Android: Number one with a bullet

Android: Number one with a bullet

Summary: Android is well on its way to being the most popular end-user operating system of all.


When Gartner dealt its tarot cards to read the future of end-user computing devices it saw the market growing by 4.2 percent. The best they can say of the Windows-dominated PC market is that it's flat-lined. So, who's winning in the overall end-user market? It's Android, and no one else is even close.

Android -- not Windows, not an Apple operating system -- beats all other end-user operating systems by a long shot.

Consider what Gartner said in 2013: Android devices out-shipped Windows devices by more than two-to-one.

It gets worse for Windows from there.

In 2014, Gartner predicts that Android will out-sale Windows by three-and-a-half to one. Come 2015, Gartner sees Android running ahead of Windows by 3.67-to-one. No wonder Microsoft seems to be turning to Android for its own smartphones, such as the recently announced Nokia X2.

This is what Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella had to say Thursday in the all-Microsoft hands memo: "At our core, Microsoft is the productivity and platform company for the mobile-first and cloud-first world." As ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley observed, when Nadella is talking platforms, he doesn't mean just Windows or even Windows first. "It means building software and services that run on the most important mobile operating systems."

The most important mobile operating system is Android. In fact, at its current growth rate, Android seems on its way to being the most popular end-user operating system of all.

You may not consider smartphones and tablets to be serious work platforms, but many of your colleagues do. In addition, while Gartner may not believe in the Chromebook, Stephanie Van Vactor, a research analyst at ABI Research said, "3.3 million Chromebooks sales is what we predict for year 2014." That's nothing to sneeze at.

In addition, IDC's Jay Chou, a senior research analyst in the Worldwide PC Trackers division, which sees a better future ahead in 2014 for PCs than Gartner, noted that: "One encouraging [PC sales] factor was a good intake of lower-end systems, including Chromebooks, which coincides with the recent slowing in tablet growth."

More telling still for the future of end-user computing is that Google is bringing Chrome OS and Android together. That's a powerful combination. 

Add this to AMD, Asus, Intel, HP, and Lenovo all planning on shipping Android PCs in 2014, and it looks very much like Android, not Windows, will soon be the most important end-user operating system of all.

Related stories:

Topics: Enterprise Software, Android, Google, Linux, Microsoft, Open Source, Windows

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  • Wow

    ok, if you say so.
    • He isn't alone.

      A lot of vendors also say so.
      • Say what?

        That smartphones replace desktops?

        (FYI, smartphones don't replace desktops.)
        • That is true now

          it may not remain true forever, however.

          Miniaturization is very real. Within about ten years, it should be possible to carry your computer around as a tiny core that can plug into laptop shells, tablet shells, or desktop shells.

          It isn't unreasonable to think that the descendant of today's cellphone will evolve into that device.
          • Exactly

            but we aren't there yet. I certainly couldn't do my job on a smartphone, not even a tablet. Heck doing it on a notebook is hard enough, if it isn't connected to my dual 24" monitor rig...

            I like the look of the NUC, it seems to be going in the right direction or the Asus Padphone, move that up a notch to run a phone OS on the move (Android or Windows Phone) and a full OS when plugged into the desktop (Linux or Windows) and enough power to carry out the work required - possibly varying processor power depending on power source - Atmon Z level power on battery, stepping up to a mid-range Core i mobile when running from the mains...

            But that is still a way aways. I certainly couldn't do it today with a smartphone. For me the smartphone is an auxilliary device that gets used in an emergency, when I'm not sitting in front of a decent sized computer.

            The closest I've gotten is my Windows tablet, which docks into dual-screen mode in the office, but is a neat tablet for note taking on the move.
          • Even Gartner is admitting that 66% market share of Android Linux...

            ... so who to heck is still claiming that Linux has only 1% market share. World is moving to mobiles and Linux. Only 17-18% of new devices with internet connection are using Windows. That's the evolution of IT some fools have not realized. They are still believing those pathetic pay-per-click Net Application figures.
          • 62% now, 66% in 2015...

            ... but think about 2018 when there will be estimated 2 billion Android Linux mobiles (smartphone, tablet) and hardly more than 250 million Windows PC and 100 million Windows mobiles.

            1:6 for Linux. How about that?
          • The same minaturization can put a 4" x 4" x 2" Core i5 system ...

            ... with 16GB of RAM ad a 512GB SSD on my desktop today. No amount of miniaturization will make Android a scalable preemptively multitasked multiuser operating system. It is not just the hardware. It is the OS itself and what you expect it to do.
            M Wagner
          • lol

            Its windows that isn't scalable. Linux is scalable from a micro router to amazon sized servers.
          • Android and chrome

            Are not linux. They're just built from it.

            This is painfully clear to any linux user first using one of these OS.

            Linux is scalable. Android and particularly chrome are intentionally limited not to be. It doesn't mean they can't be changed, but that means undoing the googlines that is the android everyone knows.

            The scalability point is totally valid. Whilst Windows is a bigger, more complex OS than android, it is already perfected for the desktop, and actually will run fine on 7-8 year old hardware. To offer the same, there would need to be a lot of fundamental android changes that will cause divisive fragmentation.
          • You do know the difference between a kernel and external utilities?

            Linux by Torvalds, is but a mere OS Kernel. That's it and that's all. No biggie. Actually pretty trivial.

            The 99% rest is open source contributions, that also work anywhere / everywhere. What would be the point of high-level source-code if it only ran on specific platforms? By definition, Open-Source is platform AGNOSTIC, it focuses on ALGORITHMS and their implementations.

            So Android IS USING THE LINUX KERNEL but Android isn't truly Open-Source since nobody can contribute to its direction but Google. Yeah, they'll publish some code here and there, but try to improve that code, so it makes it into the main branch... You do know that Google is a mere advertising company? That's where their fortune comes from. Ads and anything/everything related to marketing and the science+metrics behind it.

            Actually I think of 1984 when I realize Google knows way too much about me. They know all my passwords and credentials to financial institutions, see all my transactions online. They even scan my private emails for their own selfish benefit! Do No Evil as a mission statement eh?

            Why not check Cygwin? I recompile directly under Windows whatever open-source is available out there, even if it is targeted for Linux only. Of course everything runs natively under Windows. For those who don't know, Cygwin (open-source) is a mere DLL that encapsulate Linux and all (POSIX compliant) only for Windows! Wine however is a poor and retarded excuse of Windows under Linux.

            Should I want to boot anything that runs under x86/x64 CPU architecture, I simply use the Hyper-V (Hardware Virtualization hypervisor sitting between the hardware and OS) not some mere crap such Oracle VM or VMware. Actually VMWare Enterprise is comparable to Microsoft's Hyper-V in Windows 8+ Pro and above, also in Windows Server 2012R2 (same builds you know?), but VMware Enterprise costs an arm-and-a-leg and is LESS powerful than Hyper-V built-in Windows 8+ Pro.

            So I boot all of these guests OS directly within Windows 8+: Red Hat 7 Enterprise Linux, Solaris, Mint, Ubuntu, QNX, Android-x86 plus anything that can boot on any Intel PC, including OS X. lolol !!! In my 4.4 pound laptop smaller yet more powerful and higher resolution than anything Apple offers, the Dell XPS 15 touch / Precision M3800. Running Windows 8.1 Pro of course!

            Talk about a universal development platform; Windows to run all others underneath...

            Now here is GNU-Linux excerpt from the horse's mouth:
            What is GNU?

            GNU is a Unix-like operating system that is free software—it respects your freedom. You can install versions of GNU (more precisely, GNU/Linux systems) which are entirely free software.

            The GNU Project was launched in 1984 to develop the GNU system. The name “GNU” is a recursive acronym for “GNU's Not Unix!”.

            A Unix-like operating system is a software collection of applications, libraries, and developer tools, plus a program to allocate resources and talk to the hardware, known as a kernel.

            GNU is typically used with a kernel called Linux. This combination is the GNU/Linux operating system. GNU/Linux is used by millions, though many call it “Linux” by mistake.

            GNU's own kernel, The Hurd continues to be developed because it is an interesting technical project.

            What is Free Software?

            “Free software” is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of “free” as in “free speech”, not as in “free beer”.

            Free software is a matter of the users' freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it refers to four kinds of freedom, for the users of the software:
            ◾The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose (freedom 0).
            ◾The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
            ◾The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
            ◾The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

            How to pronounce GNU

            “GNU” is pronounced g'noo, as one syllable, like saying “grew” but replacing the r with n.

            Basically anything ever done with any x86/x64 OS platform I do directly under Windows. Either via simulation (Open-Source Cygwin) or hardware accelerated virtualization (Microsoft Hyper-V).

            PS: You did know all recent Linux kernels have more than 22,000 lines of Microsoft code? Precisely to interface correctly with and be managed under Windows supervision...

            Check it out! Instead of burying your head into the sand.

            It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive.
            ~ C. W Leadbeater

            All problems in computer science can be solved by another level of indirection. Except for the problem of too many layers of indirection.
            ~ David Wheeler

            Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far the Universe is winning.
            ~ Rick Cook

            This 'users are idiots and are confused by functionality' mentality is a disease. If you think your users are idiots, only idiots will use it.
            ~ Linus Torvalds (hint Apple)
          • WinTard: "Android isn't truly Open-Source

            since nobody can contribute to its direction but Google"

            What makes software open-source is the license used by the developer(s). The development model used to create the software is merely a matter of implementation. Some open source projects are community-based and others aren't.

            That said, as shown by Nokia (and Intel) unceremoniously dumping MeeGo, community-based open source projects are much less dependent on the whims of a single corporation than are corporate-based open source projects.

            I'd argue that Android, as found on OHA-manufactured devices, is not open source due to the bundling of proprietary Google services and apps as well as proprietary code added by the manufacturers and carriers. The AOSP, however, is truly open source and represents a large piece of clay that anyone can use to build something. Thus, Amazon Fire OS and CyanogenMod, as examples.
            Rabid Howler Monkey
          • A modern build

            Not only that - you have all of the features of a Modern OS with Linux builds & derivatives - which runs perfectly on anemic hardware.

            Try our overweight friend Windows on that. You have what, 30 years worth of bloat & bad design choking your system to death.
          • Any OS kernel is up/down scalable

            But speaking of vulnerabilities, Linux takes the cake.

            Since we are on Android, that too is truly Linux (the kernel).

            Excerpt from Electronic Engineering Times
            Android Malware: Alcatel-Lucent Diagnoses Plague
            Kindsight Labs said a key driver of infections in mobile space is the "Trojanized app." In the Windows/PC world, cybercriminals have to create thousands of variants to bypass antivirus software, but the sophistication of most Android malware remains rather primitive. Yet mobile infections seem far easier to spread, according to the report. "Often, we will discover a third-party app store distributing a single malware type disguised as hundreds of different wallpaper apps." Simply increasing the number of apps the attacker can get out there "increases the probability of the app being downloaded and installed."

            Despite its crudeness, the damage from Android malware can be serious. The report gave examples of a "Banking Trojan" going after credentials, "SMS Trojans" that can send messages to premium numbers that "can add up to large bills," and "Fake Security" apps using direct extortion to make money.

            Nice example of an infected Angry Birds Trojan turning your phone into a Spy Phone (by Alcatel / Lucent)

            So much for the inherent 'superiority' of Linux (not even Unix but a free reverse-engineered clone). That's why most businesses and people like it. It's free! Me on the other hand appreciate Open-Source, because I not only read it, but continually learn from it, and use it daily. Under Windows no less. Cygwin / gcc / EMACS anyone?

            Want more on architecture? Here's the incompatible mess, all graphed out for posterity:

            If you're going to be a zealot, at least get your facts right.
            {Blogging 101}

            That you do not understand is a virtue; not to realize that you do not understand is a defect.
            ~ Lao Tzu

            On a Linux cruise, I asked Torvalds about his "Software is like sex. It's better when it's free" quote, and he told me the first time he said it, a voice from the back of the room piped up to say "How do you know?" Heh.
            ~ Create Web Forms on June 6 2008 01:06 AM
          • True you can be vulnerable

            You can have the most secure facility ever. How secure you make it is in your own hands.

            If I hand you Ft. Knox - and leave the management to you... and you:

            - Fire all the guards
            - Turn off the surveillance
            - Open all the gates
            - Unlock all the doors
            - Leave it unattended

            How secure is one of the most secure facilities in the world?

            Linux IS one of the most secure systems there is - but it's all in the hands of the user. That's the beauty of it.

            If you care and you know what you're doing - it's bulletproof.

            If you THINK you know what you're doing - heh - you've got a glorified Windows install there.

            Windows installs on the other hand, are mystery meat painted over with a metallic coat. "Sure it's secure!"

            Meanwhile, try connecting your Windows install to a cable connection with no firewall or antivirus. ;)

            What could go wrong?!

            PSST: You can do that with Linux. And guess what happens? Here's a hint: What OS does your firewall run? Bingo. That's what happens.

            Another gotchya - the filtering capability of Linux that your firewall uses? Yeah, built into the OS.


            How many Windows based firewalls are there out there? Since it's so great, and all.
          • The fact that flies over windows users heads.

            Where MS nickels and dimes you for everything - you can have Linux that does everything MS doesn't.

            From Terminal Services, to Active Directory Servers, to Database Servers - all at no cost other than administrative.

            End users ( see 2 posts up ) fail to realize the point.

            Say, end user - do you run Linux? How many devices that you own run Linux? More than you think, I'm guessing. Even your internet connections - Linux powering that thing all the way down the backbone.
        • yes, really

          There is also school of thought that smart-phone tech will power the data centres of the future as it is the most power efficient, processor efficient tech available.
          • Really?

            Then why are IBM, Oracle, HP not using Android for their super computers?
            Maybe they should only count Samsung as Android and no others as MS & Apple only have one supply not 4 or 5 like Android eg HTC, LG, Sony. These companies add to Android, so remove them from the states then compare. Maybe a better solution would be to compare Chromebook sales to Window sales of laptops and then see the results as chromebooks are not selling.
          • In some form they do.

            Some recent supercomputers are in fact using Linux just like Android.
          • Almost all supercomputers run Linux

            This has been the case for a long time now. Linux source is freely available and can be modified to run on supercomputers. Windows isn't designed to run on supercomputers. ZDNet had a supercomputer article a few weeks back. Of the top 500 supercomputers, 95% run Linux. Most of the rest run some version of Unix.