Intel's Big Push Into Dual-Boot Territory

Intel's Big Push Into Dual-Boot Territory

Couldn't make it to the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show? Never fear: The Fool is there to check out the tech and report back on who's there and what's new. With thousands of products in more than 15 categories, the next big thing is surely making its debut at the CES in Las Vegas.

One of Intel's big announcements at CES was dual-boot capability, with smooth switching between Windows and Android. Will OEMs and, ultimately, consumers take the plunge?

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A full transcript follows the video.

Eric Bleeker: Hey, Fools. I'm joined here with Evan Niu, our technology bureau chief, and we're in the Intel exhibit -- it's hard to miss! We're at CES, and it's right at the front of it.

Evan Niu: It's pretty big.

Eric: One thing about Intel is they've been trying to obviously catch up and spur kind of a PC refresh cycle. One of their big guns at the show is a computer which boots to both Windows and Android. Tell me why this might be important for investors.

Evan: I was just playing with their demo unit here. It dual-boots -- you might remember that Samsung had a similar device previously, that had Windows plus Android, but it was much more of a dual boot; you had to restart your computer.

The difference this time is that they're both running at the same time, using some type of virtualization on Intel's hardware platform so you can switch. You push a button and it switches back and forth pretty easily. It seems like kind of a nice value proposition.

The one I was playing with is made by Asus. They're planning on launching this, end of second quarter. It might be upwards of $600, which is a little bit more expensive. Obviously, the most direct competitor is the iPad, so it's going to be more expensive, but they're hoping this dual-boot proposition can really drive it home for consumers.

Eric: Definitely. That might be kind of a sweet spot. You're above tablets, but you're giving the PC functionality. Maybe consumers come back to that.

I saw one of our analysts calling this kind of a home-field advantage, because you can dual-boot to a real Windows machine and Android -- Intel can -- but ARM chips can't do it, unless you want to do Windows RT, but ...

Evan: No one likes RT!

Eric: Windows RT isn't selling. In your estimate, could this be something that gains traction in the next year?

Evan: I think it has the potential, but I think you have to also educate the consumer on why they really want this. Like most convertibles, there's all these compromises. The one I was playing with is, physically, just a very big tablet. If you want to use it as a tablet, it's just very large. It's a little unwieldy, so that's kind of a hard sell in some ways.

I'm sure Microsoft hates this idea, because they don't want anyone else on their computers. I was reading earlier that they were pressuring OEMs to not do these types of devices, but at the same time if the OEMs really aggressively want to do it, they're going to do it.

Eric: Yeah. Maybe at the end of the day you need a little pragmatism on Microsoft's part. From Intel's part it's kind of "show me the money," because they've had so many ideas like this, to continue spurring demand of more expensive form factors than tablets, and it hasn't really worked. But this is a novel twist on it, so we'll see if this picks up traction in 2014.

That's all from this video. For all your news on CES, check back to Fool on!

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Eric Bleeker, CFA, and Evan Niu, CFA, have no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Intel and owns shares of Intel and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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