A Tale of Split Personalities: Windows 8-Android Hybrids

Microsoft has spent a great deal of time designing Windows 8 from the ground up in terms of making it a great operating system for both tablet and traditional non-touch screen notebook style machines. There are a few companies, who do not believe that is enough. Whether it be that they feel Windows 8 is not efficient enough as a touch operating system or they simply believe it does not have enough of a robust application store, they have turned to what they believe could be a possible savior – Android.

Samsung announced one of the first “hybrid” style machines, the ATIV Q, at their premiere event in 2013. The 13 inch tablet was presented as a machine running Windows 8.1, but could also run the latest version of Android (at the time), Jellybean 4.2. The truth beyond that statement is that the machine did not actually run Android natively, but instead inside a virtual machine.

The Samsung ATIX Q sported great hardware with an Intel Haswell CPU and 3200 x 1800 resolution display with a pixels per inch rating of 275 (the current Apple Macbook Pro with Retina display ranks in with a pixels per inch rating of 227 for comparison). The unit also featured an include S Pen stylus for note taking.

Samsung ATIV Q

At the time of announcement, Samsung presented it as a way to have a productive Windows operating system, but still access all of your favorite apps and games. As the Windows Store continued to grow, Samsung announced that the product has been “indefinitely delayed”. While an interesting approach, we felt this approach would be long gone by today, but it isn’t.

According to records from the Federal Communication Commission, ASUS has submitted three devices for testing – the M82T, L82T, and the R82T; all three devices are said to being running both Windows 8.1 and an undisclosed version of Android. ASUS lists these devices with the FCC as “Dual OS tablets”.

We can talk specifications, and we briefly will. The three ASUS machines seem to exist in 32 GB and 64 GB variants; both include a 3,910 mAh battery. Beyond those notes, ASUS has not released any other information, so you will just have to sit tight.

What would it mean for an OEM to bundle Windows 8 and Android side by side though? The answer is quite simple – a slower growth rate for the Windows Store. Microsoft wants the Windows Store to grow beyond what it currently is and with such a large majority of missing applications, they are pushing hard to get what they need.

Installing Android side by side with Windows 8 could push people to simply access the Android side of the device, when an app is needed. It must be noted that dual booting Android and Windows 8 on devices, won’t kill the Windows Store, but it might slow progress as developers see less of a need to rush their apps onto the platform. Android, in a way, would act as a crutch for what Windows 8 could not provide – or does not provide as well.

Luckily, the Samsung ATIV Q will most likely become vaporware and ASUS’ tablets will become another failed attempt at merging the two distinctly different operating systems together and harming the Windows ecosystem.

What do you think – can dual booting Android and Windows 8 create danger in the application ecosystem?

Source: FCC, Engadget

Michael Archambault
  • I think it's a mistake, it will hurt both windows and the hardware manufacturers in the long run. That is a very short sighted short term band aid.
  • How about the reverse where AMD promised a piece of software called Blue Stacks that would allow android software on your PC? What happened to that?
  • This.. http://www.bluestacks.com/   The only good thing about it, is access to a specific App that a user needs until a Windows version is released.   The bad thing, is the user won't keep bugging the developer as hard to get that App on Windows.  (This is where OS/2 having full Win3.1 support actually hurt native OS/2 software development as well.)  
  • I was about to make a comment about the OS/2 and windows scenario, but you beat me to it! Yea im afraid this might happen :(
  • Win3x beat OS/2 because: 1. It was preinstalled on computers, you had to buy OS/2 (many $$$) 2. It didn't require as much hardware to run decently 3. It was easier to write code for 4. The Windows team simply moved faster and supported more hardware While #1 and #2 were most important, don't underestimate the importance of #3. After writing OS/2 PM code in the late 80s, writing equivalent code for Win3x was like a breath of fresh air. It was very easy to whip up a decent program. Item #4 was also critical since it meant users had the best device support. Today, in the smartphone wars, #1 doesn't apply since the OS and hardware are tied together. Item #2 actually works in WP8's favor over Android and iOS. I haven't written an Android or iOS app, so I can't comment on that aspect of #3. I think the WinPRT model is generally a disaster but things might not be any better on Android or iOS. Item #4 is probably the most significant issue with WP8. The WP8 team, for whatever reason, is simply not leading the pack on hardware support. For example, why did they need to release a new version of the OS in order to support 1080p/larger phones??? It's stupid. Did the WP8 team not realize that hardware would improve over time? It's ironic that the thing MSFT is fond of denigrating these days, the "Desktop" APIs and technology (Direct3D and Kernel), is actually what makes WP8 better than the competitors. The RT XAML stuff is terribly slow but that's hidden by the extremely good D3D performance on phones. Anyway, since they're deadset on this luny RT effort, MSFT's only hope for success is to undercut the entrenched competitors on price. The success of the 520 is an example.  
  • Well ... I've done all Android, iOS, and WP/Windows Store app developments and I have to admit that WP/WStore app is the easiest thing to do. Not by far margin though. So it's WP/WS > iOS > Android in term of app development. Of course this is subjective to my point of view where I mostly work on iOS. And this only for app development, not game since I don't have any game development experience on all three platforms.
  • Bluestacks is readily available for any X86 machine.
  • Not any, there are many restrictions based on your cpu/gpu or onboard video card/chip. Its also resource intense and very buggy.
  • ^--- THIS.
  • Would like to underscore "VERY BUGGY" so I finally uninstalled it.
  • I couldnt even uninstall it and my computer started acting all weird after I Installed it. A damn virus is what it is.
  • I would love it! Let's face facts, Windows will ALWAYS be behind when it comes to new apps and other functions found on Android.
  • you must have been born only 2 or 3 years ago to make that statement, and you must not be planning on living past next year. Apps are made by developers, not google or apple. 
  • And Asus tablet running full Windows AND Android? Where and when can I buy that? I love the Surface as a tablet for work on the move. But indeed the Store is poor and Android's marketplace would be a good substitute for when I want to do more recreational stuff.
    Not to mention we would have Windows defenses up and running to prevent any malware coming from the open Google Play.
    I think it is a good concept for the consumer. Though obviously not so much for either Microsoft or Google.
  • :) I'm not sure you will get protected from apps in the google play. I mean those apps needs permisions. Installing an onscreen keyboard is just that a potential keylogger installed with user consent. As well as other apps that have permision like killing apps, finding what apps you run or running in the background unrestricted
  • Well, if running two operating systems in one device will make people buy such devices, won't that result in more people using Windows 8?
  • I can't see how any good can come from this. Hopefully the idea will just die.
  • This^
  • I don't see the idea dying. What I foresee is either MSFT, GOOG, or both breaking out some big sticks and giving Asus a major beatdown.
  • Sounds very interesting. I think it'd grow W8.
  • I really don't see a problem with it other than it may confuse some customers who are already confused with the plethora of tablet options. I also think it depends on the version of Windows. Which could also add to the confusion since most customers associate Windows with work and Android more or less with play or consuming media. Only time will tell if these dual boot devices will prevail. In my opinion I am not a fan but the more options the better I suppose.
  • More options doesn't mean a better user experience.  This can, and I predict will, lead to bad and confusing user experience.
  • Keep that spyware away from win8
  • Well said
  • The Windows store is a disaster, simple as that. Or a disaster with some gems if you like.
  • Windows 8 store was a disaster, Windows 8.1 store is brilliant and organized
  • It can still use a lot of work. I would say it's getting better. I like it but the search isn't that great and it doesn't show new app arrivals enough.
  • Really, I have no problems finding new apps.  In fact, high value apps (like Mint that was just released) are displayed on the Live Tile and are front and center.  Want to find more new apps to the store? Swipe from the botton or Right-Click.  At the top of the screen will be "NEW & RISING".  The entire Store app has vastly improved with Windows 8.1, and can only get better from here.
  • Why would someone want that? kinda stupid, it makse sences when someone dual boot or run windows virtually on a mac to play games, but this android/windows .. i dont know.
  • Yeah I think the idea isn't all the great either
  • I find it amusing that dualbooting windows on a Mac to play PC games makes sense but dual booting Android on a Windows Tablet to play Mobile games doesn't make sense.  In both cases it does/would hamper game development. But game development has proceeded on Mac steadily; Steam is decent for Mac and other games do release on OSX (blizzard). The same would happen on Windows. Whether or not that's a good idea for the app store (it possibly isn't) is another question. But since this happens on x86 machines running Haswell, you already have access to a huge library of games. And it's unlikely to see this on Bay Trail I think - it likely isn't powerful enough to run Android in a VM. So I don't know that there's much to fear.  It's hypocritical to follow that first line of thought though :P
  • ^ Agree wholeheartedly. And let's not forget this is by no means the first time Windows and Android have co-existed in a laptop, it's only because it's Windows 8.1 that people are getting their panties in a bunch? It won't make a difference.
  • Wouldn't be any different from me dual booting Ubuntu and Windows on my PC.
  • There would be a big difference in privacy. In its current state I wouldn't let Android anywhere near any of my devices but I have no such qualms about Ubuntu.
  • My Xbox One runs three operating systems!
  • Should be in the hardware requirements for certification to only run Windows 8 or you don't get full Windows eg the store, Bing or preinstalled Office. Doubling your exposure to viruses is never a good idea.
  • I can see the attraction. There is always that one app that you need that isnt on your platform of choice. Or the fear that one day there will be an app that you want on another platform. However switching between operating systems seems like a chore and most people cant even navigate one OS, let alone operate two at the same time.   But this could be beneficial to Microsoft. Tablets are still considered consumption devices. And while I use my Surface for productivity as well most tablets are indeed for consumption. In this area Windows is behind Android. So if someone is on the fench of being a Windows tablet this could be what they need to buy a Windows tablet. As the store continues to grow they might find they need Android less and less.
  • "Or the fear that one day there will be an app that you want on another platform." Skyrim from WIN# to WP8. I'd kill for that.
  • Not for me.  I'll stick with 8, no need to screw it up with Android.
  • At first I was pretty excited to see a device like this, but when you put it like that, fuck it, I don't want it.
  • Want to really confuse your parents or drive your grandparents nuts? This would be the perfect gift. Going from their old XP system to this would be utterly ridiculous.
  • LOL. "a security issue has been discovered on your android acct! Click here to resolve this issue" *grandma clicks the balloon*
  • Just install bluestacks. It will be interesting when this also works for RT. And maybe not a good thing...but whatever.
  • It's the potential for a double-edged sword. Yes, it helps the Windows 8 adoption rate, but it also gives Android users the ability to keep their preferred OS without compromising x86 functionality. They might primarily live in the Android VM, with Windows 8 taking a back seat and only being used on an as-needed basis. That limits familiarity with Windows, and allows Android to stay in the hands of x86 users while it develops more and more alternatives to Windows applications. The tricky part here is that Microsoft has to be wary about the long-term effects of these short-term gains. It coudl very well end up that people don't delve into Windows 8 deeply because Android is always there, and it could help the general consumer try out Android when it wasn't going to happen otherwise.
  • Doing this would show a lack of faith in their own platform and OS just when it's really starting to gain momentum worldwide. It shows a lack of dedication to developing your platform right when you have started to get a lot of big name apps. And it shows weakness in caving to OEM's. This is MS, they need to start acting like MS and man up a bit. Throw some money around, throw some weight around and finish what they have started. This is the best OS available, show people that. I personally came to WP to get away from android and google. Been a lifelong PC user and Xbox user and have a surface and 2 WP's now too. I want Nothing to do with google and if MS does this, they will lose me as a customer.
  • This isn't Microsoft, it's OEMs doing this. They have to move products and cannot just push Windows tablets if those don't sell.
  • Well maybe the OEM's need to put more focus on the products they design and sell.
  • Awww, look at google trying to pretend to be a real operating system. Awwww..
  • good one lol
  • Haha!
  • With 80% of the mobile market. They don't have to pretend. Just profit.
  • I think he means full computer OS like WIN, MAC, ubantu...
  • LOL. Google makes less all that sell android devices. Sure as hell a lot less than Sammy make selling android powered devices.  80%?  More like 9%. Chromebricks are a joke and you know it. What are they less than 1 % of the market now. Yeah, this browser talks much crap but makes the lions share of its bank on the backs of Microsoft and Apple, in that order. This is why Microsoft needs to give them a wake up call. Block all that hidden crap they install on all Windows computers with Chrome. The crap that remains even if you uninstall it. They need to lose that voice API on the Windows desktop too. Pirate ass ad agency. lol.
  • Maybe I'm lost on crap like this, but I'm not motivated by "apps". I like them, I use them, but I won't let anything that is free, or $1.99 at the most make a decision that will cost me hundeds of $'s. Just seems silly to me. I've never considered all the great and cool aspects of a device from the tech parts to the feel, and changed my mind because that one free "app" everyone talks about isn't avalable on this.   
  • I don't know why people say the Windows store doesn't have enough apps. Between W8 and WP8, I've pretty much had no issues getting the information/apps I need.
  • I love to play Battlefield and not having a Battlelog app for stats-tracking and chat and no commander app to be the commander or show a minimap on a tablet like on iOS and Android bothers me a lot.
  • There's always something...
  • I guess thats understandable. I enjoy playing Halo, and having the Waypoint on the DV8P would be great, but that didn't stop me from purchasing it, nor will it get my to buy an Android Device.
  • Those apps kind of seem like filler, or those edible pictures you can get printed on cakes. Pretty, but tasteless once you eat em. just my 2¢...
  • It isn't there aren't enough apps, just not the apps that people want. Local business support and large business support is not there. I'm not too bothered about games, but hopefully they will come too.
    I think this may be damaging to the ecosystem.
  • Like the article says in the beginning: It is NOT dual-boot, because thats not possible. Android only runs on ARM, but the named machines had Intel processors. So it runs in a virtual machine, which means less performance, less power efficiency, and of course you first have to boot into Windows and then again into Android. Its all bullshit imo.
  • Erm, when you are on windows on the Ativ Q, you press the button that goes STRAIGHT to android, and vice versa. You can also pin android apps to the windows start screen. So you don't need to do what Apple does with Boot Camp.
  • Android actually does run on x86 with a little work.  The Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 (Android 4.2.2) runs on an Intel Atom Z2560 (an x86 chip).
  • There is an Android x86 out there that you can dual boot Win8/8.1 with. I've loaded it in my tablet before... But took it out once Win8 had pretty much all the apps I needed. Besides the fact that Win8 looks more aesthetically pleasing... ;)
  • Ativ Q would have been an awesome device (on the go you would use Android for better battery time, at home or where you have a charger, you would use Windows). It would have been the only device I would buy from Samsung. 
  • I actually like the dual booting OS. If there was an 8 inch windows tablet with Intel bay trail and great specs, and dual booted android, I would buy it.
  • There is an Android x86 project... I tried it last year, dual booting with Windows (before and right after Win8 release). I'm not sure if it's still alive though.
  • Go home, Android.  You're drunk.   People forget that it took as long if not longer for Android and iOS to get as many apps in its first 14 months compared to the first 14 months of W8 store.  People are just spoiled into wanting it yesterday and already having a million apps available.   Truth be told, I think MS deserves a little applause for having 100,000+ apps in the store in its short life span, especially given the lack of room for its new store and ecosystem to grow.  iOS and Android had it so much easier.  And if you like it too, be sure to give positive or constructive app feedback.  Developers want and need the info to better their products and stay inspired to make updates.
  • Yep, I agree. In the case of the iPhone (2007), it started out with 500 apps, and took it YEARS to get where it is today, with virtually no competitors for awhile. (call me out if I'm wrong on this). WM 6.5 was not on the same level that 7 or 8 is now on, and the two stores are growing quickly!
  • Only a hand full of people will carr about dual boot. So no, this wont slow down development because there's more one OS Window out. Why rely solely on Android to make money
  • Most of the Android Apps suck for tablets
  • This reminds me of my old HTC Shift that had an x86 processor and an ARM processor and could run Vista/Win7 or Windows Mobile 6 simultaneously. http://www.mobiletechreview.com/notebooks/HTC-Shift.htm Still have one at home somewhere, it was a nifty little device.
  • $1500 DAMN!
  • I'd rather shoot myself in the face and drown myself in a river than destroy the beauty know as Windows 8.1 by letting anything Android within 10 counties of it.
  • Ugly
  • Well i don't know, with android we can get those hard ti get virues that we otherwise couldn't get
  • No, no, no! Do not let this happen. I absolutely HATE Android. Feeling sick at the thought of having that filthy, messy OS alongside the beautiful, clean Windows 8.1 interface. And no, I don't have a problem with Windows Store, I think it's excellent. I seem to have found most of the apps I want, and I am truly impressed with the rate Microsoft is getting the big name apps in. I mean, we're talking a year old operating system here. We're growing.Don't let this happen Microsoft, PLEASE. P.S. I feel that Android's open source approach is pretty dodgy.
  • I say do it more choice = better life
  • I think it's a dumb idea. why have two mobile opreating systems on the one unit? If this crappy idea takes off it will just harm App Development for the whole of the MS Store...
  • Ultimately it is android that is going to loose. The mobile app ecosystem is all a bunch of simple little apps of little complexity and even lesser demands. windows can easily reproduce them since it is a reduction in functionality. android OTOH would need a robust desktop ecosystem which will never get done on time given the complexity of the apps is huge and android is a primitive mobile os limited in ways due to its phone roots. to this day it can't even support windowing and multiuser-concurrency.
  • I don't care what OS it's related to, in my 40+ years on this planet I've never seen any practical application for dual booting in comparison to just using a separate machine or swapping the drive. It's a neat trick for about a day and that was about 20 years ago.
  • I have an Acer w700 i7 128gb ssd. It can dual boot android 4.2.2 on intel and it works better than other android tablets. I still find myself using windows 8.1 more, and rarely booting android. Xda has a thread on it.
  • (Trolling for a moment) So you will need TWO security systems. Guess what? Apple Air computer don't get viruses, ever!*** and the laptops are so light, you can use them as Frisbees!
    ***not so for Trojans, my friend's brother opened 3.
  • No.
  • One of the most unholy of unions. This is just an insult to both Microsoft and Google (though I could care less if the people at Google had their feelings hurt). It does nothing to further either ecosystem and is a half-baked idea. Better to put those resources to use in other project that people would actually want to buy.
  • Not viable IMO. Virtualization will only makes Android slower, and dualboot will make it's user restart their device whenever they need to switch OS (and eventually will stick at the most used OS, Android since restarting takes time to shutdown current OS and boot the target OS). And there are a storage issue. Having dualboot OS means these OSes will eat storage more than usual. Unless they release a big storage capacity WITH low price (which is improbable), I don't think this will work.
  • There are companies, like shutterfly, who make an ios app, but not an Android app. While not the norm, it's still up to the company as to what ecosystem they make apps for,and it's not always for android. But, that would indeed make developers think twice as to writing a windows app, because they still believe that android and ios have bigger markets. Our local news station has said so explicitly, even when windows 8 OS users abound. I, for one, would not want two different experiences on my machine and have to go back and forth. In trying to see this with "normal user eyes" , that would be the reason not to want such a machine. Either I buy an apple google or Microsoft tablet/pc , but I stick to one ecosystem and one experience
  • Microsoft needs to make more ads (and show them on TV), like the one they have on their YouTube channel that highlights apps. It's such a cool commercial, I was dumfounded to grasp my head around the fact that it was a Microsoft commercial
  • I don't want a tablet interface on my windows, quick, let me install a tablet interface. it's silly if you ask me.
  • well, I just love the idea/concept.   In fact I will buy one tablet/laptop with the two,  as I want windows 8 and Android.  there are some possibilities: Asus TX201 - tablet(android) / laptop / desktop (windows) acer iconia tab w700:  with windows. just need to follow tutorial available to have dual boot with android hopefully Asus will unveil their hybrid tablets soon enough....