Jul 1, 2013
Samsung has announced a new laptop that features an interesting form factor, albeit one seen before: Windows and Android hybrid devices. The Ativ Q is a convertible that can run in both Windows 8 mode and as an Android tablet. Interestingly, it is possible to share files between the two separate OSes, so ithis isn’t just a case of “two devices in one”, these are meant to be interoperable in some fashion.
However, there’s a very interesting side effect here of these moves: it’s manufacturers admitting that Windows 8 just isn’t a tablet OS. I own a Surface Pro, and more often than not, I use it as a laptop. Having the tablet functionality is nice periodically, but Windows 8 just is not a very touch-friendly OS when working with actual desktop applications, aka “the very reason one would use Windows for.” So having Android available is just a huge step forward for these devices. IS anything bigger than ~10 inches probably overdoing it for a tablet? Sure, but at least they exist.
As the Windows tablets start to enter the 7-8″ space that seems to have the most momentum for the tablet space at the moment, it will be interesting to see if anyone attempts dual-OS functionality as well. There are few laptop manufacturers even attempting to do the 10-11″ space seriously, so these devices may be just interesting curiosities.
Still, for hardware manufacturers trying to make their touch interfaces better, it’s interesting that there’s at least some movement in the direction of Android on PCs, and not the other way around. It’s easy to see where, as this expands, that Android could be powering a laptop at some point. There’s at least one example of a gaming PC that runs Android. So why not a laptop? It will be interesting to see where this goes. Windows is vulnerable, and it could be Android, not Mac, that is what ultimately destabilizes it.
Of course, in the world where iPad is still the accepted leader of the tablet market, what does this do? Bill GAtes said that people would be using Windows tablets down the road, yet they have little to no momentum. Perhaps the tablet future is doomed to be one where the tablet feels just out of reach of what the PC can do, or until the market decides that they need to truly adjust to what users do with their tablets. Something has to give, but when Android, once maligned for its incompatibility with tablets, is becoming a superior tablet OS to Windows, what does that truly say?