Six reasons why Android PCs can be disruptive

Summary:It's easy to dismiss Android PCs as a flyer made by computer makers. However, there's enough behind Android PCs to cause at least some Windows consternation.

When the top two PC makers---Lenovo and Hewlett Packard---start dabbling with all-in-one systems powered by Android perhaps it's time to start listening.

To kick off CES, Lenovo launched an Android all-in-one designed for living room usage. HP followed up with an Android all-in-one designed for businesses. The case for both systems was that mobile is driving desktop computing more, Android is familiar and has a thriving app ecosystem and both PC makers can add more value than they can with a Chromebook.

The instant reaction from ZDNet readers to the Android PC efforts varied. Android fans instantly went to the demise of Windows meme.

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.

Others weren't so sure.

The biggest problem with Android... It is not going to be business friendly much longer if (Google) keeps pushing Google+ on everyone. Many institutions block social networking sites and G+ is not an exception.

For me Windows, Ubuntu, or OS X would be more welcomed than Android right now!

In any case, Android PCs are worth watching and it would be foolish to dismiss them. Here's why:

Price. Lenovo's N308 Android all-in-one PC starts at $450. That's a good price for a 19.5-inch PC that will basically sit near a living room and have kids play apps on it. There's also enough storage and a Webcam that'll be handy. And if you really needed Windows you could hook your laptop up to the monitor. HP's enterprise Android effort starts at $399.

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Enterprise use cases. HP sees its Android all-in-one PC filling a need for inexpensive kiosks in hotels and the travel industry. HP has also added code that allows its Slate Pro AiO to handle all apps. As a bonus, HP has added Box storage, Citrix Receiver and Office viewers. Enterprises and small businesses will at least give HP a look with its Android effort.

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Android is everywhere. You can make an argument that Android really is the next Windows. It's an OS that's everywhere even if it has a few rough edges. The difference is that Android is coming to computing from a mobile first perspective. Microsoft Windows is also an OS that's everywhere due to PC domination and has a few rough edges. As Android winds up in cars, robots, tablets, phones and PCs, it'll increasingly show up in business.

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Mobile is driving computing. An Android desktop may have seemed silly a year or two ago. Today, mobility is informing desktop computing. In fact, desktop computing is taking cues from mobile devices. Android, which is a mobile first operating system, has a leg up in many respects.

Security is less of an issue. HP noted that the latest Android added a bevy of security features that will matter to the enterprise. Hooks into device management also won't hurt.

PC makers want Android devices. PC makers have been busy outlining dual boot systems with Android and Windows as well as adding value to the open source OS. PC makers want a hedge against Windows and Microsoft, which increasingly competes with its partners. Meanwhile, PC makers can better customize Android and will gravitate to that Google OS over Chrome OS.

Topics: Mobility, Android, CES, Hardware, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, PCs

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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