Would you buy a smartphone with full Windows 10 on ARM?

Windows Phones
Windows Phones (Image credit: Windows Central)

Earlier today, a company called Emperion unveiled details about a smartphone it's building that supposedly runs full Windows 10 on an overclocked Snapdragon 845 processor, that's also able to run Android apps without emulation or dual-booting with Android. It sounds too good to be true, and it probably is, but let's assume this is a product that can be executed on. Would you buy it?

Of course, a smartphone with Windows 10 on ARM has its own issues. Primarily, full Windows 10 is not a mobile platform, and as such, doesn't have a shell that's designed for smartphone-sized screens. Emperion says it's going to build its own shell experience that will run on top of Windows 10, which could help, but that means the experience won't be tailored by Microsoft.

The other issue is that Windows 10 on ARM doesn't have telephony capabilities. That means it doesn't natively support the ability to make and receive phone calls or SMS messages. Those are two essential capabilities for a smartphone. Windows 10 on ARM does support LTE of course, so you could get around this by requiring the user to use Skype instead. But that's still not great.

There are also questions around how exactly Emperion is planning to allow Android apps to run on top of Windows 10 without emulation. They haven't said, but "without emulation" means it won't be taking advantage of software like Bluestacks or the canceled Project Astoria.

I just don't think there's any point in a smartphone that runs full Windows 10 on ARM. Full Windows 10 is not a mobile platform. It just isn't. The only benefit that a smartphone running full Windows 10 has is the ability to dock to an external screen, with a full desktop, and run Win32 programs. But that's it. That's not enough to warrant a smartphone with full Windows 10.

Win32 programs themselves are not very good on small screens, so you won't want to run them directly on the phone. The UWP app situation when it comes to mainstream apps such as WhatsApp, Snapchat, and more, is bleak. While the ability to run Android apps on Windows 10 would help, there's no word on how this works. If it doesn't include Play Services, most of those apps won't work anyway.

But I digress. We want to know if you'd be interested in buying a smartphone with Windows 10 on ARM. Do you have any use cases for this that we can't see? Let us know in the comments.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter and Threads