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

High-res 13.3-in. tablet converts to laptop and runs Android and Windows 8

June 24, 2013 06:00 AM ET

Computerworld - 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 is, 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.

ATIV Q convertible tablet
ATIV Q convertible tablet from Samsung.

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.

A Lenovo spokesman on Sunday said that the Miix supports Windows 8 and is not dual-OS. He did not comment on why the U1 is no longer available.

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. "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 operating systems 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."

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