How to sidestep Microsoft, Google and do a dual Windows 8.1-Android tablet

Asus figures out a way to get around objections from Microsoft and Google and do a hybrid that runs Windows-8.1 and Android.

asus-transformer-v-with-phone-small.jpg
Asus Transformer Book V: Android and Windows reside in the phone and tablet, respectively. Aloysius Low/CNET

If at first you don't succeed. Asus is taking another crack at dual-OS device. And this time it probably found a way to get around objections from Microsoft and Google.

First, a little background. Asus launched a dual Windows 8.1-Android tablet-laptop at CES in January. And despite promises we would see it in the second quarter, it has yet to materialize.

My sources tell me (as do other reports) that either Google or Microsoft or both weren't pleased because a user could instantly switch between the Windows and Android desktop on one device.

Enter the Transformer Book V, introduced at the Computex conference. But this time Asus is running the two OSes on two completely separate pieces of hardware, removing (ostensibly) any grounds for objection.

Here's how CNET's Aloysius Low described the (somewhat confusing) 5-in-1 amalgamation of devices on Transformer V (see photo at bottom): An "Android phone that docks into a tablet that turns it into an Android tablet, while also being able to run Windows 8.1 on its own."

Confused? Well, the short story is, it's a Windows 8.1 tablet (with a keyboard dock) that can switch to Android when you plug the Android phone in (see photo at top).

The phone specs are fairly impressive. It uses Intel's brand-new quad-core 64-bit Moorefield Atom chip with LTE capabilities, 2 GB of RAM, a 5-inch screen with a resolution of 1,920x1,080 pixels, 64 GB of storage, and Android 4.4 KitKat.

The Transformer V's tablet uses an Intel Core series processor and a 12.5-inch display but with only HD resolution. Maybe that's because in Android tablet mode (when the phone's processor is handling things), the resolution drops to HD (1,280x720 pixels).

My question is, will consumers spring for a product that cobbles together so many disparate devices? And how well will all of these devices work together?

We'll see. But it appears that Asus has succeeded at one thing: silencing Google and Microsoft.

Asus, Microsoft, and Google did not respond to a request for comment.

asus-transformer-v-small.jpg
The Transformer V tries -- maybe too hard -- to throw together a number disparate devices. Asus

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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