CES 2014 Intel is attempting to knock rivals' SoCs off with a dual-boot platform that lets you flip between Windows 8.1 and Google’s mobile operating system on the same device.
The chip giant announced delivery of dual-OS at CES 2014 with PC partner Asus, with the PC maker delivering the laptop/tablet hybrid to run it on: the 2-in-1 Transformer Book Duet TD300.
The TD300 lets you switch between Windows 8.1 and Android in either slaptop mode, using an Instant Switch button on the laptop or a virtual key on the tablet.
The PC features an Intel Core i7 processor with Intel HD graphics.
Intel’s chief executive Brian Krzanich announced the dual-OS capability at the tech show in Las Vegas.
Krzanich called the platform a response to customer and OEM demand, with both wanting the option to run Windows 8.1 and Android at different times on one device.
“Intel [SoCs] are the only ones that can offer that capability to seamlessly switch between OSs. You don't have to make a choice moving forward. You could have a secure environment, you can have both,” Krzanich said.
Intel isn’t the only chipmaker straddling Windows and Android.
AMD used CES to announce what it called its latest milestone: putting Android and Windows on the same tablet, working with Android vendor BlueStacks.
BlueStacks creates a virtualised Android device that runs on the Windows desktop. You download, install, and run apps inside a BlueStacks window.
AMD said the new version of BlueStacks is running on fourth-generation AMD APUs – the partnership with BlueStacks was first announced in September.
Android apps can run within a window or at full-screen resolution, apps can be downloaded from various Android app stores and synced between different devices, and Android apps can access files stored inside the Windows file system, AMD said.
Steve Belt, corporate vice president AMD product management, said in a statement that users who had apps and services on in the Android and the Windows camp no longer faced "device-specific restrictions" thanks to BlueStacks.
"Now users have access to all the apps - games, communications and content consumption - they love on their Android mobile devices right at their fingertips, while getting important productivity tasks or high-end PC gaming accomplished on their Windows PC," he said.
Devices capable of running Windows and Android are unlikely to prove anything more than a niche concern, but anything will help the chip makers in the today's tab-tastic environment.
Intel is taking a hammering from the continued drop in sales of the traditional PC running Windows while newer Microsoft tablets using Windows 8.1 aren’t making a dent.
Android, meanwhile, has by far the single biggest market share, chiefly thanks to Samsung.
For Intel at least, a chip-set capable of booting Windows and Android will hopefully mean it can skim some of the cream off the Android growth that’s doing some of the damage to Windows and PCs.
Newbie CEO Krzanich in November warned of zero revenue growth for Intel in 2014 compared to 2013 – despite having spent billions of dollars on, among other things, building new, power-efficient chips like Atom and Haswell supposed to help Intel break into devices. ®