Dual-OS hybrid tablets create challenges for IT

Samsung's upcoming 13.3-in. dual-OS ATIV Q convertible tablet is versatile, but that versatility could deter some users and create security and support headaches for IT shops.

Samsung's upcoming ATIV Q convertible tablet is versatile: The 13.3-in. device runs two operating systems, Windows 8 and Android, and it can unfold to function as a laptop with a physical qwerty keyboard. But while that versatility may appeal to some users, it could confuse others, and it could create support and security headaches for IT shops.

Of course, that's assuming that the ATIV Q, announced late last month in London, is able to gain traction in the market when it finally goes on sale in the U.S.

Dual-boot devices, like the Lenovo IdeaPad U1, haven't sold well, largely because they didn't shift smoothly from OS to OS, said Rob Enderle, an analyst at Enderle Group. Announced in 2010, the IdeaPad U1 ran both Android and Windows 7, but Lenovo no longer sells it.

The ATIV Q is designed to switch instantly from Windows to Android, and that could prove to be a selling point.

But Enderle and other analysts said IT shops will worry 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 Moor Insights & Strategy, disagreed. "Enterprises could essentially double their ROI by taking what they did on phones and moving that over to tablets," he said, though he did acknowledge that it's still unknown whether Knox will be effective.

Forrester Research analyst G.P. Gownder said managing both operating systems in the ATIV Q "could be quite a challenge."

Analysts agreed that, its versatility aside, the ATIV Q will appeal to some users because of its super-high 3200-x-1800-pixel resolution, the highest of any device with a 13.3-in. screen.

This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an article that appeared earlier on Computerworld.com.

Read more about operating systems in Computerworld's Operating Systems Topic Center.

This story, "Dual-OS hybrid tablets create challenges for IT" was originally published by Computerworld.

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