New 'PC Plus' laptops will unleash Android-Windows punch

Microsoft missed the mark with Windows 8. When it launched in 2012, Microsoft trumpeted one mission for the completely redesigned look: one operating system for all of your tablets, laptops, desktops and even smartphones and Xbox. The Modern UI (née Metro) was supposed to unify the company's software across the board. If you knew how to use Windows on one device, you didn't have to relearn anything.

Oh, how that plan didn't pan out. Just like one size doesn't fit all for smartphone and tablet, one OS certainly doesn't fit all for computing. People use different devices for different experiences. A laptop OS should be provide the the power and freedom of a PC without the weight. A tablet OS needs to be perfected for the touchscreen. And an desktop PC OS should be optimized so professionals can build tomorrow's technology and tools.

Windows 8 might have had the right intentions, but the reality is it only ended up confusing the heck out of everyone; putting off long time Windows users and scaring new ones. It doesn't help that apps on Windows 8 tablets and tablet/laptop hybrids are kind of on the lousy end.

Word on the street from TIME is that PC makers are planning to announce "PC Plus" laptops that run Windows 8.1 and Android simultaneously. Android will reportedly run via some sort of software emulation. The idea is to use Windows 8.1 for work and Android for play (presumably when in tablet mode) — a much better arrangement since Google's mobile OS has a larger app store.

So who is behind all of this? You'll never guess. Oh, you probably can: Intel, of course. The same chipmaker that lassoed the PC industry into pumping out Ultrabooks to fight the MacBook Air and 2-in-1 laptop/tablet hybrids to combat the explosion of iPads and Android tablets.

Of course, laptop/tablet hybrids that run Windows and Android are hardly new. Some PC makers have tried splicing the two OSes together with little success. Even if Intel is behind the new PC Plus initiative, The Verge reports Microsoft and Google aren't officially onboard with the idea and the former is trying to get PC makers who are cahoots with Intel to cancel their product announcements that are reportedly slated for next week's CES. I guess we'll find out what the deal is next week in Vegas.

I've never been a big fan of dual OSes (even though I did virtualize Windows 7 at one point in time on my Mac — only by necessity), but I can see a lot of people who would like this kind of mobile setup. It'd really be the best of two worlds, if it's integrated in a seamless way. But then again, if these PC Plus devices running Windows and Android are announced and gain traction, they would validate that Microsoft's one Windows strategy for all devices was indeed a huge mistake.

TIME, via The Verge

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