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ViewSonic plans dual-boot slate

ViewSonic plans dual-boot slate

ViewSonic's planned 10in slate can boot into either Android or Windows on an Intel processor.

ViewSonic is planning its own iPad-killer: a 10in tablet capable of booting into either Android or Windows depending on your needs at the time.

Although firm details of the device aren't yet available, the company has confirmed that a preview version will be available at the IFA conference in Berlin in September - and that it's based around an unnamed Intel processor, most likely an Atom of some description.

This makes it an interesting device; the main reason dual-boot systems haven't been available in the past is that Google's Android platform is designed to run on ARM architecture processors, while most versions of Windows - mobile variants excepted - are designed to run on x86 hardware. Without installing two different processors into a system, it's been hard for companies to make a device capable of running either operating system.

Back in April, however, Intel announced that it was porting Android to its Atom processors, meaning that the company's upcoming smartphone-oriented Atoms would be able to get a look-in against industry leader ARM's designs.

If ViewSonic's press release is accurate - and the "Microsoft" operating system it refers to doesn't turn out to be an ARM build of Windows CE - then it looks like the company could be one of the first to take advantage of the work Intel has done on an x86-compatible build of Android.

The question remains, however: will it be officially supported by Google? While Android itself is open-source, the search giant offers different licensing terms to different customers. Anyone is free to use the basic Android operating system, but access to the Android Market for apps downloads will cost you - and if you want to bundle Google Maps and other branded apps then it will cost you even more. With all previous Android licensees running on ARM-based systems, it will be interesting to see just how well supported ViewSonic's x86-based version turns out to be.

Do you think that an x86 device capable of morphing between a full-fat operating system and a slimmed-down mobile platform is the way for the PC market to beat Apple's iPad, or is it a gimmick that's unlikely to provide any real benefit to the consumer? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

10 Comments

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proxess 24th August 2010, 09:59 Quote
This will be fidgety and a real niche gizmo.
jake9891 24th August 2010, 11:16 Quote
I am just wondering what that Windows system would be capable of? because if it's only for browsing the Internet and stuff then I would probably stay with Android
deathtaker27 24th August 2010, 12:04 Quote
yep but it will also have those few applications you need to have windows to run.
War-Rasta 24th August 2010, 15:51 Quote
i don't think people will really be dualbooting with this thing. They will either use Android or Windows and that's it. Once you have your environment setup they way you like it and you have all your apps on either one of them you won't find a reason to go into the other. What i would REALLY like is a tablet that can run a full version of Ubuntu. I believe that would have a lot more appeal than an Android tablet.
Tulatin 25th August 2010, 01:55 Quote
Why not just virtualize, and allow for fast swapping? If the unit only has 512MB/1GB ram, why not just bundle two extra NAND Flash chips on the board, so that when you want to swap OSes, it just hibernates the one you're running at the time.
Xir 25th August 2010, 13:06 Quote
*yawn* I#f I'd get a penny for everybody "planning" a new device.

Where do I buy the Ipadkillers?
Where do I buy a 100$ laptop?
Where's my Epaper?

Hot air...
Nexxo 25th August 2010, 13:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xir
*yawn* I#f I'd get a penny for everybody "planning" a new device.

Where do I buy the Ipadkillers?
Where do I buy a 100$ laptop?
Where's my Epaper?

Hot air...

QFT:
Quote:
ViewSonic is planning its own iPad-killer: a 10in tablet capable of booting into either Android or Windows depending on your needs at the time.

Although firm details of the device aren't yet available...

They never are. It is always the new "iPad killer" (because we all know how flawed and overpriced a product the ipad is, so obviously anyone can do better), but also always: "firm details are not yet available...."

Sure. Come back when you have a working commercial unit in your hands.
kenco_uk 25th August 2010, 13:13 Quote
The ipad killers are available as the factories in China have been churning them out. The trouble is that most of the time the processors used aren't capable enough and the few ones that are, the OS isn't fully supported. And they are largely unsupported, with regards to OS updates.
Xir 26th August 2010, 09:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenco_uk
The ipad killers are available as the factories in China have been churning them out. The trouble is that most of the time the processors used aren't capable enough and the few ones that are, the OS isn't fully supported. And they are largely unsupported, with regards to OS updates.

Where the heck are they churning them to? Domestic chinese market? I'm surely not seeing them in shops here...
kenco_uk 26th August 2010, 10:57 Quote
There's quite a few on ebay. There are a few e-shops dotted about, one in Ireland iirc and a couple on the continent. Have a read of the forums on http://www.slatedroid.com/android-tablet-market/ The impression I get is that they're not ready for the real consumer market, where they can be bought in a shop. They are more an exercise in experimentation, to see what can be made to work. I'd hope certainly by next year that there should be rivals sold alongside and as available as the ipad.
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