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Dual-boot Android and Windows tablets, PCs face skepticism

Agam Shah | March 17, 2014
Dual-boot PCs and tablets could potentially give users the best of both worlds with Android and Windows OSes. But they won't catch on as there is little use for such systems, analysts said.

But even if Microsoft and Google are against such development, smaller device makers in countries like China may release products with dual-boot capabilities. At CES, some small Chinese PC makers said they were planning to release dual-boot tablets and PCs with Windows and Android in the second quarter this year.

Google and Microsoft can exert better control over the larger vendors, but not the smaller device makers, analysts said.

A smaller device maker could create a dual-boot system with Windows and Android after drawing code from the Android Open Source Project, which is a true open-source project, Technalysis' O'Donnell said.

"They can't do anything from stopping that from happening," O'Donnell said.

But device makers want to bundle Google's cloud services and thus want to work with Google, O'Donnell said. Mobile device users in mature markets such as the U.S. want the latest and greatest version of Android with Google services.

Google is an open-source company, but wants to protect the Android ecosystem, O'Donnell said, adding that he heard of PC makers being pressured to not build dual-boot systems.

"In the past it would be Microsoft that would be block this kind of stuff, now it's Google," O'Donnell said.

Google in the past has pulled strings to push Android into more devices, Endpoint's Kay said.

In 2012, Google played a role in Acer dropping Alibaba's Aliyun OS for smartphones due to ship in the Chinese market. Google's policing forced Acer to adopt Android, Kay said.

But Google shouldn't be opposed to dual-boot systems with Android and Windows, unless it involved market subsidies.

"Of course it would like to sell" more Android devices, Kay said.

 

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