Can Android desktops disrupt the PC market?

Moderated by Larry Dignan | January 20, 2014 -- 07:00 GMT (23:00 PST)

Summary: At CES 2014, it was the year Android desktops began to gain momentum.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols




Adrian Kingsley-Hughes

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes

Best Argument: Yes


Audience Favored: Yes (65%)

The moderator has delivered a final verdict.

Opening Statements

Bye Windows, hi Android

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Of course Android-based PCs can replace Windows! Have you really looked at Windows 8.x's adoption numbers? Microsoft defenders like to spin them, but the bottom line is that neither consumers nor enterprises are buying it.

That leaves an opening for another desktop system. That system can be Android. It's already popular. It's already the dominant operating system on both tablets and smartphones And, unlike Windows 8.x's Metro interface, Android interface works just fine on PCs.

You don't have to believe me. Lenovo and HP believe users want Android on the desktop. You know, the world's number one and number two PC manufacturers. Two other companies you may have heard of, AMD and Intel, also see a future for Android on the PC.  Last, but not least, there's this little business named Google backing up Android.

Does Microsoft have any PC friends left? I don't think so. With Surface, Microsoft has annoyed the hell out of its partners

With Windows wounded and Android's already the top operating system on two of the big three personal computing platforms, why can't Android be number one not all three?

It can happen.

Android is no PC saviour

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes: Sales of desktop and notebook systems are plummeting as consumers choose to spend their money on smartphones and tablets, so PC OEMs have to come up with ways to make PCs sexy again. And one idea that some OEMs are trying is replacing Windows with ... Android.

Yes, Android. The same Android operating system that powers hundreds of millions of smartphones and tablets.

No one has explained the theory behind this to me, but I think it goes something like this. People aren't buying Windows-powered PC, but they are buying smartphones and tablets by the millions. Many of these devices are powered by Android, so the reason that people aren't buying PCs much be down to the fact that they aren't running Android. So, all you need to do to sell PCs is put Android on them.

Hmmm, while I'm all for innovation, I really don't think that this is going to amount to much, and it certainly won't disrupt the PC market.


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  • I agree

    Android could definitely be a great operating system on PC's, but there would have to be some interface changes first. The home screen would definitely be an interesting desktop experience, but the App Drawer would need to be redesigned so it's not full-screen, otherwise it will waste screen space on larger screens. There also would need to be window management for applications, so the user doesn't have to run their apps in fullscreen. Fix those two things in Android, and I'd say it's a pretty viable contender to Windows 8. ^^
    Reply 24 Votes I'm for Yes

      I bought a lenovo Ideatab last year and ugraded it to Win 8 Pro.

      However, since then I'm relegated to using it as a laptop at work with the keyboard dock, because it sucks as a mobile device and Metro apps are terrible.

      They are slow, not well thought out, they all follow different UI conventions, they take up quite a bit of diskspace, and when and if you can get them to load, there is always some element that fails (i.e sound, video, or they just crash).

      I installed Start8 and just boot right to desktop and use it like it was Win 7.

      Microsoft has failed miserably. If all people are going to do is make Win 8 behave and look like Win 7, besides the crappy mobile bolt-on, what's the point of Win 8 in the first place?

      I always believed that MS should have written a mobile OS from scratch, instead of dragging "New and Improved", 17-year-old, Windows NT 9 with a facelift to a Mobile party, and passing it off as something new.

      Then reality set in, I remembered that MS never wrote an OS from scratch in their existence, they always borrowed, rebranded, or outright stole software from others, before messing it up with their horrible code!
      Reply 28 Votes I'm Undecided
      • Windows 8

        Sounds like you need to use windows 8 first, then come back with some decent bs
        Reply 2 Votes I'm Undecided
    • ...for large screens

      I'm accustomed to running on large (30-inch 2560x1600) screens, and let me tell you from experience that being able to click in the background is far preferable both to the AppDrawer and to having to find some itty-bitty "start" button somewhere on the lower left. [And it's really nice to be able to customize the apps-menu... things that are generally prevalent in the Linux world.]
      Reply 35 Votes I'm Undecided
    • Android isn't a desktop OS.

      It's a cloud OS and the people that don't like Windows 8 say it's a phone or a tablet OS. Plus as an Android tablet owner I hate the app written for phone that force you to use portrait orientation over landscape.
      Reply 1 Vote I'm Undecided
  • Can Android desktops disrupt the PC market?

    No. Android is based on linux which has all kinds of problems. Its a security nightmare and it will not run a user's current set Microsoft Windows based applications. A lot of android apps are third rate and will crash. The PC market is established. Android is known for its random reboots which can be very frustrating for users. No one is asking for android on the desktop and that is one of many reasons why it will fail.
    Reply 50 Votes I'm for No
    • Linux has security problems? You haven't been paying attention!

      Are you for real? Linux has security problems? I mean, the UK just declared a Linux distribution the most secure system they can find, and you're putting this drivel out? You might want to actually go try a Linux system before you make idiotic statements like that. Oh, and by the way, Linux WILL run Microsoft Windows based applications, and do it very well.
      Reply 53 Votes I'm Undecided
      • Genuinely did you take the blue pill this morning ?

        That was just about the stupidest reply to a posting in about 12 months on ZDNet. Without any substance and zero clue. When you post replies remember 1) to do homework and engage brain before pressing submit 2) to think about your topic matter so you don't look an idiot in front of your peers.
        Richard Morrell
        Reply 20 Votes I'm Undecided
      • But not out-of-the-box. Linux is an extremely flexible and scalable ...

        ... operating system and with that flexibility and scalability comes complexity. It costs a great deal more to hire an experienced Linux Systems administrator then it does to hire an equally-competent Microsoft Certified Engineer.

        This is why desktop Linux has not made it into the hands of consumers. It requires too much "special knowledge" on the part of consumers - and, so far, Linux vendors have not been willing to "do what it takes" to make Linux suitable for consumer use.

        Sure with a good VM-player Linux will support Windows but consumers don't understand VM either - and "emulators" like Wine will always be a step-behind Microsoft in compatibility.
        M Wagner
        Reply 21 Votes I'm Undecided
        • Linux on the desktop

          I keep hearing about how difficult Linux on the desktop is to use. That was true in the early days of Corel Linux and the first versions of Red Hat. I have installed Linux Mint on the computers of several family members and friends who are unable to use Windows8. Once they get used to the idea of their word processor and web browser having a different name none have had a single issue. I get lots of praise for giving them a "computer" that can install software to do anything they want and the catalog of available programs is just a click away.
          Reply 31 Votes I'm Undecided