Dual-OS Tablets May Come Soon From White-Box Vendors

May 22, 2015 - Written By Kishalaya Kundu

With the tablet market not quite keeping pace with the exploding smartphone market, most vendors are trying to find ways to increase demand from retail consumers. We have already seen various forms of hybrid tablets from mainstream PC and smartphone manufacturers like the Asus Transformer Pad, the Lenovo Yoga lineup, the Samsung ATIV Q and other such devices that double up as traditional laptop computers. But the one thing about all those devices is that all of them run on a single operating system – either Android or Windows. We have previously heard about plans from Asus, Samsung and other established OEMs to launch Windows-Android dual-OS tablets and smartphones, but such plans were allegedly scuttled by both Microsoft and Google. So pure tablets from mainstream OEMs thus far have not come with dual operating systems, even though, it actually makes sense for a lot of consumers.

Meanwhile, with the entire segment stagnating, white-box manufacturers of tablets have also been feeling the pinch amidst shrinking sales and rising overheads. That has led many component manufacturers to look to work with tier-1 brands, rather than concentrate on bulk contracts from their traditional customers – the white-box manufacturers. Chinese component maker DPT recently gained contracts for touch-panels from Asus and Acer, while Holitech has reportedly secured contracts from Chinese giants ZTE, Huawei and Lenovo. Now, if a report coming from Taiwan is anything to go by, some white-box tablet manufacturers in China are planning to do what big mainstream vendors like Asus and Samsung could not achieve in face of stiff opposition from the giants based out of Mountain View and Redmond. A report claims that some white-box tablet manufacturers are looking to create a whole new sub-category of product – dual-boot devices featuring Android and Windows, a step which could indeed make tablets more attractive among mainstream consumers. Their business plan seems simple at the outset; exploit the subsidies being offered by both Microsoft and Intel to cut costs, thereby reducing prices and hopefully, jacking up demand. None of the parties involved however, made any comments on the issue.

With both Intel and Microsoft trying their best to break into the mobile device category with the traditional PC market stagnating, both companies are reportedly offering heavy discounts on Windows OS and Atom chips respectively. Microsoft has reportedly waived off charges altogether for devices under 10-inch screen sizes, meaning OEMs can basically use Windows (x86-64) for free on regular sized tablets. Intel meanwhile, has been providing large discounts on their Atom chips, allowing companies like Asus to introduce powerful devices like the Zenfone 2 series of handsets for such unbelievably low prices.