Install the Android OS on Your Windows Mobile Phone

Last Updated Jul 8, 2010 2:53 PM EDT

Suffering from app envy? Can't stand the Windows Mobile OS another minute? (I don't blame you. I flippin' hate that thing.) If you've got real hacker blood in your veins, you may be able to turn your Windows Mobile phone into an Android phone.

See, Google's Android OS is open-source, and developers have wasted no time porting it to work on various WinMo hardware. All you need is a compatible phone, a microSD memory card, and good instruction-following skills.

What phones are compatible? Mostly models made by HTC, though a handful of Samsung phones qualify as well. (Click the above link and scroll down about midway to find a complete list.) The best candidate is the HTC Touch (also known as the HTC Touch and Verizon xv6900), which has "100% of the hardware features working."

Are there risks involved? Of course. Once you install Android, you probably won't be able to restore Windows Mobile. And at least one commenter reported a "bricked" phone -- not a good outcome.

Even so, I desperately wish I had an old WinMo phone lying around, because I'd love to give this a try. The Android OS is light years ahead of Windows Mobile, and it could breathe new life into an otherwise crummy handset.

If you decide to give it a whirl, please, for the love of all that's holy, hit the comments and let us know the outcome. Photo by The How-To Geek.

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    Rick Broida, a technology writer for more than 20 years, is the author of more than a dozen books. In addition to writing CNET's The Cheapskate blog, he contributes to CNET's iPhone Atlas.