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Has the ‘2-in-1’ Windows-Android paradigm been put on hold?

The apparent death of Asus’ ‘2-in-1’ Windows-Android tablet shows that the dual-OS model might go nowhere, at least in the West.

TD300_Detached_Dual OS

A report came out from the Wall Street Journal on Friday which claimed the Transformer Book Duet TD 300, the dual-OS anchor of Asus’ keynote at January’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, has been cancelled because of “opposition from software suppliers.”

Reportedly, neither Microsoft nor Google were too keen to have their operating systems share the stage on Asus’ devices. This is in contrast to Intel’s unbridled enthusiasm for the concept of “2-in-1” devices — devices that could be a notebook running Windows then a tablet running Android — which were first demonstrated at last year’s Computex.

Microsoft has been rather transparent with its opposition to dual-OS devices, as it has an outright policy against supporting them due to patent conflicts with Google over Android. Reportedly, Microsoft has been withholding delivering marketing dollars to OEMs that market dual-OS devices. Asus’ Transformer AiO P1801 and P1802 all-in-one PCs have been reportedly pulled from shelves because of this policy.

Intel’s Tom Kilroy and Taiwanese pop-sensation Jolin demonstrate some “2-in-1” devices during Intel’s Computex 2013 keynote.

“Microsoft will continue to invest with OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] to promote best-in-class OEM and Microsoft experiences to our joint customers,” a Microsoft spokesperson is quoted as saying.

Google has been less open its opposition to Android, outright refusing to comment on the matter.

The oft-quoted Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy, has said repeatedly that “Microsoft does not want [dual-OS devices] to happen,” and “Google wants all-Android devices.”

In some ways this rings familiar to the dual-OS push of the netbook era. During this pre-tablet time many OEMs like Acer and Asus were enthusiastic about dual-booting user-friendly distributions of Linux (like Ubuntu) and Windows in their pint-sized notebooks. The rationale was (this might seem ironic to some) that users would use Linux “apps” for simple tasks like web surfing and word processing, while Windows would be used for everything else.

Microsoft balked; users weren’t too interested. Eventually dual-OS netbooks faded away to obscurity, followed by the form factor itself, making futurist columns like this look silly.

The same fate is likely destined for dual Windows-Android devices, unless Intel wants to give it a big push to counter Microsoft’s pushback. Reportedly this model has sustained China’s interest, so we’ll likely be hearing more about Intel’s dual-OS ambitions at IDF Shenzhen in April.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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