March 14, 2014, 11:00 AM — Are dual-boot phones really a good idea? Huawei thinks so and plans to release a phone that will dual-boot Android and Windows. Huawei wants users to have a choice in mobile operating systems from the moment they purchase the phone, but how many users will care?
"If it is Windows only, maybe people will not find it as easy a decision to buy the phone. If they have the Android and Windows together, you can change it as you wish and it is much easier for people to choose Windows Phone. We think the dual OS can be a new choice for the consumer."
The Chinese hardware maker, which is the third largest smartphone manufacturer on the planet these days, has made no secret of the fact that it's gunning to take on the two big biggest players in the game: Apple and Samsung.
Image credit: Android Guys
I'm generally a big fan of giving people a choice in operating systems. But I'm not so sure that this is a good idea on Huawei's part. It implies that there might be a significant number of users who would want to run Windows Phone, and who would base their purchase on that capability.
But is this really true? Microsoft has offered Windows phones for a long time, but it has never caught on, and never come close to challenging even iOS nevermind Android (which has a gigantic amount of worldwide mobile market share). Windows Phone has consistently lagged behind in market share and Microsoft's billions haven't been able to save it.
It seems to me that if Huawei really wanted to offer a viable choice that they'd go with Ubuntu Touch or perhaps Firefox OS. Both would at least offer significantly different mobile operating systems that might be appreciated by users in a way that Windows will probably never achieve.
Huawei does say that they will be looking at other mobile operating systems, and that's a very good idea on their part. Even if they sell a lot of these dual-boot Android and Windows phones, I doubt many people will be using Windows on them. My guess is that it will soon be forgotten in favor of Android once people start using the phone.
Some customers may even eventually resent wasting storage space on Windows, so I hope Huawei has a way for people to remove Windows altogether if they want. I can't imagine having a significant amount of my phone's storage being wasted on an also-ran mobile operating system created by Microsoft.
I also doubt that Google will appreciate having Windows included on Android phones. The company has already expressed its displeasure with manufacturers who wanted to offer dual-boot tablets and laptops that included Windows with Android. I'm not sure that there's much Google can do to stop dual-boot phones, but I'm sure Huawei will probably get an earful from them at some point.
I suspect that Huawei's decision to release a dual-boot phone might be a desperate way to try and differentiate its product from other Android manufacturers. If that's the case then I think it might succeed but not in the way Huawei thought. Some users might take one look at a dual-boot phone and then buy a different phone entirely that gives them the mobile operating system they actually want to use, without having a second operating system that doesn't interest them.
Huawei's dual-boot phones aren't available yet, but you might want to keep an eye on Amazon's Huawei page if you are interested in purchasing one. They will probably be listed there soon after Huawei releases them.
Will you buy a phone that dual-boots Windows and Android? Please share your thoughts in the comments. I'm very curious to know if there's a real market out there for such a product.
An OS X user moves to Linux
Phoronix has a report about an OS X user who switched to Linux and now has regrets.
From the testing thus far, the ASUS Zenbook UX301LA is a nice piece of hardware and aside from some minor Linux compatibility issues it's running great on Xubuntu 14.04 LTS with the major exception being the HiDPI support. I'm continuing to play around with different settings and research to hopefully find a better HiDPI configuration for Xfce but so far I'm left disappointed.
When running Retina MacBook Pros with Linux running full-screen within VMware, it was a much cleaner experience, even if it didn't mean using a pure open-source software stack; at the end of the day, usability and having the best experience is more important to my needs than obliging to a software philosophy when it results in a lessened experience.
Image credit: Phoronix
I'm always sad to see these kinds of stories appear when someone is adjusting to Linux from OS X or Windows. A different desktop environment might be a better way to go for him than Xfce (though personally I really like Xfce).
The discussion thread for the article contains a number of useful suggestions, so hopefully he'll mine it for good ideas to improve his Linux experience. I always love it when some members of the Linux community jump in to help somebody out who is having problems. A little support can go a long way when helping new Linux users.
As far as OS X goes, I consider it a fine operating system in its own way. But as with anything related to Apple, it's pretty much a take it or leave it kind of thing. If you choose to use Apple's products then you more or less have to deal with using them the way Apple wants you to. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it just doesn't work for some of us.
Hopefully the writer of the article will consider some of the advice presented to him by readers in the discussion thread and begin to be able to really enjoy the freedom of Linux.
Apple versus Samsung
Speaking of Apple, Ars Technica has a disturbing report about the company trying to gouge Samsung for $40 per device in licensing fees.
In the upcoming trial, newly revealed documents indicate that Apple is looking for a patent royalty rate that would allow it to collect billion-dollar sums from Samsung every year—for just five patents.
On February 25, US District Judge Lucy Koh issued an order throwing out much of Samsung's expert report while allowing Apple's. The massive damage numbers are in, and the $40-per-phone demand, or something close to it, will go to the jury.
Image credit: Ars Technica
I really have to wonder about Apple and Samsung, there is so much bad blood between these two companies. If they were countries we'd have had a full-blown shooting war already, given how much they seem to dislike each other. Oddly enough, Samsung still makes components for some of Apple's products. It boggles the mind that they continue to do business while utterly despising each other.
Apple's demand for $40 per device seems a bit excessive to me, but then again Samsung has never shied away from emulating Apple's products to take advantage of Apple's intellectual property and design decisions. Google even warned Samsung at one point about making sure they didn't copy Apple's product designs.
So I'm sure Apple is out to get any kind of financial revenge on Samsung that it can. It's in the hands of the jury now, so we'll just have to wait and see what they think about Apple's licensing fee demands.
What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.