Why Choose? Intel, AMD Push Android/Windows Machines

A Windows machine that can easily switch into being an Android device. That two-heads-are-better-than-one approach to operating systems reached a kind of pinnacle of visibility this week, when Intel CEO Brian Krzanich used his Consumer Electronics Show keynote address Monday to promote the idea -- which competing chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices is also pushing.

Instead of shutting down one OS and booting the other, as is currently possible in a dual-boot machine, the idea is to seamlessly move between the two competing operating systems via a button click. Intel's approach focuses on its system-on-a-chip products, while AMD's utilizes software from BlueStacks to run Android inside Windows.

AMD said the existing and popular BlueStacks Android app player will, as part of the companies' collaboration, support a fully virtualized Android environment that runs most Android apps in an Android UI inside a Windows desktop, thus avoiding the resource-intensive requirements of dual-booting.

Asus' Transformer Book Duet

Intel's Krzanich demonstrated his company's approach with Asus' new Transformer Book Duet TD 300, announced on Monday. Asus describes it as "the world's first quad-mode, dual-OS laptop and tablet convertible that allows users to switch between Windows and Android in either laptop or tablet modes with just a single push of the Instant Switch button or a virtual key on the tablet." While performance might be a consideration for a device with so many combinations, Asus asserts that the new Intel-based model can run "up to twice as fast" as current ARM-based tablets.

According to Krzanich, "there are times you want Windows, there are times you want Android." While it's hard to assess if users are actually clamoring for dealing with the vagaries of two operating systems, Intel clearly is willing. A dual-OS strategy covers a lot of bases for the chipmaker -- allowing it to maintain a foot in the...

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