Pressure from Microsoft and Google reportedly led Asus officials to shelve plans to roll out a system that could run both Windows 8.1 and Android.
Asus officials at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January showed off the Transformer Book Duet TD300, a 2-in-1 device that would run the Windows operating system when used as a notebook PC, then would become an Android system when used as a tablet. The dual-OS device generated a lot of buzz at CES, and was featured on stage during the show by Intel CEO Brian Krzanich as he spoke about the chip maker’s efforts to enable such capabilities through its system-on-a-chip (SoC) products.
The Transformer Book Duet TD300 was expected to appear in stores in the first half of this year and to be a hit among consumers, who by simply switching the device between PC and tablet modes could have both major operating systems to use.
However, a report in the Wall Street Journal indicted that neither Google nor Microsoft was happy with the idea of PCs sharing the operating systems. Citing anonymous sources familiar with the talks between the companies, the news site said Google was only interested in “all-Android” devices and Microsoft had a similar view about Windows sharing space with Android on the same device.
The software makers’ objections come at a time when the idea of dual-OS systems seems to be gaining momentum. Asus already sells two all-in-one PCs—the Transformer AiO P1801 and P1802—that can run both Windows and Android, though the Wall Street Journal reported that those systems may be taken off the market due to the objections of Microsoft and Google.
In addition, Samung officials in June 2013 unveiled the Activ Q, a convertible system that also can run Windows and Android—though the device reportedly has yet to be launched—while similar devices were being talked about at CES.
And officials with both Intel and Advanced Micro Devices announced during CES efforts to enable dual-OS devices. Intel’s Krzanich said the chip maker was working on putting capabilities into its SoCs—including its low-power Atom chips—that would let users move from one OS to another simply by tapping a button. Such capabilities make sense given the way people are using their devices, he said.
“There are times you want Windows, there are times you want Android,” Krzanich said while demonstrating the technology on Asus’ Transformer Book Duet. “[Users] wanted more choice—Windows for some usage, Android for others. … Intel SoCs are the only ones that can offer that capability to seamlessly switch between OSes. You don’t have to make a choice moving forward.”
Asus May Drop Dual-OS Device After Microsoft, Google Pressure: Report
At the same time, AMD announced in January that it is partnering with BlueStacks, a software company backed by AMD that makes technology that enables users to run Android in a Windows environment. The chip maker wants to enable users with AMD-powered devices running Windows 7 or 8 to run an Android interface whether in a window on the device’s desktop or in full-screen mode. In a post on the AMD blog site at the time, Clarice Simmons, senior marketing manager at AMD, noted that Android is found on 52.2 percent of mobile devices in the U.S. market and more than 80 percent of mobile phones worldwide, while Windows is run in more than 80 percent of desktop PCs.
“So what to do in a world where more everyday consumers rely on multiple platforms: a Windows PC at home, a second on their desk in the office or one in the laptop bag on their shoulder as they board a plane; an Android phone on the go and maybe a similar Android-based tablet as they sit on the couch,” Simmons wrote. “One obvious solution is to eliminate the gap between Windows and Android—give the people their favorite game app on their desktop right next to Microsoft Office!”
In addition, Huawei Technologies officials on March 13 confirmed that they are pursuing a dual-OS strategy for the company’s smartphones, saying that Windows is more appealing when paired with Android.
“We are still committed to making Windows Phone devices,” Shao Yang, chief marketing officer for Huawei, told news site TrustedReviews. “With Windows Phone, one direction for us—and one that we are now following—is dual OS, dual OS as in Android and Windows together. If it is Windows-only, maybe people will not find it as easy a decision to buy the phone. If they have the Android and Windows together, you can change it as you wish and it is much easier for people to choose Windows Phone.”
Yang said a dual-OS Huawei phone could hit the U.S. market in the second quarter, according to the report.