Microsoft's bold, mobile-centric vision for Windows 8 hasn't exactly been universally embraced. But now we might be getting a whiff of the kind of future the company was planning for. Enter the Samsung Ativ Q, a convertible x86 tablet with a thin build and an extremely high-resolution screen. Is this the future, or just another car that flies and floats?
There's still a lot we don't know, but the Ativ Q shows the promise of being the most intriguing Windows 8 device since the Surface Pro. The Ativ Q can be used as a tablet, but its attached keyboard also gives it built-in productivity. As you can see in the top image above, the convertible can be folded several different ways for different uses.
The Ativ Q has a huge 13.3-inch touchscreen, with some out-of-this-world resolution: 3200 x 1800, or 275 pixels per inch (PPI). Even with its on-board keyboard, it only measures 13.9 mm thick, just a hair thicker than the Surface Pro without its keyboard cover.
The Q packs a Haswell Intel Core i5 processor, which Samsung says allows "up to nine hours" battery life. We're guessing that estimate is based on standard web browsing (which would put it in the same ballpark as the new Haswell-based 11-inch MacBook Air).
The Ativ Q is compatible with Samsung's S Pen stylus, for help with those projects that require a bit more precision. Unlike Surface, the S Pen docks within the tablet itself, similar to Samsung's Galaxy Note series of phablets and tablets.
The biggest question mark is price. Samsung hasn't said anything on that front, but we don't expect it to come cheap. Intel chip, solid state drive, extremely high-res screen, built-in keyboard ... those ingredients should add up to at least a US$1,000 price tag.
Windows ... and Android?But wait, we haven't even mentioned what might be the Ativ Q's killer feature. It runs both Windows 8 and Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. It lets you run Android apps from Google Play, and even transfer files back and forth between Windows and Android.
This attacks what might be Windows 8's weakest point: developer support for new touch-centric apps. Suddenly a bevy of mobile apps that aren't yet stocked in the Windows Store are available at your fingertips.
Windows 8's redemption?For a while now, it's been easy to sneer at Microsoft's changes in Windows 8. The leader was leading, but many customers weren't following (or were so very grudgingly). With both Windows and Android in tow, the Ativ Q might live up on that promise of merging the best of tablets and PCs in one device. It's enough to make us wonder if those seeds Microsoft planted could end up bearing some sweet fruit after all ... with a little help from Samsung.