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3/14/2014
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Google, Microsoft Pressure Asus To Cancel Dual-Boot Tablet

Intel may be the biggest loser if Asus cancels dual Windows-Android devices due to operating systems makers' objections.

Mobile World Congress: 5 Hot Gadgets
Mobile World Congress: 5 Hot Gadgets
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Asus's introduction of the Transformer Book Duet TD300 at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year was a big deal. Brian Krzanich, Intel's CEO, joined Asus on stage and helped show off the convertible, a dual-boot machine that could run both Microsoft's Windows and Google's Android operating systems. Asus envisioned it would be a work machine by day and a personal media device by night. Two months later, it appears the product has become the victim of disapproval from the two OS giants.

Asus has "indefinitely postponed" plans to sell the device, according to sources cited by The Wall Street Journal. The postponement comes after Microsoft and Google made clear to Asus their feelings about such a device. It's no surprise that each platform maker wants devices to run only one platform. There's no incentive for Google or Microsoft to allow the other's OS to coexist on the same machine.

Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, explained there are several ways in which Google and Microsoft can put pressure on their hardware partners. Android may be free to use, but in order to access Google Services -- the Play Store and vital apps such as Gmail, Maps, and YouTube -- hardware makers have to agree to certain restrictions. Google can withhold Play Services if it doesn't like the device, which would all but negate the appeal of the Android OS. Similarly, Microsoft can withhold marketing money if it isn't pleased with what hardware makers do with their gear. Marketing cash is particularly important to OEMs that make low-margin hardware.

[Microsoft is anxious to get more OEMs on its side. Will Microsoft Waive Windows Phone Fees?]

Google declined to comment on the Journal's story, but Microsoft said it "will continue to invest with OEMs to promote best-in-class OEM and Microsoft experiences to our joint customers."

The revelation raises questions about Huawei's plans to offer a dual-boot smartphone that runs both Android and Microsoft's Windows Phone. The company confirmed the plans this week, and said it will sell the smartphone in the US later this year. Will the product even make it to market, though? Will Google and Microsoft exert the same pressure on Huawei that they (apparently) exerted on Asus?

Asus Transformer Book Duet TD300 (Source: Asus)
Asus Transformer Book Duet TD300
(Source: Asus)

While Asus and Huawei are staring lost R&D dollars in the face, Intel is the biggest loser here. It engineered processors that are capable of running two operating systems, and these chips were to play a crucial role in the dual-boot machines in question. Intel is desperate to gain a significant toehold in the smartphone and tablet space, but is badly trailing competitors such as Qualcomm, Samsung, and others. If there's one thing dual-boot machines offer, it is differentiation. Intel was counting (perhaps too much) on such differentiation to sell devices with its chips inside.

There's also the question of demand for such machines. Are consumers and enterprises actually clamoring for machines that run two operating systems, or are hardware makers foisting them on the market in the hope of creating a niche? What's the real benefit? It could boil down to apps. The number of apps available to Android devices is more than 1 million. Can Microsoft claim the same about Windows 8?

What do Uber, Bank of America, and Walgreens have to do with your mobile app strategy? Find out in the new Maximizing Mobility issue of InformationWeek Tech Digest.

Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies. View Full Bio

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Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
3/14/2014 | 3:49:59 PM
Dual-boot tablet appeal?
What do you think, readers? Would you like a dual-OS tablet te get access to Android apps? For another reason? 
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
3/14/2014 | 4:14:48 PM
Re: Dual-boot tablet appeal?
These seem niche at best. If you're an enterprise or gov/edu shop looking to issue machines that can run Windows apps and Android, there are ways to do that without buying Frankenhardware. So that leaves consumers.
Stratustician
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Stratustician,
User Rank: Ninja
3/19/2014 | 2:53:24 PM
Re: Dual-boot tablet appeal?
It's not hte hardware that worries me, its the cross contamination of platforms via apps, or at least the potential chaos that could come from it.  For one, if the two OSs are sitting in their own partitions, there is data duplication issues, causing less than ideal performance from the device.  If they do indeed talk to each partition, where does support lie?  is it an Android tablet or a Windows tablet?  from a marketing perspective, Microsoft would probably want to piggyback on one of the hottest platforms (Android) to help boost numbers, but it might also fear that users who purchase it for using Windows will falter to the Android platform, although the opposite could potentially happen as well.
moarsauce123
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moarsauce123,
User Rank: Ninja
3/16/2014 | 8:18:52 AM
Re: Dual-boot tablet appeal?
Dual-boot tablets have zero appeal. If anything, I want to run Android and Windows apps side by side with full integration. There is point in having to swap out the entire OS and wait for it to boot just so that I can start one app, find one piece of information, write that down on a piece of paper or push it to cloud storage, then boot back into the other OS to continue my work.

Asus should be happy that MS and Google put the breaks on, even when the motives are very questionable. Especially from Google's side as they always claim that Android is 'free'.
CraigHerberg
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CraigHerberg,
User Rank: Strategist
3/17/2014 | 1:49:56 PM
Re: Dual-boot tablet appeal?
Personally, I would love to be able to run Windows and Android apps side by side, or at least be able to run Android apps in a virtual machine within Windows.  Dual-boot may have more appeal to software developers.  Craig Herberg 
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
3/14/2014 | 5:30:38 PM
Windows used to 'fix' Linux
This reminds me of the time I tried to put Linux in its own disk space on a Windows Machine, and Windows detected it immediately. It wouldn't allow any processes to continue until it was allowed to adjust Linux. When it was done, Linux was several files shorter. It was clear Windows had snipped something off, I couldn't tell what, but Linux wouldn't run. I guess the guest has been "fixed," I decided. There was even a third party product to block this action.
rradina
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rradina,
User Rank: Ninja
3/16/2014 | 9:11:13 PM
Re: Windows used to 'fix' Linux
Can you expand on this?  I've never heard of this "feature" in Windows.  When was this?  Which version of Windows?  Which version of Linux.  When you say you put it in it's own disk space in the machine, can you explain further?

Was this along time ago before things like VMWare, VirtualBox or Parallels?  I've never used parallels, but I haven't had trouble when using VMWare or VirtualBox to run Linux under Windows.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
3/17/2014 | 8:58:57 AM
A big step by Intel
"Intel is the biggest loser here. It engineered processors that are capable of running two operating systems, and these chips were to play a crucial role in the dual-boot machines in question"

 

This is the first I have heard about these processors and I have to say that this is incredible news.  Even if the bigger manufacturers don't put out a dual boot device if Intel has the chipset then someone is going to do it.  This will be a nice step up from running Android applications in an emulator.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
3/17/2014 | 5:48:06 PM
Re: A big step by Intel
"Intel is the biggest loser here. It engineered processors that are capable of running two operating systems, and these chips were to play a crucial role in the dual-boot machines in question"


Here's an interesting point that's tangential to this quote... at CES, Intel reps strongly implied, though did not say, that "dual OS" had Google's blessing. Specifically, they said Intel worked with Google to make Android run on x86 chips-- but that likely refers to Atom smartphones and tablets, not the Core-based "dual OS" chip in the Asus Transformer. It struck me at the time that the comments were carefully worded.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
3/18/2014 | 8:37:38 AM
Re: A big step by Intel
That is interesting.  When one party sees the benefit I guess it makes people wonder if it's really good for them too.  I don't know that the fear should be a dual boot system though. I think the bigger fear should be applications being run natively or with minimal emulation inside another OS.
kgreenhow530
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kgreenhow530,
User Rank: Strategist
3/17/2014 | 9:39:46 AM
good idea, but whats with special intel processors?
Why do we need a special processor to run both? I thought windows 8 rt and android could run on processors like snapdragon? I think the public should demand this kind of product. Consumers are the ones who are spending the money and already carrying multiple devices. Besides if the giants continue to say no, the tech savy public will just create what they want through other third party methods.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
3/17/2014 | 5:43:56 PM
Re: good idea, but whats with special intel processors?
@kgreenhow530, you make a good point. Windows Phone-Android smartphones seem to be coming along, regardless of this reported hurdle to Windows 8.1-Android tablets and hybrids. Running Android and Windows on an ARM chip seems to be one thing; running Windows 8.1 and Android on an Intel Core chip seems to be another.
Etoxqui
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Etoxqui,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/10/2014 | 9:46:34 AM
Asus and Intel in the right path. The market want what they have ready to share...
Right now the expanding market is in the youngest and future buyers segment. They know what they are looking for. Those companies that don't recognized it will lose market participation very soon. Asus has built a rock solid business computers (as years ago were recognized Thinkpads because were built to last), also has powerful gaming laptops, and has recognized a big market to reach into, first with students and after with professionals. For millennials generations, don't like the rules and are used to constant change. And the game's rules are changing. Intel has the right perception and Asus as Huwei the right products but not the regulated rules by their side. Younger owners said Win 8.1 is not as bad but has a big weakness: Application market. Android has a rock solid Application market. The future in short to middle term is for dual products. I don't want to spend money in three physical devices: laptop, tablet and phone. But logically only have two: Android or windows. The best will be have all devices in one has Asus showed to the market: Business laptop, excelent tablet and I have two world in one device. Only missing the phone. Apple is the solid challenger to defeat...for a while.
anon0238696789
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anon0238696789,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/11/2014 | 7:20:47 AM
Great Shame
I would have loved to have a dual-boot tablet or better still side-by side Windows/Android. 

I have some favourite programs on Windows and there are lot of nice apps on Android. I can't see myself buying a very experive Android tablet, just as I can't see myself buying a very expensive Windows tablet as both are limiting for me.  Having a combined platform makes for an interesting proposition. 


I had my eye on the Samsung ATIV Q, but it has not been released due to problems with Windows/Android co-existence. The Samsung ATIV Q, had everything keyboard for Windows use and touchscreen for android. I am sure it would have been expensive knowing Samsung, but at least people have options. 

The tablet also needs to have mini-HDMI and capability for 4k monitor output.... thats the future.  
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