Gigabyte planning dual-boot Windows/Android tablets

Although Apple’s iPad 2 is by for the dominant player in the tablet market, there’s no mistaking that competition is heating up as a growing number of companies enter the fray. Although most consumer attention has focused on Android tablets from the likes of Samsung and Motorola—as well as RIM’s forthcoming PlayBook—Taiwanese motherbaord manufacturer Gigabyte is hoping to get into the game with a new twist: according to a company senior VP, the company is planning two new Android tablets this summer—and one of them will be able to dual boot into Windows.

Gigabyte S1010 Windows tablet

Gigabyte is already in the Windows tablet market with the S1080, an Intel Atom-powered tablet with a 10.1-inch 1,024 by 600 capacitive touchscreen display that runs Windows 7 Home Premium and packs 2 GB of RAM along with a 320 GB hard drive. However, the S1080 faces a few hurdles to adoption: first, Windows 7 might run a ton of software, but it isn’t particularly usable on a tablet. Second, the S1080 weighs nearly 2 pounds, making it very “big boned” as tablets go.

Gigabyte’s dual-boot tablet is tentatively scheduled to ship in time for the end-of-year holidays, and will be able to start up using either a version of Android (Gigabyte hasn’t decided which) or Windows 7, with the aim of giving users both the flexibility and casual Internet capabilities of Android, or access to a plethora of business-oriented software (like Microsoft Office) via Windows. The tablets will be based on Intel Atom processors, may not include USB ports—which would be bad if someone wanted to use a keyboard and mouse with Windows—and Gigabyte is aiming for price points under $400.

Gigabyte is also planning Android-only tablets for this summer, sporting 7- and 10.1-inch screen sizes running Android 2.2 and Android 3.0 “Honeycomb” operating systems, respectively. Gigabyte also says it is planning a Windows 8 tablet for the first quarter of 2012, potentially running an ARM-based processor.

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