Is the Ativ Q the beginning of a lifelong friendship between Windows and Android or more of a cease fire?

by: Adam KoueiderJune 21, 2013

Samsung ATIV Q

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: The ultimate piece of engineering

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.

Credit: Samsung

Credit: Samsung

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.

It’s Windows and it’s Android, pure Android.

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.

Dual OS (2)

Image credit: Samsung

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.

Microsoft is not going to like this

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).

Wrap up

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?

  • gjtethty

    This is truly magnificent. Great job Samsung!

  • Zach Mauch

    Unless Microsoft’s goes through some major changes, its the beginning of the end. Android moving to laptops is a bad sign for them. It can easily be adapted to windowing and file exploring. Chrome books won’t replace windows, but android could.

  • box14380

    It is a marriage agreement of two dominant Operating systems. And Samsung is able to do that. That’s a great job.

    • mobilemann

      i read that android is running on top in a VM environment, so full windows is running under it. (this would be a negative, more battery consumption, less speed etc.) That’s what ars says anyway.

      That’s something anyone could do with bluestacks. so i wouldn’t call it impressive. (the software, the hardware design is pretty cool)

      • Victor V.

        bluestacsk is far from seamless and is extremely is still in beta form right? i tried running in on my laptop a few times. it was slow,laggy, and prone to lock ups. it worked well a few times though. not sure why it works sometimes but not all of the time.

        • mobilemann

          could be a number of things, but android is pretty light-weight (without skins) and completely x86 compatible, so they would have a number of options. I just think it would be way way better if you actually booted into android (for the batteries sake)

  • Jaun Lombard

    “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.”

    I think you ment the following: This means that you’ll be able to run the millions of apps designed for ANDROID, and the hundreds of thousands of apps designed for WINDOWS PCs. This is great for touch screen usability, as the Windows Store pales in comparison to the Google Play Store.

    • millwork help

      Nope pretty sure he meant what he said…

      • Jaun Lombard

        Sorry I was talking about the App stores…not programs…

        • Enes Taşdemir

          There aren’t millions of apps for android, not even a million.

    • Alan Shearer

      Actually alot of these “apps” for windows are called programs (at least they used to be, can skyrim or fallout 3, photoshop, autocad be called apps now?).

      • Adam Koueider

        An application is a computer program, also known as Software application, which is therefore an app. They are one and the same really, except for what they are running on.

        There are Windows apps designed to run in desktop mode, and there are apps found in the Windows Store, which are made to run in the new Metro UI and are therefore designed to work better with touch screens.

        Since Android has more apps designed for touchscreens (800,000+ vs 80,00+), and Windows has millions of apps (programs, applications, whatever you want to call them) designed for use in a desktop, OEMs have decided to use Android on top of Windows to overcome the shortcomings of Windows 8 hybrids.

        Hope this cleared up any confusion.

        • Alan Shearer

          Oh I know the “difference” (or lack there of), I am a computer engineer. I was just jesting to see what responses will be. Some people confuse programs with apps, they consider apps like baby programs, though app stands for application, and a program is an application, and an application a program in the software side of things. You can just as easily call angry birds on android or IOS a software program, the same as the ps3 version, or should they make a pc standalone version (surprised they have not, have they?)

          • Charles Chambers

            I think it’s interesting how apple popularized the App Store concept. They had long called Mac programs “applications” while Microsoft stuck with the program nomenclature. If Microsoft had beat apple to the App Store punch, do you think we would be calling mobile applications, mobile programs instead?

          • Alan Shearer


  • Bone

    This is a dream device and unfortunately will remain so when it gets priced. $1200 minimum.

    • Bone

      Now Samsung could work on this a bit, like split screen W8/Android multi-tasking, and putting both running programs/apps on the Start/Android key tray, so you tap on say Flipboard on W8 and it pops up.

      The switch could be better than an icon too, like you swipe right after the last W8 screen and Android comes up, swipe left on Android. It could also have a keyboard button for switch.

      Last but not least, there should be and could be a unified Windows/Android 4.2.2 user log in since both support multiple user profiles.

  • Farbod

    actually the surface pro is a better device if you want both windows and android because a version of bluestacks has been optimized just for the surface pro, just wish they would add haswell :(

  • Alan Shearer

    DO. WANT. NOW.

  • john

    Is it too much to hope that this device would come with Thunderbolt port?

  • welshblood

    Looks like Samsung read my mind! Been holding back from buying a new laptop & upgrading my Galaxy Tab 7.7 as I’m fed up of carrying 2 devices around for different uses. All that remains now, it’s the price. . . . !

  • Roberto Tomás

    it is nice but there are some things that leave me wanting more (believe it or not):
    • can’t play games. I’d like something like a 660m in there, or else some specific software to have it act as a dummy terminal to a desktop. what’s the point of having a PC at all if it isn’t able to play lightweight games like SimCity at 1080p and high quality?
    • USB2? — all these out-dated ports have to go away!
    • not Youm — its a nice monitor but you know why it is so nice? because YOUM is just around the corner but they missed the deadline.

    • usb outdated? Tell me what’s up.

      • Roberto Tomás

        not usb in general, but usb2.

  • William Worlde

    Sometime recently, you or one of the other 4 tech blogs I read everyday, wrote something about Asus’ new device running both W8 and Android effectively panning it as silly and who’d want such a POS.

    Again, I don’t remember who wrote the piece re: Acer’s new R7 W8 device with its innovative hinged device, but you (whoever you were) condemned this “Franken-monster”.

    In both cases, I felt moved enough to write condemning your condemnation.

    Now, here comes AA’s praise of a ***SAMSUNG*** device with the two features mentioned above. I have little doubt the other blogs will praise this device as well, which makes me think: How far up Samsung’s ass do you folks have your collective heads?! Btw, all these blogs lean towards Android. (I am currently an Android user, but that could change at my whim. Incidentally, when I had the iP 3GS and leaned towards all blogs Apple, I noticed the same sort of ass-licking. However, that is understandable, as it’s just one ecosystem. Android is NOT Samsung!).

    How much free stuff does Samsung give you folks?! I’m just asking, is all… Hmmm…..

  • Justin

    “Is the Ativ Q the beginning of a lifelong friendship between Windows and Android or more of a cease fire?”

    Neither, it’s Samsung doing what it does – trying out another device. As long as Microsoft keeps suing everyone, they’re not going to be making any friends. Either way, Google will still profit from them all as long as their search stays dominant.

  • Redspeed93

    Can’t wait to find out what this beast is going to cost!

  • gps, camera, 3g 4g not mentioned.

  • Ryne Kolessar

    Does anyone know when this will be released and how much it will cost?

  • tr108

    Instead of somehow adding keyboard and that substitute of. Mouse , Sammy should have added nice gpu and a kick stand with multiple angles in same size. I could use wireless keyboard and mouse whenever I want.