With PC sales continuing to decline, players in the industry are frantically looking for ways to rekindle the interest in PCs that consumers have begun to lose with the rise of modern smartphones and tablets. Chief among them is Intel, who along with Microsoft, has dominated the PC industry – with the profits to show for it – for decades.
According to The Verge, Intel’s latest move is to bring to Windows laptops one of Android’s biggest draws – apps. The chipmaker is said to be working with some PC makers to put Android apps in virtual machines that would run on regular Windows touch-enabled devices. The effort is reportedly known as Dual OS, though that might be just a codename; Tim Bajarin writes on Time that the project will be actually dubbed PC Plus. Regardless of its final name, the initiative will probably be introduced at CES next week.
The idea of running Android and Windows on the same device isn’t new – Asus has the Transformer Book Trio (though the device has two processors, so it’s more like an Android tablet and a Windows PC fused together), while Samsung announced – but never released – the Ativ Q, which let users start up Android with a push of a button. Also, there are a number of emulators available for Windows that enable a more or less full Android experience, the best known being BlueStacks and Genymotion. It’s not clear yet how Intel’s idea differs from these products.
Google or Microsoft could kill the project
The biggest issue that may stop the Dual OS project in its tracks is the fact that neither Google nor Microsoft have given their blessing so far. According to The Verge’s sources, Steve Ballmer’s company isn’t keen on the idea, because it would send out a confusing message to the developers that are so crucial for Microsoft’s unified operating system ambitions. On the other hand, Google could kill the whole project by denying emulated Android instances access to the Play Store, thus taking away its only reason for existence.
We should learn more about Dual OS when Intel makes an official announcement about the initiative next week at CES. Stay tuned.