Could an Android desktop replace your Windows PC?

Could an Android desktop replace your Windows PC?

Summary: HP and Lenovo are betting that Android PCs can convert both office and home Windows PC users to Android.

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Android as a PC operating system isn't a new idea. Samsung announced a dual-boot Windows 8.x/Android convertible tablet, the Ativ Q, in June 2013. There are also rumors that Intel and its partners will be announcing "PC Plus" devices that will run Android apps on top of Windows 8.1, ala Bluestacks, at CES. HP and Lenovo have a more radical idea: Replace Windows entirely with Android on the desktop.

HP Android All-in-One
HP would like you to consider one of its Android-powered desktops, all-in-one, or laptops instead of Windows for your next business PC.

Once a Microsoft mainstay, HP announced a new series of Android 4.3-powered enterprise PCs at CES. These Android PCs are coming in a wide variety of formats.

  • ProOne 400 All-in-One (AiO): This all-in-one PC is a 19.5-inch PC that starts at $749. The device, available Feb. 3, is tailored for video and audio conferencing and runs that latest Intel Core processors. A 21.5-inch version will be available March 31 for $799.

  • HP 205 AiO. Another all-in-one that runs on AMD processors and starts at $449. The display is 18.5 inches.

  • HP 200 MicroTower uses Intel Pentium or Celeron Processors, Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 and has a design with easy port access starting at $349.

  • HP Pro x2 410 is a commercial notebook with a detachable screen so it can be used as a laptop or tablet for $899. The screen is 11.6 inches and there's a full-size keyboard.

  • The HP 350 G1 is a business notebook that'll run on a variety of Intel processors.

Get the picture? This isn't just a single PC or a line of PCs, it's a full collection of business PCs. HP is in dead earnest: The company sees Android as a mainstream desktop operating system.

To deal with the Windows legacy software problem, HP proposes that workers can use Citrix Receiver for Windows application support. Receiver is a remote desktop program that's long been used to deliver Linux, Unix, and Windows apps to pretty much any mobile or desktop operating system.

Lenovo is taking a different slant. The number one computer company in the world's Lenovo N308 is an AiO desktop for home users. It's powered by a Nivdia Tegra Quad processor, uses Android 4.2, has a 500 GB of storage, a Webcam, keyboard, mouse, an integrated battery with 3 hours of life, and a 19.5" display. Curiously, you can lay it down flat to use it as an enormous tablet.

Unlike HP, which the enterprise clearly in its sights, Lenovo's N308 is targeting users who already love Android for browsing, games, and entertainment.

This comes on top of both Lenovo and HP investing in Chromebooks. So why not more Chromebooks? After all, Chromebooks are selling well and we already know that Toshiba is throwing its hat into the Chromebook ring at CES. I suspect that HP and Lenovo are betting that users will feel more secure with a somewhat more conventional desktop operating system model than the Linux and cloud-based Chrome OS.

The Linux desktop hasn't really challenged Windows since Microsoft used XP to kill off the Linux netbooks in 2009. Now, thanks to Google and its twin punches of Android and Chromebooks, the Linux desktop may yet give Windows a run for its money.

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Topics: Hardware, Android, Enterprise Software, Hewlett-Packard, Laptops, Lenovo, Linux, PCs

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109 comments
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  • Ah yes the Future

    where LESS is supposed to be more.
    calfee20
    • It will happen. Windows is on borrowed time.

      Android is where the developer action is.

      On a technical level, most computing tasks can be done on Android OS.

      But don't forget, Android is starting to upscale into larger, more powerful devices, with big screens keyboards and mice.

      Folks, the days of Windows as the dominant OS are gone. Windows is now a relic from a bygone era. Windows usage is declining. People are transitioning to more modern platforms and devices.
      Vbitrate
      • So why didn't JAVA do it in the past 18 years?

        Java was able to run desktop apps since day one. It has had all that developer support for the entire time and still could not take PC over. Now Android could do better than Java?? Yeah, right.
        LBiege
        • Microsoft killed Java. Now Java kills Microsoft

          If you know computer history, you'd know that Microsoft made changes to Java, basically to sabotage it so it wouldn't run the same on every device.

          So it's a bit ironic that Android, which is running a derivative of Java (Dalvik), is going to take Windows down.

          For users, it's a good thing that the old Microsoft monopoly is finally being smashed, and new machines (like the ones listed in this story) are rising up to take its place.
          Vbitrate
          • No they did not. What they had was the most compliant and best

            performing implementation of java. Or are you counting "much faster" as not the same? Everything they added at the behest of their customers was by default off so as not to make it so you could "accidentally" build something that wasn't 100% java.
            Johnny Vegas
          • Reading old MS press releases?

            Those claims look a lot like the ones the court threw out when Sun sued MS over this issue. That's why MS got out of the Java business.
            John L. Ries
          • Enough dude.

            Enough. M$ will give you their $$$$ now.
            amitzorba
          • Microsoft killed Java. Now Java kills Microsoft

            Are you referring to Javascript?!
            iamcjbon
          • No, not Javascript

            He's referring to "Microsoft Java Virtual Machine". Microsoft attempted to "embrace, extend, extinguish" Java beginning with IE 3 in 1996. Sun sued, and after a number of years the courts finally stuck a fork in it. Microsoft paid Sun $20M in 2001 under a settlement deal to gracefully wind it down and it was discontinued in 2003. All of the orgs that had implemented Microsoft Java then had to migrate away from it. Microsoft continued to offer support until 2007.
            symbolset
          • What will happen to Windows-luddites?

            Now imagine your typical Windows luddite, trying to get something done on their old-fashioned desktop computer, when Windows does what it always does: it fails. If our luddite has technical knowledge, he may be faced with setting aside his work or research or whatever, and spending the next couple of hours repairing or reinstalling Windows. If our luddite is a nontechnical consumer, he will have to stop and wait for someone to come and help – or, possibly, spending money at the local computer shop having Windows fixed again.

            But wait! Our luddite suddenly remembers that there is another computer built into the monitor. He unplugs the mini-tower and boots into Android. He's back on the Internet and he has a working computer again. The day is saved! After a few days, he begins to realize that he doesn't need the Windows hassle, and stuffs the mini-tower up into the attic, never to be seen again. Our newly minted non-luddite is now a happy Linux desktop user. He doesn't ever have to worry about viruses, spyware, lost data, or being regularly gouged for money by Microsoft.

            This, my friends, is the Network Computing vision of the mid 1990's. Thanks to mobile data, ubiquitous Internet connectivity, and excellent Linux client operating systems like Android, it is rapidly becoming a reality. Windows has no place in the post-PC era, and Android desktops are accelerating the pace of adoption.
            Napoleon XIV
          • Apparently you've nenver heard of Android malware

            Beyond just malware, how does Android work as an enterprise operating system? No central management, no managed account structure, no consistent group policies.

            Keep dreaming.
            SalSte
          • Android Is Linux

            You're completely forgetting that at it's core Android is Linux so it can authenticate with Active Directory if need be or use any Enterprise Linux functions, they just have to be added in or if you want to make it even easier all you have to do is setup a full-blown Linux installation in a chroot environment. I have a small ARM based dev PC (Odroid-U2) that was running Android and I had Arch Linux setup in a chroot that would run an X server along with KDE, to access the desktop all I had to do was use a VNC client to access it and then I had Linux and Android running simultaneously.
            Brandon Golway
          • "Rapidly"?

            That prognostication was 24 years ago, and the desktop Linux has yet to scratch out a double-percentage market penetration.

            Also, I'm not sure what Windows OS you've used in the past 24 years, but I assure you that they're very stable now.

            You seem to have been living in some sort of a sensory-deprivation chamber for the past two decades.
            ribzilla
        • Very little effort was made, to make java work on the desktop

          Sun and now Oracle is all about the server side. This meant that for at least 10 of those 18 years desktop java apps took a very long time to start. They also tried to look like native apps but really didn't. By the time java was technically ready for the desktop Javascript had taken over the intended role of Java in the browser, meaning that many people don't even have java installed on clientside.

          Unlike the situation of today Java was introduced when people was generally satisfied with windows.

          As for developer support, that support have mostly been for serverside things. However with Android java developers now have a working clientside platform that really wasn't available back in the early java days.

          So i would say Android on top of Windows 8 stands a fair chanse of success.
          uno9
      • Meanwhile the wife needs word and excel and the kids need

        word and powerpoint and we all need printers and cameras and mp3 players and gobs of other stuff so no, an android desktop is a non starter to replace anything. And why would anyone even entertain the thought, W8 laptops are just as cheap now, more secure, and less maintenance.
        Johnny Vegas
        • W8 laptops are just as cheap now... you just said it...

          ... thsy have W8 pig faced interface, unlike the nice clean android desktop UI shown above...
          btone-c5d11
          • Clean interface? Android?

            Just wait until the OEMs get their hands on it and skin it to death like they have in the mobile sphere.
            SalSte
          • Clean?

            Seriously? Android is the gloppiest POS I've ever seen.
            ribzilla
        • Office?

          Making a document is pretty much a solved problem. Android even comes with Quickoffice now so you can do a letter, a spreadsheet or a slideshow. It's not that big a deal to do these things any more. It's not 1992.
          symbolset
          • And when you need a higher level office function?

            Pivot tables, real Word formatting, you know: all the things the stripped down versions cut out...
            SalSte