Summary:

Google’s Android platform continues to show up on more unexpected places. With the right tools and instructions, you can now run Android 2.1 on some Windows Mobile handsets that are two years old. This is a great way to re-use an older device.

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To say I’m suffering from Android overload is an understatement. I’m simply trying to keep up with the Nexus One developments, but other devices are in the headlines too. And some of them aren’t even Android devices — but they could be. Android Community notes the effort to bring Android 2.1 to a handful of Windows Mobile handsets. All of the four devices are made by HTC, but they’re not the latest and greatest. I’m talking about the Tilt / Kaiser, Touch / Vogue, Touch Dual /Niki and Touch Cruise / Polaris. Some of these phones are two years old so they don’t have the latest and greatest hardware. The HTC Touch, for example, only has a 201 MHz CPU, so I’m amazed it can handle Google’s latest mobile platform.

Of course, “handle” is a relative term — if you go this route, don’t expect everything to work. I’m already reading about some hardware challenges like no camera or bluetooth support just yet. Often times, these ROMs make progress one slow painful step at a time, so a fair amount of patience is a pre-requisite. But if you have one of these devices sitting around just taking up space, this could be a fun project and offer exposure to Android at the same time. Would I take the plunge if I used one of these Windows Mobile phones on a regular basis? Not a chance. I would consider it, however, if I’ve already replaced these devices with another primary handset. It certainly wouldn’t offer stellar performance when compared to devices of today, but would provide the chance to expand mobile platform horizons.

Note that you don’t have to completely wipe Windows Mobile from your device. There are a few dual-boot solutions out there — HaRET, being one — that can run Android right from an SD card in your handset. Here’s a timely example of that method with Android 2.1 running on the HTC Niki.

Image Credit: Hack A Day

Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

As Windows Mobile Stumbles, Which Smartphone OS Will Seize the Lead?

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