggest bunch of whiny little bitches.
  • Ditto.
  • Seems faster.
  • Actually, the problem is with it not being a high resolution icon due to which it blurs out.
  • Looks like a mix of wp7 and early wp8
  • Sweet
  • Seems faster for real this time.. ;)
  • It's raining good news
  • Yes it is haha
  • This is what it sounds like on general, that this is a good thing. I am almost sure this is going to be the future of Windows Phone: a customized Android Rom. You will all see later down the road.
  • How is this a customised Android rom?! It has NOTHING to do with Android....aside from it fully replacing the original Android setup!
  • What would be the point of that?  MS wouldn't have access to the Google Play store if they made their own version of Android and the Android OS on a technical level is pretty ineffecient, unstable, and insecure compared to WP.  Basically, it would be all cons and few if any pros for MS.
  • Dumb, its not a customized android rom. Its WP rom
  • Do people over here believe the shit they are writing? THIS IS NOT native Windows 10, it is still running Android, but only a customized ROM that looks and functions like Windows 10!
  • I dont think its an Android ROM. Like they said, you are installing windows 10 as a custom ROM onto the device.
    Quaser, so go read yourself and stop posting dumb comments.
  • You beat me to it Posted via the Windows Phone Central App for Android
  • "Through a new program with Xiaomi, one of the top smartphone distributors in the world, a select group of Xiaomi Mi 4 power users will be invited to help test Windows 10 and contribute to its future release later this year. These power users will have the opportunity to download the Windows 10 Technical Preview – installing it and providing their feedback to Microsoft." There isn't much more than that to go on, but one thing seems clear. For some people, somewhere, there will be a Xiaomi phone running the Windows 10 Technical Preview. And that has our interest piqued. Update: In a statement to The Next Web, Microsoft announced: As part of the Windows Insider Program, Microsoft will partner with Xiaomi to offer Windows 10 free downloads to a select group of Xiaomi Mi4 users. Xiaomi Mi4 users will get the ability to flash their phones with the new Windows 10 OS and provide feedback to Xiaomi and Microsoft on their experience. This partnership will allow Xiaomi and Microsoft to get direct user feedback and continue to improve the experience for China. Microsoft is thrilled to see Xiaomi embracing Windows 10 and offering this great value to their customers. We're excited to see the feedback we receive from this audience. Learn to read instead of trying to belittle people on your ignorance Posted via the Windows Phone Central App for Android
  • Oh? Is that what Ubuntu OS is? What about Firefox OS? Tizen? WP doesn't run on magical fairy startdust you doofus. All phone devices share an ARM processor, it's just about writing a kernel to interact with their modules and compile WP, and it'll run on any ARM based device.Goddamn you're dumb, Qausar90.
  • MS finally figured out a way to crack into the Chinese smartphone market which is 90% Android.  With the amnesty granted to the pirated Windows users, the W10 conversion pace will be explosive.  It could mean 300-400 millions converted W10 users by the end of 1st year in China alone and 800 millions on the world wide base.  Developers will climb over themselves to join the Universal apps development.  They are in effect will develope apps for WP without targeting WP.  When you are using W10 day in and day out, over time you would find it making no sense to continue using non-W10 phones.  Mi 4 will make a perfect transition phone.  Other OEMs will follow soon.  MS could also offer a Lumia model with the custom ROM in order to help the Android users to make a smooth transition over to the W10 ecosystem.  Some people might be concerned about the negative impact to WP.  It won't happen because you can leave Android but you can't leave W10.
  • If one of these android devices have on-screen home/back etc buttons can a rom like this change the icons and positioning?
  • I think so yes, cause I think the android rom can change them too (via settings)?
  • what about Nokia X series? abondoned :( 800x480 screen, no space for on screen button :( sad Nokia X user
  • The HTC One doesn't have dedicated pixels for the buttons either. The software is designed to handle the software buttons when there aren't dedicated pixels.
  • My experience of Playing games like "The Love of Money" disagrees with you. Can only use the top of bottom menu icons even when I swipe away the action bar. I understand it is probably the developer but Microsoft should form a way around it to better the experience.
  • It's all dependent on scalability of the app, similar to how a web site scales down. If it's a fixed aspect ratio, it won't change. Email the developer. :)
  • Yes .. and what with those Nokia 3310 users? cant abandon them! Paying the mimiunm amount of money should put you right up on their priority list of supported devices
  • There are custom ROMs for Nokia X which will improve matters. Search for Nokia X custom ROMs.
  • I think you can forget about Nokia X. I have one too... Never expect any update for it. Just bought the cheap Lumia 535 and performance is much better than the Nokia X :D
  • Virtual buttons, probably yes, 'cause these buttons change according to OEM.
  • The setting icon looks sweet...
  • Chalk one up to "if it ain't broke, let's fix it"
  • Noooooo that thing is hideous.
  • A giant cog wheel lol and not one transparent tile to be found.
  • Can't wait for this to be nodded so it's flashable on alternate devices ;)
  • I hope it'll soon be possible on the HTC m7 I'll settle for on screen buttons instead of the hardware buttons Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • +One
  • M.s infact of distributing ur O.S here and their making devices cheap plzzz just make O.S perfect in full compete wth I.O.S nd ANDROID nd then itzzz lll no need to increase devices pepole will nly buy M.S devices too
  • Do you even English bro ? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Lol right
  • Look mom, I can typing.
  • Hahaha that got me rolling! :'D
  • What's up with the "Z" obsession?
  • Maybe sleepiness!
  • Okay, I get it. He is just making a point that instead of finding ways to make Windows run on Android hardware, Microsoft should iron out all the low points of Windows in comparison to competing platforms. Well, I just can't understand what's up with all those "Z"s.
  • May be it came the "no gamezzzz and no appzzzz" phrase.
  • Zzz are his trademark i think.. Haha what a tread...
  • I forgot my language now
  • I am guessing your the one behind "Wen in India" comments?
  • How... illuminating
  • Just a glance and o thought someone had dumped wp on an iphone!!! Either way this is getting interesting...
  • I'm surprised the phone has capacitive buttons and isn't a model that has on-screen buttons. Very brave move.
  • Well...we saw at MWC Kyocera just remapped its hardware buttons to do Windows Phone things. All Xiaomi phones currently have capacitive keys so it'd be impossible to avoid!
  • Samsung deal anybody?
  • Could potentially then run windows on Samsung Galaxy!!!
  • My Note 4 is ready!
  • This is it.
    Buy a note and flash straight away. Brilliant
  • Hey yeah its brilliant!
  • I swear it! I really thought sometime before about xiaomi may deal with MS... I want a superb ultrabook from these both...
  • Anyone noticed LED at the top, near mi logo?
  • Lol true
  • Was going to comment on that too :)
  • Ok so everyone gets to try windows 10 before windows phone users ?? Mean for the other devices that are not supported by tech preview as of yet...
  • Yeah ... :-S
  • Next build will support more devices. Xiaomi will get later builds.
  • Lol. We know the next update will come to more devices. I rolled back to 8.1 on my 635 because there were not enough new things to put up with the test issues. Gave good feedback for a couple of weeks though.
    Anyways, be patient until it is worth getting a version of W10
  • I wonder how the hardware buttons works......
    Back button for Cortana?
  • More likely the left hand most button which in Android is the task switcher or menu key (depending who made it.) That's how Kyocera did it, Xiaomi's buttons are just in the reverse order for some reason. Infuriates me on my Redmi Note because it's huge and the back button is miles away.
  • Its programmable buttons tho
  • Just a little ROM's customization :P
  • This is HUGE. Imagine if every Android phone manufacturer releases a Windows 10 variant of their devices this summer, when the new version of the OS launches. If apps and marketing are there, consumers will follow.
  • Like everyone does when they see that it is possible with WP8/8.1 right now? (HTC One...)
  • Then no need to buy windows phone? Just buy a Android phone?
  • Yup, they'll loose Nokia completely one day and MS is not doing good in hardware, especially they are not familiar in these kind of design, plus software might let them cover more markets, they want the Windows in the market bit not really Lumia in the market, wasn't they!
  • But you'll miss Lumia camera and all things from MS also glance screen and the main feature Carl Zeiss lens...
  • Those were all Nokia initiatives(if I'm not mistaken), whether MS continues to go with that or discontinues is a big question mark
  • They wont discontinue
  • Agreed they won't discontinue.
  • Yaa I agreed they won't discontinue if they really want to stay in the
  • Android don't make phones... I think this is perfect idea from Microsoft we need to turn phones into devices like computers where we pick the hardware configuration we want and then select the OS that sits on top of it independent of the hardware.
  • Google does make the Nexus although there are speculations these will be killed this year. Side note: When others compare MS hardware success to Android, these should be the devices/sales referenced. Anyone know how well Nexus phones sell in comparison to Lumias?
  • Good job, now you only released maybe you are not good in phone but it is a wise option to replace other phone with windows rom.
  • I just hope Mi have a secure boot loader in their firmware. I want a W10 install to be unhackable still.
  • Ohh Microsoft you should not be distribute your 'Windows Phone operating system with other devices' Look like Google's Android system, I think people should only buy M.S devices... Very very very very bad
  • And that kind of closed minded thinking would kill Windows Phone stone dead. Microsoft has a thriving base of OEM and ODM partners making devices all around the world. Why wouldn't you want that?
  • It's hard to make it if he was being sarcastic or not.
  • There have always been other manufacturers for Windows Phone. My first WP was a Samsung Focus.
  • Its not a bad move, its a smart move by Microsoft
  • Maybe now it would be good time to give acces to high end Lumias to Windows 10...
  • Yup, tired of everyone else getting the Microsoft treatment before die hard windows phone fans and users. Smh! Been waiting for tech preview on my 1520. Good news though.... I really believe Windows 10 is gonna be a whole different beast when its all said and done. Been a user from the very start and ill be here when we rise up and take some market share back! But please Microsoft, treat us like first class users. Stop giving everything to everyone but your own. That's gotta change
  • This is something completely different for Microsoft. Xiaomi is a goliath in China for one. I think it's a smart move. Xiaomi owners are passionate about their devices. Why not try and get them to be passionate about Windows 10 as well?
  • It's definitely a good idea from Microsoft, no question. Even if this phone gets the preview before more Windows Phones do, people shouldn't feel like they are getting screwed over. The Technical Preview is more about helping Microsoft build a great OS, and not primarily to give users something new to play with. I hope when android users do get the preview that it will be running fairly smoothly, as you say, they want people to get passionate about Windows 10 and I hope issues don't lead to it being made to look bad (Some will ignore the fact it's a tech preview) A community of android users like this seems like a good group for a preview in general, a lot of Android users like to tinker with their phones and try out things like this.
  • You said it... Windows+Microsoft need a bigger fan base and Chinese, Indians and Brazilians are really passionate about their phone's OS.
  • Part of the success of Microsoft was down to being able to run Windows on a huge range of devices. This is definitely a great idea
  • Imaging all of that relatively new Android devices that Samsung doesn't update more migrating to Windows.
  • I agree with you. It does look HAWT!
  • Great!
  • I think this is great. By putting legit WP10 roms out in the wild, there will be an increase in overall users, which helps market share. It might not be much but every little bit helps.
  • Yes, and +one reason to dont create MS App for other Platform
  • I guess Microsoft meant what they said when they announced Windows 10 will run on "ANYTHING". Time to hack the iPhone/iPad!!!! :)
  • Mi4 has a notification LED.
  • These look like physical buttons. How will the buttons work at the bottom?  Android has the back button the right.  Will Cortana still be on the right and use the arrow button?
  • Who knows. Kyocera on their prototype just remapped the task switcher (the three lines here) to be Cortana.
  • is it LED notification light on top ??  I think it is.. 
  • Yup.
  • Based on the photo MI4 with windows 8.1 (not sure it is windows 10) and it is not good phone design. Lumia is better.
  • It's 10. Look at the settings icon.
  • Have you never seen w10 for phones? Look at the photos and settings tile
  • + the new photos app tile
  • Well even though I'm a Lumia person I like to see that people have more windows phones to choose from, and converting an actual android phone to Windows? Excelent
  • More Devices, More Users, result in more Developers attention Launch that TP for Nokia 1100
  • I think Windows phone has mainly struggled due to lack of Lumia phones with good hardware at very low prices. Putting on Windows 10 on Xiaomi makes makes real good sense.
  • Completely random but when I was a chronic ROM flasher MIUI ROMs were my favorite
  • The only way I see this working is OEM on board to unlock any bootloader to allow the OS to be installed, otherwise Android users will need to root their phone and I don't see this happened for carrier branded phones. Still it's a step in the right steps as long as the OS and firmware get supported. Posted via the Windows Phone Central App for Android
  • I need a room like that to my old GS and Old Tegra Android Tablet :)
  • Excellent move. Xiaomi is big and growing extremely fast. This will bring windows greatness to a large audience so the desire for the platform can spread.
  • The location of the mi logo doesn't feel very good.
  • Why ?
  • That thin bezel...
  • I seem to remember Microsoft saying in the past they were looking at easier ways for manufacturers to create a single phone and sell it with either Android or Windows by just flashing the phone. Hoping to see this idea across a range of android devices in the future, even though I've been a Windows Phone user since the original release of WP7, and things like this can only be good for the platform
  • They'll probably get it before the rest of the Windows Insider program subscribers on non low end devices Posted via the Windows Phone Central App for Android
  • Microsoft should actually think about distributing w10 to other windowsphone's rather than distributing it to android's
  • As much as I hate the idea of Microsoft giving android users something first and WP last. This is actually really awesome. Imagine if it will work with ANY android device! That doesn't seem to far off now. No need to wait for HTC M9 for windows or M9 XL for Windows.
  • MS going full stride with software and probably ditching move on their part, especially if they can convince OEM's to offer dual boot Android/WP in the future.
  • Let the Freaking Awesome Invasion Begin!
  • Even they get the preview before high end lumias. Posted via the Lumia 1520!
  • How would the softkey works?
  • This is the beginning of the end... And not the end for MS....
  • Another iPhone knock-off e.e companies need to start being original
  • Hope i can also install it on my Xiaomi Note 4G.
  • HTC HD2 v2
  • This is Microsoft's killer move. Can't wait to see how this pans out.
  • LED notification ftw
  • Maaaan, I jst can't wait for this..... Waiting for other phones as well.....MS please release it for other phones as well please
  • I disagree when one says that MS will not just give us the software to play with. Just like Windows 10, no one is playing with it instead MS has got very good insight and fast hand knowledge of what their customer want and would like to see.
    The same will apply to wp10 preview of only they can open it up to all Lumias, the feed back will be valuable.
    I agree that they should concentrate with us (lumia) first then they can start venturing into other markets. So let wp10 preview doors be open so it flows upstream to 1520 since MS decided to start downstream with low end sets.
    MS surprise us.
  • Us..lumia', i have an Ativ S so i'm not "us"?:)
  • My apologies, i should have called us wp8.1 instead of us (Lumia).....frustrations
  • Noproblem:) dont worry, but i agree with u overall
  • Windows 10 will be epic!
  • Brilliant
  • so, which apps is this running? if it is a windows rom, it will run the windows store apps. it's actually a good way to get around the carriers. the carriers want android phones because they believe they are easier to sell. if a user can then install windows on the phone, users can get a the phone they want with the os they want on any carrier. wp options are currently limited on most carriers. firmware updates will be interesting. the oems should care what os is running. they just care about sellîng hardware.
  • Me parece uma parceria promissora..
  • Wooh wechat!
  • Give us Lumia owners the 8.1.2 update and you can keep on doing what ever you were doing to W10. BT keyboard support for your experimental playtime.
  • How about xiaomi also give us MIUI rom for lumia ?
  • ...hence Huawei sourness.
  • DUAL BOOT!!!! 
  • Going to b a world full of windows phone
  • I wonder if this will coincide with a new W10 build. From what I've read, the current build is pretty underwhelming. It'd be a shame to ruin the excitement over this with a lackluster build
  • To much importance is placed on the Chinese market, which by the way is neither competitive nor entirely open.
    The moment the government there decides, Microsoft and/or other companies that represent a clear competition to chinese companies need to go. They could easily be blocked out of the chinese market and their intellectual property sold as if it were created by any company that is Chinese based.
    And Microsoft continues to capitulate to the very government that has raided their offices, pirated their OS and replicated stolen property to the detriment of both Microsoft and it's future as a viable service.
    Yes. China may have a rising market, but none of that matter's if you are limited in what services and products you can distribute. And just as the US is climbing in debt, the Chinese too, are vastly approaching similar restraints, ie, the "new normal."
    Once their housing bubble (just like the US) burst, China's economy will spiral out of control. I have been keeping eye on both their market practices and monetary policies and China's attractive market is merely cosmetic.
    But my point is that Microsoft continues to place a great deal of importance for a nation who's markets are largely governed by a communistic regime. Should the word be sent, Microsoft could be completely frozen out of their market's.
    Microsoft.......please show a little wisdom and dignity.
  • Xiaomi is also quite big in India right now.
  • China, China, China !! Your racism shows in your comment history, your moaning is not going to stop companies from doing business in the second biggest economy of the world, does not matter its communist-capitalistic hybrid,  hardcore communist, capitalistic or crony-capitalistic. The USA, China and India are the top 3 economies of the world and will only grow in future, housing bubble, currency bubble notwithstanding!!
  • Actually, it's already the biggest economy of the world.
  • i like it but i guess it needs a little tweak to make it more attractive...
  • Meh.
  • so thats what ms was doing with cyanogen. they bought some android phone firmwares so they can release this w10m rom. nice.
  • Nicely done xiaomi and ms. This is awesome news for wp since xiaomi is growing so fast. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • WOW greaaaaaaaaaat for anyone! Microsoft , China, Xiaomi... technology!!!
  • The image shows WP 8.1
  • Well I have been reading the posts on their forum and seems alot of people over there are excited about this new rom. As in wanting to install it. As in wanting it for more builds of the phone. As in applauding Microsoft for their "Windows Everywhere" concept..  Seems to be a good marketing move by Microsoft from the reactions by the users of the phone itself, I mean come on, the poll on the forum says 75% will go for windows 10 (based on who participated) does that not say enough? These are Android users wanting to make the switch to windows along with using a new ecosystem.  I'd say this tact has the potential to raise marketshare just by the user reaction so why negative impressions from people? Just courious BTW ;)