At Samsung’s premiere yesterday there wasn’t a whole lot for Android fans to get excited about. We already knew about most of the products unveiled there, and the most exciting Galaxy device was the Galaxy Camera NX.
Now what was truly exciting for Android fans was the Samsung Ativ Q. It’s a dual-hybrid laptop capable of running both Android and Windows 8 seamlessly. No need to reboot, and you won’t be caught tapping your toes for a few seconds while you wait for Android to come up, because with a single tap you can swap between Windows 8 and Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean.
But what does this mean? Is this the beginning of a lifelong friendship between Windows and Android or is it more of cease fire?
The Ativ Q is an amazing piece of engineering. At only 13.9mm thick, and tipping the scales at 1.29kg, it isn’t the lightest tablet on the block, but for a laptop/tablet hybrid it is perfectly acceptable. No need to worry about Samsung’s legendary love of all things plastic either, because the Ativ Q is made out of Magnesium alloy, so the high-end look and feel will definitely be there.
Speaking of high end, the 13.3-inch frame of the Ativ Q houses the world’s highest-resolution display, which is a QHD+ 3200×1800 panel, coming in at a whopping 275 pixels per inch. Comparing it to a 13.3 inch Full HD panel almost seems cruel, because a Full HD model has almost half the amount of pixels per inch, at 165 ppi. Suffice to say that this will be the best display you’ll lay your eyes upon this year.
The Haswell chip will ensure up to 9 hours of battery life.
All of those pixels and both those operating systems are going to need a lot of power to run them, so Samsung has put in the very power efficient Intel Haswell i5 chip meaning you’re going to get up to 9 hours worth of battery life on the Ativ Q. Couple that with 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, and you get the picture that this is a laptop worth bragging about. There’s also the S Pen which is great for graphic designers.
On the ports side of things, there’s a USB 3.0 port, a USB 2.0 port, a micro SD slot for expandability and a HDMI port.
Windows is the all supreme ruler of the desktop and Android is the king of the mobile castle, so it would make sense for the two of them to combine on a laptop, which can convert into a tablet.
The difference between the Ativ Q, and those that have come before it, is the seamless transition between the two operating systems. Android is quite literally a tap of a button away, and you can be running either Android or Windows in laptop or tablet mode.
This means that you’ll be able to run the millions of apps designed for Windows PCs, and the hundreds of thousands of apps designed for Android. This is great for touch screen usability, as the Windows Store pales in comparison to the Google Play Store.
Windows 8 runs as you expect it would (note this is full Windows 8 and not the light version called Windows RT), but it’s on the Android side where things get interesting, because Samsung has chosen not to use its TouchWiz interface. Instead what you’ll be seeing is pure, unadulterated stock Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. The two operating systems can also share photos and other data, meaning that the photos you have saved on the Windows side of your laptop instantly appear in the Android gallery.
Windows 8 was supposed to be both a mobile and desktop operating system, but OEMs have chosen to use Android for the mobile side of things.
Microsoft designed Windows 8 to be an all in one operating system which can be used with a touch screen, mouse or track pad. However, it seems as if the OEMs have decided that it would be easier to place Android on top of Windows.
The simple reason for the decision is apps. Android has way more applications that have been built for touch screens than the Windows Store (800,000 in the Play Store compared to 80,000 in the Windows Store).
But in the end Microsoft shouldn’t care, because if Android is enough of a reason to get people to buy Windows 8 laptops, then Microsoft is still selling Windows 8 licenses and that’s what Microsoft needs.
The only danger for Microsoft is if manufacturers decide to get rid of Windows altogether, and run Android as a desktop operating system. Luckily for Microsoft, Android isn’t ready for the prime time yet, and until then, Windows will reign supreme on the desktop.
Is the Ativ Q the most amazing piece of engineering you’ve ever seen? Can Windows and Android be best buds? Will Android ever make the leap to a desktop operating system?