Android desktops arrive as Lenovo eyes your living room

Android desktops arrive as Lenovo eyes your living room

Summary: Monday Morning Opener: As CES 2014 kicks off Lenovo launches an Android all-in-one. Android desktops plus Chromebooks could give Microsoft's Windows 8 franchise a headache.

TOPICS: Hardware, Lenovo, CES, PCs

Lenovo on Sunday rolled out an Android all-in-one home computer designed to be a living room multimedia PC. Should Android-powered PCs do well it would further disrupt the PC market and splinter the operating system selection a bit more.

The company's first Android home computer, the Lenovo N308, has a price tag that may spur some interest. The N308 starts at $450 and has a 19.5 inch 1600x900 touchscreen desktop.

According to Lenovo, the general idea is to put the PC at the center of folks who already use Android for browsing, apps and entertainment on their smaller screen devices. The N308 runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and is powered by a Nvidia Tegra processor.

The N308 has up to 500 GB of storage, a Webcam, keyboard, mouse and integrated battery with 3 hours of life. The N308 can stand or lay flat should you want to use it as a big tablet.

Add it up and Lenovo's N308 is an inexpensive spin on its larger tabletop PC, the Horizon 2, which is 27-inches and runs Windows 8 and the PC maker's custom interface. Horizon 2, an interesting living room addition that starts at $1,499, is basically a big tabletop tablet, that's positioned more upmarket than the Android all-in-one PC.

The N308 was outlined as part of Lenovo's larger play for the digital home. Lenovo also announced a personal cloud storage unit dubbed Beacon starting at $199 to share content and media in a home as well as the A740 all-in-one desktop starting at $1,499.

lenovo all in one android


What's interesting is that PC makers are pushing toward Android after seeing Chromebooks sell well. Why? Chromebooks remain the domain of Google. With Android PCs, hardware manufacturers can customize more, add security features and preserve the application ecosystem. Google has all the control with the Chrome OS. 

Rumor has it that Google has been working with various PC vendors to launch Android product lines.

For Windows 8, Android PCs and laptops could be a royal pain. Sure, Android PCs won't have Microsoft Office, but there are plenty of editing and viewing apps. Games on Android are plentiful and you could do worse things than buy a PC for $450.

In other words, should these early Android PC makers get any traction product roadmaps will expand. If Google can give Microsoft headaches with Chrome OS PCs just imagine what it could do with Android and Chrome OS hardware. Google's game is clear: Upend Microsoft's operating system domination.

For PC buyers, acquiring and Android computer may not be that much of a stretch. Android will be more familiar to customers than Chrome OS in many cases. And if all else fails, someone could use Lenovo's all in one as pricey dumb monitor attached to a laptop.

Since we're in the post-PC era, hardware manufacturers are going to try a little bit of everything to sell devices and preserve some profit margin. Android seems like a good experimental OS for PC makers. There's not a lot to lose and potential gains ahead. Rest assured other PC vendors will hop on the Android bandwagon.

ZDNet's Monday Morning Opener is our opening salvo for the week in tech. As a global site, this editorial publishes on Monday at 8am AEST in Sydney, Australia, which is 6pm Eastern Time on Sunday in the US. It is written by a member of ZDNet's global editorial board, which is comprised of our lead editors across Asia, Australia, Europe, and the United States.

ZDNet's Monday Morning Opener

Topics: Hardware, Lenovo, CES, PCs

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  • You bet Microsoft had better.............

    Be Worried, just the tip of the iceberg.

    Once ex Windows 8/8.1 bites as more and more opt out as we 115 users have the tusanami away from Microsoft will build.
    • Moce away

      What OS do you use for your desktop now?
      • @PhilM.. We currently use......

        Windows 7 PRO and Linux Mate 16 64bit and Google Chrome Docs.
        Each have their place and users who have found it easy to swap systems and O/S's.

        A NOTE we have tried Windows 8/8.1, this has been totally rejected by our users, who have refused to used Win8 systems they remain idle and rejected.
      • PhilM, I use

        Windows 7 Ultimate x64 and will never touch Windoze 8/8.1
        digital riverrat
        • My ten pence worth

          I'm using OpenSuse with an XP VM for just when I really, really, really have to use a Windows O/S.
    • So 115 people out of millions of sales of Windows 8 so far

      yup, MS is really worried at the moment
      • Long Term

        MS should be worried about erosion of the consumer desktops and laptops to Android or ChromeOS. This could put pressure on companies to adopt either for at least some users. Thus MS could be forced to make a bet on Windows or on their Applications; porting them to work on other OSes. If I were MS I would looking to port applications to other OSes because Windows is facing pricing pressure and market share pressure.
        • My next dualboot machine...

          ... and of course with another Linux-distribution: my fav Linux Mint.
      • Millions have already opted out...

        Millions more will follow.

        Microsoft will have to adapt... or die.
        • One billion Android mobiles sold last year...

 why not in PC too. After all hundreds of millions of people have realized that they don't need Microsoft no more.

          And think about - you can install another Linux distribution on it.
          • FUD

            I recall all the waily waily shrills coming out when there was a thought that Linux on the desktop was going to be a major consumer hit. 'Too much to learn', 'users won't be able to use a different OS' etc.

            It's coming home to roost you people...
        • Exactly!

          PC sales are 35% YOY lower than last year. I think that just might concern the lackadaisical idiots in Redmond. I think Microsoft will end up right where they started as just another software company serving Apple, Google and others. They let their lead vanish and slip like sand through their fingers. The new CEO will find he has an insurmountable task as the damage and toll escalates against them. Ballmer is getting out just as he has put into place the death blow for the company. Or at the very least diminished to non-relevance in 3rd or 4th place.

          People who want simple machines will buy iPads, tablets and smart phones or simple Android PC's. Users who are more productive will buy Macs. A few diehards and business will buy PC's. I never thought of Windows as a consumer or consumer-friendly machine, just a kludgy cruel trick on the average Joe & Jane looking for simplicity and getting needless complexity.
      • So 115 people out of millions of sales of Windows 8 so far

        The only reason Microsoft can even selll their Klunk junk WindoZe Sesame Street 8 OS is because they force it onto the OEM's hardware which forces their crappy OS no one wants onto the poor Consumers.

        Those days are over now Mr. Redmond paid Shill William Farrell. Time to find a new job you fool.

        Welcome to Linux wiping out MicroKlunk's ms DOS WindoZe virus trap crap garbage OS for good.
        Just like Linux Android has wiped out Mafiasoft in the mobile market it will bring that same power of choice to the Desktop and you can watch the evil Redmond mobsters go down the drain really fast!

        Thank God for Linux!

        Go tux go!
      • Top Dog

        I remember well when Sears was America's #1 retailer, then K-Mart. Now they're barely memories as we drive by on the way to Wal-Mart and Lowes.

        Remember when IBM was the PC maker? When Word Perfect was the word processing program?

        They should worry. Yes, I like Windows on my desktop and laptop but Android is wonderful on the tablet.
      • A lesson in being complacent too long

        @William - Your attitude is reminiscent of Aesop's "Tortoise & the Hare." So, Microsoft just shouldn't be worried and continue on it's blithefully ignorant way? Look where that attitude got them in the phone and tablet markets. Something they could have owned if leadership hadn't been spending so much time throwing chairs or jumping up and down like a monkey boy.
    • $60

      You can buy a dual core android media box. Plug in a mouse and keyboard along with your favorite HDMI monitor and you have a PC.
      • Android PC ...

        I'm not a "fan" of Microsoft, and I do love Android phones and tablets. One issue with Android is the uniformity of a the user interface as it gets morphed by different hardware manufacturers. For IT shops, this is an issue. companies want a standardize user experience to simplify training and support. Android doesn't have that yet. Additionally, what you are forgetting is high end PC software like CAD, Engineering, GIS, Animation, Graphic Design. Linux has been around for a while now, and while many of the software companies that make the specialty software have created Linux versions, not all have. Big business has to have buy in on a migration of there software to an Android OS. If they don't, Microsoft will be here to stay in the business world. CAD, Engineering, GIS software is not the same as a Word or Excel document.
        • Move with the changes

          Soviet-style central planning by IT is over. You can find tons of articles here about the trend being call "consumerization of IT." What needs to happen is for IT organizations to get on board as early adopters and get up to speed themselves. Then they must suppress their own tendency to try to turn their own jobs into something a minimum wage worker could do by forcing a monoculture of identical devices running identical software images.

          Those days are gone. No more smoking on the loading dock ducking users while texting the G/F on the company CrackBerry.
  • You bet Microsoft had better.............

    Be Worried, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

    Once Windows 8/8.1 bites as more and more opt out as we 115 users have, the tusanami away from Microsoft will build.
  • Android desktops arrive as Lenovo eyes your living room

    No thanks. An OS with second rate applications and constantly reboots on its own. I just can't see android being a viable option on the desktop. The Microsoft Windows ecosystem is already in place and is compatible with the current apps. It would be best to stay with that.