Microsoft‘s ill-fated venture of Lumia smartphones is long gone now. However, if you’re one of those few to still have hold on the company’s last phone, the Microsoft Lumia 950 XL, you might just have something exciting to read below. Yes, you can now turn your antique phone into a full-fledged PC. Read on…
The Microsoft Lumia 950 XL was launched on November 2015, with the slogan “The phone that works like your PC.” It was the first, and eventually the last, Lumia phone to natively run Windows 10 Mobile. The Lumia 950 XL was generally well-received by the public, but a poor app ecosystem of Windows Mobile OS means Microsoft had to kill it.
However, this won’t kill the capabilities the phone have and a developer named Ben Imbushuo (@imbushuo) has worked his way through to make the phone stand true to its slogan. It all began last year, when Microsoft released a version of its WP Internals tool that enabled unlocking the bootloader of certain Windows Phones. Ben has, since then, been working to bring a modified UEFI bootloader to the phone, allowing you to replace the outdated Windows 10 Mobile OS with Windows 10 on ARM Edition. It now seems he has polished his hack enough to make it public.
The phone that can replace your PC(?) pic.twitter.com/OC9XBeWkdT
— Ben | imbushuo (@imbushuo) May 12, 2018
Ben has described his procedure as:
- WPInternals 2.4 to unlock bootmgfw
- 1st shim: github.com/imbushuo/boot-…
- Kickstarter: github.com/imbushuo/lk (msm8994-test-2 branch)
- UEFI: github.com/imbushuo/Lumia… (Get Linaro toolchain and EDK2 ready)
Now if this all does not make sense to you, I suppose it’s not a project you should be taking on. But if you’re confident, there’s more info for you at Ben’s Github repository here.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that the phone ships with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, 3GB RAM, and 32GB of storage. This processor might be sluggish in running x86 apps developed for Windows 10 on ARM. The OS itself isn’t really designed for devices with 5.7 inch displays, so don’t expect stellar performance from compatible apps either. On the other hand, Windows 10 on ARM isn’t a phone OS, so you may also have to give up the phone-abilities, like making cellular calls, of the Lumia 950 XL.
It’s always exciting to see independent developers add new capabilities to old devices. Hopefully, Ben’s success would spur more developers to try the same for other capable Windows Phones.