The EE Times reported earlier this week that the Dell E4200 and E4300 laptops are running both Linux and Windows on the same machine. Why both you ask? The Linux OS provides a quick boot for checking email and other "light" computing duties while the Windows side allows "heavier duty" computing like running Microsoft Office applications. It runs with two chips, one from ARM and one from Intel. The ARM chip, provides instant on booting and is much more power efficient, while the Intel chip provides the juice to run apps that require more computing power.
It's Two, Two, Two Computers in One
This is an interesting approach bringing the Smart Phone/Netbook idea to a larger laptop, but the dual boot, dual use idea has been tried before. When Samsung came out with one of the first UMPCs (later to be known as Net Books) back in 2006, it tried a dual boot environment. You could boot into Windows for your computing tasks and AVS Now, a multimedia front-end for playing music, viewing movies and viewing photos. I thought it was odd at the time, I will admit, as though Samsung couldn't decide if it wanted the Q1 to be a business or consumer device.
From a practical perspective, this implementation as described in the EE Times article would provide a way for users to perform tasks they tend to do on the road such as retrieve email without waiting for the endless Windows boot sequence, but when you think about it, most business travelers are going to have a smart phone in their pockets for this task anyway. Why should I take out my laptop at all if I can whip out my phone and check my email? It's just easier.
I Wish The Real World Would Stop Hassling Me
My first thought was that once users get a taste of Linux, why would they ever boot into Windows? This is especially true when you consider that more and more computing is moving to the cloud (even Microsoft's tools). As we move forward and more tasks get performed in the browser, it will become less necessary to boot into Windows. In fact, the OS wouldn't really matter so long as it included a browser. But in the real world, most business users are still working with the desktop version of Microsoft Office as their primary business software.
It's hard to say if this is just a gimmick or if it comes to pass, if this is an approach that could appeal to business users giving them the best of both worlds on a large screen. It will take a certain level of technical aptitude, I'm guessing to understand the two environments (depending on how it's implemented), but for a certain class of business user, this could be useful. I just don't see it having wide market appeal.