Android and Windows getting along inside your PC? Nope

Making two operating systems equal but unwilling partners inside one device will never turn out very well.

ASUS Transformer Book Duet runs both Android and Windows 8.1. But maybe neither very well.
ASUS Transformer Book Duet runs both Android and Windows 8.1. But maybe neither very well. Asus

commentary Waiting for a crush of devices running both Windows 8.1 and Android? Don't.

CNET learned this week that the Asus Transformer Book Duet TD300 -- the most recent high-profile attempt to try to pull off this duality -- has not gotten a warm reception from at least one of the operating system suppliers on the hybrid tablet-laptop.

That's the political problem. "Neither [Microsoft nor Google] can be very happy about it," said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64, alluding to the fact that it's a shotgun wedding of the two rivals' software, which can never turn out very well.

Then there are the technical challenges. For example, will Asus come up with a way to elegantly, easily share files across the competing operating and file systems? How is memory sharing implemented? And when there's the inevitable glitch, who owns it, Microsoft or Google?

And there's the track record of computers in the past marketed as dual-OS. "They've never been successful," Brookwood said.

The Duet created a buzz at CES in January (see video at bottom), with both Asus and Intel promoting the device as a way to bridge the gap between mobile (Android) and desktop (Windows). The device, in fact, consistently drew crowds at the Intel CES booth, where it was being demonstrated.

Specs, as announced in January, include Windows 8.1 Standard / Android 4.2.2; a 13.3-inch Full HD multitouch display; up to an Intel Core i7 processor; 4GB of RAM; and up to 128GB of SSD storage in the tablet.

Asus claimed at CES that it's real and said it will arrive sometime in the second quarter. Maybe it will. Just don't expect lots of other PC makers to follow suit.


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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