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2013 has been a great year for the tech industry. After many years of waiting, Sony and Microsoft announced their new gaming consoles, PS4 and the Xbox One, alongwith brand new contenders in the space like OUYA. Intel has revealed its latest and greatest Haswell Chips that bring the greatest increase in graphics performance and greatest increase in battery life for mobile cpus in recent memory. Intel has also completely changed its Atom architecture, and is now being used by Samsung for its Galaxy Tablets which is a huge push for Intel in the mobile market. Microsoft is going to offer, for the first time in history a new version of Windows as a free update to existing customers. Apple is completely redesigning its ageing iOS, it is still under wraps but we will know what changes they have made in a couple weeks time. BlackBerry has made a comeback with two brand new phones and a completely new Operating System. HTC has made a comeback with its ONE and is hailed as a much better smartphone than the Samsung Galaxy S4, the heir of the king of yesteryear the Samsung Galaxy S3.
At first look it looks alot like the Asus Transformer Book, a windows 8 tablet with a keyboard dock that turns the tablet into an ultrabook. But this is a lot more than just that. This device has 2 completely different processors, an Intel Core series Haswell Processor and an Intel Atom CPU.
The reason why it needs two independent processors is because this Transformer Book is actually made up of two completely independent devices. The tablet part houses the Atom Processor , a 19Wh battery, and 64 GB of memory to run the latest and greatest version of ….. wait for it …… Android. The Keyboard Dock houses a 4th Generation Intel Core i7 Haswell Processor, 1TB of hard drive space, and its own 33Wh battery to run a Full Windows 8 OS. This configuration enables the device to run Windows and Android simultaneously ! Does that make it the Perfect Device ? Not quite! But it is a step in the right direction.
But the way the Asus Transformer Book Trio accomplishes dual simultaneous OS is not the Perfect solution. The Tablet is a stand alone Android Tablet and the Keyboard dock is a completely different device, its a Windows PC in its own. The only time these devices show any relation to each other is when the tablet is docked in to the keyboard, at that point you can choose whether you want to use the keyboard as an extension of the Android Tablet, or you want to use the tablet as a screen for the Windows PC living in the keyboard dock.
So what is a better way to approach the dream of simultaneous OS on a single Device ??
Surprisingly the solution comes from a gaming console. The Xbox One to be precise.
Microsoft has taken a very unique and elegant approach with how the OS on the Xbox One works. It actually runs Three Different Operating Systems simultaneously. Microsoft decided to use a Windows Type OS to run all the multimedia and apps like Skype etc. and used a separate OS dedicated entirely for playing Games, this way no matter what apps are running, the game performance isn’t affected. The way Microsoft made it possible to run both Operating systems simultaneously on the same screen and share some things like Internet and profiles, is by using a Third OS. Think of this Third OS as the primary OS that boots up the Xbox One and also acts as a container that loads the Game OS and Windows OS simultaneously. This is pure genius. It makes switching between Operating Systems as easy as it is to switch from Browser to Media player on your PC. Microsoft even showed a demo running a Next Generation Video Game and Skype Simultaneously on the same screen but in different Operating Systems !!
So what would Constitute a Perfect Device then ?
The Perfect Device would need Modular Hardware, and Multiple Operating Systems that can truly run simultaneously.
For such a device to exist, unlike the Asus Transformer Trio, the high powered Processor ( Intel Core i7 or similar) cannot be separated from the mobile centric Processor ( Intel Atom if x86 or Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 if ARM ). Both these Processors will need to be side by side in the same device sharing resources like Wifi, Disc Space, USB ports and Batteries. Above all, everything will need to be housed in the tablet part of the device.
The Keyboard Dock for such a device would be very similar to ASUS Transformer series, offering a large battery and many Ports. However, since this device is running two (or more) completely different Operating systems, the Keyboard Dock can offer something for the Mobile OS as well, like additional memory, or more powerful antennae. A discrete graphics card for PC gaming could be optionally available in a higher priced version of the dock.
For software, there will need to be a set-up similar to the Xbox One. A Primary OS will boot the device and load both the Windows 8.* Pro and the Mobile OS (whether it is Android, BlackBerry10, Firefox OS, Jolla Sailfish, Ubuntu Touch or even a media centre like XBMC or Plex ) simultaneously.
The user should then be able to move between operating systems with great ease and efficiency, or even run two different operating systems on the same screen without sacrificing performance or functionality of either!
Now That would be the Perfect Device !