Two to Tango – Dual OS on Mobile Devices
A few days back, a few colleagues and I were discussing the possibility of having multiple operating systems on a single mobile device. Notwithstanding the fact that the scenario seems highly improbable right now, a case can be definitely made for the merits of such a device. Imagine being able to get the goodness of both — Android and Windows 8 on a single smartphone screen! As it turns out, there actually exist a few devices that are actually capable of running more than one OS.
I remember reading about a concept phone created by two designers that dreamt of combining two leading OS of the time – Android and Windows 7 – way back in 2011. The manner of implementing the different OS on this phone is a bit different – they do not play on the same screen, but on two different screens, one lying beneath the main screen. Later, a hack was developed to achieve a dual booting Android and Windows 7 phone (on HTC HD2) by a group of developers, and apparently without the approval of any of the brands involved.
However, the concept of dual OS on a single smartphone may not remain in the realm of fantasy too long – we could actually see such a phone as early as next year (2014) – courtesy Ubuntu for Android. This phone will combine the upcoming Ubuntu mobile OS with Android, but this device has an ostensibly different application. It is basically an Android device in its smartphone version that converts into an Ubuntu desktop when docked to a larger display that may also include a keyboard and a mouse. This way, the functions are clearly earmarked – Android for mobile and Ubuntu for desktop functions.
This demarcation actually makes sense, and may well prove to be the basis for future mobile devices that boast of multiple OS – where each OS specializes in a particular area. So, a future device may well offer Android for Smartphone and tablet functions and Windows 8 for PC functions – once the seemingly insurmountable issue of obtaining consent from both OS owners is addressed.
That brings me to one currently available device that actually uses both Android and Windows 8 – Asus Transformer AiO P1801. If you owned this gadget, you would be able to use Android in the tablet mode, and Windows 8 in the PC mode. You could switch between the two OS by simply pressing a button!