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Intel plans a CES coup: Android and Windows in the same computer

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#1 +techbeck

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 19:31

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The PC industry isn't doing so well. Sales have dramatically slumped, despite the industry’s efforts to tempt consumers with Windows 8 tablets and transforming touchscreen laptops. But next week, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas may be the launching pad for a new push — a new brand of computer that runs both Windows and Android.

 

Sources close to the matter tell The Verge that Intel is behind the idea, and that the chipmaker is working with PC manufacturers on a number of new devices that could be announced at the show. Internally known as "Dual OS," Intel's idea is that Android would run inside of Windows using virtualization techniques, so you could have Android and Windows apps side by side without rebooting your machine.

 

If that idea sounds familiar, it might be because you've seen it before. In June, Samsung announced the Ativ Q, a Windows 8 hybrid laptop that could launch a full-screen virtualized instance of Android by tapping an app on the homescreen. Coincidence or no, the name of that app was Dual OS. Asus also appears to be building a Dual OS computer: the name popped up in an FCC filing for a new tablet, which the company also appears to be teasing in a recent YouTube video.

 

It's worth noting that Dual OS may not be the final name for the initiative, though: when analyst Tim Bajarin first reported on the idea at Time, he called it "PC Plus."

 

For Intel, the idea seems like an obvious win. Intel has already been hard at work porting and optimizing Android for its own x86 processors, and designing its Bay Trail tablet chip to work well with either OS. If Intel's truly figured out a fast, convenient way to run Android apps on Windows, PC manufacturers can build a single tablet design that offers their customers the bounties of both platforms, and Intel stands to profit as the only company positioned to offer a processor that can do the heavy lifting.

 

There's one tiny little problem, though: our sources say neither Microsoft nor Google is on board. "They each have their sensitivities to this," says one source.

 

Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy, is more blunt. "Microsoft does not want this to happen," he says. "This sends the wrong message to [Windows] developers." Microsoft has been inching towards combining Windows and Windows Phone, with the eventual goal of unifying their app stores. The idea is that any app built for either of Microsoft's operating systems would work on mobile or desktop. Some of the underpinnings are already there, but developers haven't really embraced either Windows 8 or Windows Phone on their own, and now Android could pull the rug out from under Windows development by offering an alternative route to the desktop.

 

As a result, Moorhead says, Microsoft may actually be trying to convince PC manufacturers to cancel their plans mere days before the Las Vegas show. Microsoft has a lot of leverage: it could withhold marketing budgets, or even hurt a manufacturer's bottom line by stripping away discounts on the copies of Windows 8 that come preinstalled on new PCs.

 

"Just imagine what this is like right now," says Moorhead. "You can just imagine the pitch: anything we pay money for or reduce your sticker license" for is off the table if Microsoft objects.

 

Google, meanwhile, could restrict access to the official Google Play app store, Gmail, Google Maps, and other proprietary applications. Even though the core Android operating system is free for manufacturers to use, Google has the power to cripple Dual OS devices if it feels that they would fragment the Android ecosystem. While Amazon was able to create its own app store for its Android-based Kindle Fire tablets, such restrictions have been a death sentence for other devices — including 2011’s ViewSonic ViewPad 10Pro, which actually ran Windows and Android in a very similar fashion to what Intel is proposing this year.

 

That ViewSonic tablet highlights perhaps the greatest reason for skepticism of the Android on Windows idea: it's been trotted out so many times before without making a major difference. For a few years now, Windows users have been able to run Android apps on their computer using a piece of software called BlueStacks, which has gotten progressively better. The present version does, in fact, offer access to the Google Play Store when searching for apps. But Bluestacks has already been bundled with computers several times now to little effect. So far, we've heard nothing to suggest that Intel and PC manufacturers are pursuing the idea any more aggressively than they have in the past.

 

Besides, Dual OS could easily be designed to fulfill another, more pressing role: generating headlines in Vegas next week. Companies are pressured to present bold new innovations at these events — even if innovation doesn't actually occur on a 12-month cycle. It just so happens that combining multiple operating systems in a single device is a surefire way to generate attention.

 

Perhaps Dual OS will indeed be a new category of computer at this year’s CES, but if Microsoft and Google are truly lobbying against the idea, we wouldn't hold our breath. Even in a best-case scenario where Google and Microsoft team up to make it happen, it’s not clear the idea makes sense. Is the problem with Windows tablets really that they can’t run Android apps?

 

http://www.theverge....osoft-objection




#2 Max Norris

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 19:37

Intel's idea is that Android would run inside of Windows using virtualization techniques, so you could have Android and Windows apps side by side without rebooting your machine.

How is that different from what's already available? Already a few options for this, on multiple OS's too.

#3 +Nik L

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 19:37

Hardly the first time this has been put forward.



#4 Jeston

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 20:54

I still want the ATIV Q...



#5 +snaphat (Myles Landwehr)

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 21:02

How is that different from what's already available? Already a few options for this, on multiple OS's too.

 

The difference is that Intel has the possible push to make the other companies cooperate and the backing to push development efforts quickly. Though, I see no reason why MS and Google would actually back this (as they currently aren't).



#6 macrosslover

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 21:15

I don't see the point of this.  There's absolutely nothing on android (app wise) that couldn't be done better on a computer because of a mouse and keyboard.  The whole point of a mobile OS is for those things to be tailored around a touchscreen format for people who are "on the go".  A PC is not on the go these days even a laptop.



#7 Dot Matrix

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 21:17

Yuck.  :x



#8 TheExperiment

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 21:47

Yuck.  :x

Eh, I have some Android games that I can't play on Windows, don't currently have an Android device, and the OS is no cost so it wouldn't bother me.  I don't really want it, but it still wouldn't bother me.



#9 Buttus

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 22:01

i'd not use android on a computer.  if i'm on the computer, i'm either working, browsing the web, or playing a game, all of which are better on windows.

 

android is great for small touch screen devices, but not for a computer



#10 Bertch

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 22:11

I see where they are going because it's not just a computer is a convertible like the Surface, however now that Windows is touch friendly I don't think this is needed.  This could have worked a few years ago with Windows 7 but not now.



#11 HawkMan

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 22:13

Eh, I have some Android games that I can't play on Windows, don't currently have an Android device, and the OS is no cost so it wouldn't bother me.  I don't really want it, but it still wouldn't bother me.

 

Would you really spend the time to reboot your computer, lose 95% of it's usability to play some android game, and then have to reboot back to windows to do somethign useful or play a decent game ?

 

no, and that's why dual boot solutions are idiotic, just as the existing gimmick solution who only existed so you could use them while windows was booting, to bad they only came with these solution after computers got fast enough and windows was changed and now boots in mere seconds. 



#12 TheExperiment

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 22:18

Would you really spend the time to reboot your computer, lose 95% of it's usability to play some android game, and then have to reboot back to windows to do somethign useful or play a decent game ?

 

no, and that's why dual boot solutions are idiotic, just as the existing gimmick solution who only existed so you could use them while windows was booting, to bad they only came with these solution after computers got fast enough and windows was changed and now boots in mere seconds. 

Who says you have to?  Intel and AMD have virtualization tech.  AMD has ARM processors in their new x86 processors (though they're meant for security tech.)  Either one has sleep modes that could make for very fast switching (considering Windows 8 boots in two seconds on some machines.)

 

I'm not really seeing where time would be wasted here.



#13 d_may

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 22:24

I will keep my desktop on Windows 7 and my little handheld computer on Android.



#14 +warwagon

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 22:26

This would be quite a mind frack. A touch screen OS mixed with a desktop / touch screen OS.



#15 OP +techbeck

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 01:09

Could be appealing for many.  There are many apps that are not on Win8 that are on Android.  Those who use Android because of the apps, but wanted to try out Win8, would jump on this.  However, if/when Win8s app store gets to the size of Android/iOS...then dont really see the appeal.  Probably just be another fad, if it takes off, that will soon be forgotten.  Price/form factor would need to be right as well.





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