The company plans to release these handsets in June this year, although the details on these are pretty sketchy right now. There is also no word on the pricing front but we expect it to be on the higher side since Karbonn is looking to target office professionals with these handsets.
This development follows the launch of Nokia’s Android-based Nokia X platform and reports of Microsoft asking HTC to put Windows Phone operating system as a secondary option on its Android handsets for a significantly reduced (or even zero) license fees.
Why dual-booting smartphones doesn’t make sense
Traditionally, dual-booting computing has primarily appealed to tech enthusiasts since it essentially allowed users to run multiple operating systems for various purposes. For instance, a computer might have multiple shared users who prefer different operating systems or a user might be interesting in testing out a new operating system without harming his existing configuration.
While this approach worked in computers, we feel dual-booting doesn’t make sense on mobile phones for a couple of reasons:
– Phones are more personal: Phones are usually more personal than computers, due to which there are no multiple users for any phone. When was the last time you shared your phone with others on a regular basis? (I am excluding parents here who are somewhat forced to share their phones with their kids). In contrast, a tablet might have multiple users wherein the dual-booting might make some sense.
– It’s not practical: Each operating system comes with its own merits and demerits and the promise that dual-boot devices brings is that you will have access to both operating systems on a single device. While this sounds good on paper and Karbonn will probably be using it as a unique selling point to attract customers but it’s not practical. Will you be restarting your phone to use both operating systems on a regular basis? We doubt it. What will mostly happen after some time is that the user will start liking one platform over another and he will stick with it rather than jumping between operating systems.
– Syncing App Data: Most of the prominent apps are now available across all the platforms, however there is always a feature parity among different versions of the same app, depending on the platform’s capabilities. For instance, the Gmail app on Android allows you to archive and reply emails directly from the notification bar but the same app on iOS doesn’t. This leads to an inconsistent app experience for users.
There is also the issue of syncing app data across platforms, since each version of the same app don’t essentially talk to each others. For instance, if you are using WhatsApp on both platforms, messages received on one platform will not be available on another platform and vice versa. This becomes more pronounced in mobile games. For instance, you might have reached a certain level on Angry Birds on Android but you will have to again restart from the first level on Windows Phone.
In our opinion, a dual booting smartphones sounds good on paper but it doesn’t make sense to regular users. It will probably appeal to a very niche audience of hardcore tech enthusiasts in the current form.