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ATIV Q's dual OS tablet could be 'brilliant' or trouble for IT shops

Matt Hamblen | June 25, 2013
High-res 13.3-in. tablet converts to laptop and runs Android and Windows 8.

Samsung's upcoming 13.3-in. ATIV Q convertible tablet runs both Windows 8 and Android and unfolds to function as a laptop. Despite such versatility, some analysts believe it might pose a support dilemma for IT shops and confuse average users.

That's, of course, if the device, first announced Thursday in London, eventually goes on sale in the U.S. and is priced reasonably enough to gain some sales traction. Dual-boot devices, like the Lenovo IdeaPad U1, announced in early 2010, have never sold well "largely because the transition [from OS to OS] was ugly," noted Rob Enderle, an analyst at Enderle Group.

Lenovo no longer offers the IdeaPad U1, which ran both Android and Windows 7, although the company announced a 10.1-in. tablet on Friday called the Miix that comes with an optional detachable case with built-in keyboard. The Miix runs Windows 8 only and will sell for about $500, according to a statement, although a Lenovo online sales rep told Computerworld on Friday that there are reports that it may also come with a dual OS. Lenovo could not be reached to comment on any such plans.

As for the ATIV Q, some users will like the tablet's toggling capability, which switches it instantly from enterprise-valued Windows apps to a multitude of Android apps. But users may want those Android Jelly Bean apps, including games like Angry Birds, for personal use. Enderle and other analysts said IT shops are still worried about Android security, even with Samsung's Knox security approach, announced in February.

"Enterprises are really nervous about Android because it has become such a huge malware problem," Enderle said. But that could change "if you can assure that the Android side of the ATIV Q is disabled while inside of the company's firewall."

Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moore Insights & Strategy, disagreed, saying, "I could see a place for the ATIV Q in enterprises that have adopted Samsung's Knox initiative," he said. "Enterprises could essentially double their ROI by taking what [apps] they did on phones and moving that over to tablets." Knox is new and its effectiveness is still unknown, he noted.

G.P. Gownder, an analyst at Forrester Research, said for IT shops to manage both OSs in the ATIV Q "could be quite a challenge ... Android faces security challenges and IT people don't like that. Windows is a known quantity."

Still, Gownder said that for companies that want to offer bring-your-own device (BYOD) flexibility to workers, the ATIV Q "could work and could make sense."

Gownder said it's possible that Samsung will focus sales of the ATIV Q primarily on the Asian market, where Android tablets are more popular with workers than in the U.S. "Most people in the U.S. won't be familiar with a concept like this dual OS," he said. "IT departments will be skeptical based on security challenges and it will be confusing to consumers. So far there's not been a market for this dual OS."


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