Samsung convertible tablet can switch between Android and Windows 8

Samsung unveils a stack of new tech at London press show - including new Ativ Q convertible tablet/laptop and Galaxy NX camera with social sharing features and interchangeable lenses

21 Jun 2013


Samsung has unveiled a convertible tablet that switches from one operating system to another as swiftly as it does from tablet to laptop.

Video demonstration of the Ativ Q convertible tablet

Ever since Windows 8 launched last year convertible devices - those which swap from tablet to laptop with the flick of a switch or swing of a hinge - have been big news.

They've redefined how we use and buy computers.

Now with the Ativ Q Samsung has launched a convertible that can switch between Windows 8 and Android operating systems as swiftly as it morphs from tablet to fully-fledged laptop.  

The hybrid device was among a smorgasbord of tech shown off by Samsung at a flashy London press show, with a new Galaxy camera with changeable lenses and 4G/3G connectivity for on-the-go sharing and some rather swanky white specs worn by the Gadget Show's Jason Bradbury also demanding our attention.

But enough of Jason's eyewear - here's the rub on the Ativ Q.

Ativ Q - what you need to know

The dual OS feature means you'll be able to swap from Windows 8 to Android with ease, while Android apps will be able to be pinned onto the Windows start screen.

Of course, as well converting OS, it also converts form - shape-shifting between tablet and laptop in one swift motion.

From flat tablet mode lift the display at the back and you'll find a cheeky little keyboard slides out from beneath and the screen locks into place upright, turning it into a laptop.


Ativ Q Keyboard

(Credit: Samsung)

Then if you want to watch a movie on Netflix, flip the screen over via the nifty hinge and you'll find the device stands tall and strong while you collapse in fits of laughter over Anchorman or whatever. There's also a 'floating' mode you can go for if you're feeling adventurous, while a stylus pen is included for scribbling down notes or helping when giving a presentation at work.

Haswell battery boost as standard, naturally

The Ativ Q is also packing the latest Haswell Core i5 processor, which was unveiled for the first time earlier this month at Computex in Taipei. We already know devices with Haswell have longer battery life, but Samsung said people could expect around nine hours with the Ativ Q.

The hybrid device boasts a 13.3-inch screen which packs a 3,200x1,800 resolution for when you're watching those movies in stand mode. At just 13.9 millimetres thin it's great for use on the go, too, sliding into your rucksack and back out again when you sit down on the train - much to the chagrin of fellow commuters if you've forgotten your headphones (again).

But the thing most piquing our interest was the ability to run dual operating systems, with the Ativ Q boasting Android Jelly Bean as well as Win8. Much has been said of convertible devices being for both work and play, and the use of the dual OS takes that one step further.

Windows 8tiles

Boot up the laptop in Windows mode and blast through your jobs list with Office applications, then when the work is done switch over to Android to kick back for some serious play with apps courtesy of Google's Play Store.

"Addressing a common desire among PC users to be able to access Android apps on a Windows-based PC, the Ativ Q allows you to now experience both Windows 8 and Android Jellybean 4.2.2 on the same device," Samsung said. "Not only will you get access to Android apps via Google Play, but you will also be able to transfer files or share folders and files from Windows 8 to Android."

Dual operating systems: the future?

Samsung, however, isn't the first manufacturer to make the dual OS move. Earlier this month Asus announced a convertible laptop that could run both Android and Windows.

One analyst told the BBC such devices were the 'next logical step' and said he expected this to be an ongoing trend.

Chris Green, principal technology analyst at Davies Murphy Group, said: "It's a very cost-effective way for manufacturers to offer extra value to consumers at a time when it's very hard to differentiate benefits from one device to another."

Ativ - famously referred to as 'vita' backwards - is the name given to Samsung's Windows products such as laptops and tablets, and there were other tablets, ultrabooks and desktop PCs unveiled in London.

But the event, fronted by Bradbury in his funky specs and sharp suit jacket, had more than laptops and tablets to offer.

Social snapping goes sharp focus 

Samsung also showed off its Galaxy NX, a camera which blends high-quality photography with 3G/4G LTE technology, allowing aspiring David Baileys to upload and share their latest work while on the go or at home.

Watch this video demo of the Samsung Galaxy NX and the waterproof S4 Active smartphone

The new NX is perfect for those who love the immediacy of taking and sharing pics with their smartphone camera, but want to get serious about photography at the same time.

The company said the camera is "a new type of connected device which means you can share your experiences instantly in amazing colour and outstanding detail".

Simon Stanford, vice president of Samsung UK & Ireland's IT and mobile division, said: "We're excited to be leading the way in innovation with the launch of the Samsung Galaxy NX.

"The aim of this device is to combine the high image quality associated with the NX camera with the ease of use and speed of 4G capability with Android. Perfect for taking incredible images and sharing them quickly."

Those who are serious about photography will find plenty to sate their appetites.

It features the same sensor as the NX300 and the same electronic viewfinder as the NX20, while interchangeable lenses ensure you get the perfect shot. These include pancake lenses and ultra-wide fisheye - yes, you really will need the lingo to pull off the Galaxy NX.

Galaxy NX Lenses

(Credit: Samsung)

Samsung has tech to meet all requirements

All in all, the London event saw Samsung unveil plenty of products, which ran the gamut of tech from computing to cameras. The event showed the tech giant is a jack-of-all-trades - and from the quality of the gadgets on show in London you have to say it has mastered the lot.

Graeme Neill, deputy editor at Mobile Today, told the BBC Samsung "is really determined to be making a smartphone, tablet, camera and laptop for everybody, from those who want high-end devices to consumers on a budget".

What do you think of Samsung's dual operating system release? Comment below