Two worlds collide once more
Display maker ViewSonic is really taking a running jump at this new, fangled tablet business, but we're not sure it has really understood the concept.
The previous announcement of a seven inch Android tablet-phone seemed like a promising start, although concerns remain about the hardware spec. But the launch of a dual-boot Atom tablet - the ViewPad 100 - seems to miss the point a bit.
ViewSonic's rationale goes as follows: ‘The combination of operating systems means that users have the speed and portability of an Android-based OS without sacrificing the power and compatibility of a Windows powered system.'
But the best of both worlds can also be positioned as the worst. One of the main points of Android tablets, as far as we're concerned, is that they contain ARM-based SoCs. The reason this is good is that they require less power than Atom and thus offer greater battery life, in principle. Android looks like a bit of an afterthought on an Atom tablet.
There's also the user experience; switching between a PC and a mobile operating system is unlikely to be a very smooth experience, something we thought when we saw the Lenovo hybrid UI at the start of the year, and which Lenovo itself seems to be having second thoughts about. And then there's the matter of choosing which programme or app you access from which OS; it could all get very confusing.
"We want to supply users with a tablet computer that incorporates both Android and Windows as we believe in providing an open approach to mobile technology to users who may not wish to be tied to a specific operating system," said Derek Wright, ViewSonic European product marketing manager.
"We recognise many users may be transitioning from a netbook but will possibly struggle with the learning curve of a new OS, even for simple tasks as uploading photos or using a VPN. Eventually they may choose to favour one over the other, but they will always have the choice."
Anyway, it offers both Windows 7 Home Premium and Android 1.6, runs a 1.66GHz Atom N455, a 16GB SSD and a gig of DDR3. The ten inch capacitive LED screen is 1024x600, there's Wi-Fi and GPS but no 3G, and a micro-SD slot. It's expected to cost £549 and will be available in October.