Is Android the new Windows?

Moderated by Jason Hiner | December 3, 2012 -- 07:00 GMT (23:00 PST)

Summary: Google's operating system is installed on almost three quarters of all mobile devices sold, and these devices are now outselling PCs. But is market dominance where the similarities end?

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes




Christopher Dawson

Christopher Dawson

Best Argument: No


Audience Favored: No (54%)

Closing Statements

Android IS the new Windows

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes

While the differences between Android and Windows are huge, there's no doubt that in terms of importance the reign of the Windows platform is lessening -- I hesitate to use the word waning just yet -- and instead mobile platforms such as Android and iOS have seen themselves thrust into the spotlight.

As we transition from the era of the PC into the post-PC era, Google's Android platform has, through a combination of luck and hard work, found itself the dominant operating system on mobile devices, and as such is in a great position to control the direction that smartphones and tablets take over the coming years.

This is not to say that there aren't challenges, the largest of which is getting upgrades to existing users, but I have no doubt that Google is working hard behind the scenes with handset makers and carriers to solve this.

In terms of sales and a grip on the future direction of the mobile market, Android IS the new Windows.

Android is NOT the new Windows

Christopher Dawson

Android is not the new Windows. Not in terms of enterprise ubiquity, glacial development speeds, or code bloat, and certainly not in terms of monopoly. Although it can claim dominance in the smartphone market, it has a long way to go to penetrate the enterprise.

Still, it isn't a stretch to see Android dominating in the enterprise as tablets and other mobile devices, along with greater acceptance of BYOD, become more commonplace. However, to become a truly ubiquitous computing platform, Android needs to have the cache of Apple, the enterprise tools of Windows, and outstanding brand and market differentiation.

Windows became THE platform of the PC era because of good timing, a solid ecosystem, good marketing, and a lack of competition. Android can become THE platform of the post-PC era only through high-value, incredibly innovative products. It's started down that road, but the outcome is anything but a done deal.

Android is not there yet

Jason Hiner

The growth and spread of Android is truly impressive, and we have to expect that the current sales of all these Android devices will attract more users, businesses, and third-party partners to the platform. However, Android still has some important obstacles to overcome. First and foremost, it's not the mobile platform of choice for developers. It has to win them over to be the top platform, though as Chris notes, the fact that Android allows deeper access to the system than iOS could eventually help its cause. Second, business aren't very keen on Android. They still prefer iOS and even BlackBerry to Android, for security and manageability reasons. Android must win them over as well. Android will also need to make a stronger play in tablets and computers. It's making some baby steps in tablets with the Nexus 7 and a merger with ChromeOS looks inevitable on the computer side. However, Android needs to make more progress on these platforms where people spend more time doing work. So, Android could become the next Windows, but it's certainly not there yet. It's also possible that there will not be a single dominant platform in the post-PC era and that there will inevitably be several healthy, thriving ecosystems.


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  • Of course NOT!

    So what if 3/4 of mobile devices are Android. They are not PCs.

    Now compare the number Chromebooks (or any Android notebook for that matter) to Windows Notebook PCs and we can talk.

    Compare the number of Android tablets to iPads and we can talk.

    It is way to early to judge the success of Windows Phone 8 against Android smartphones, but if you want to compare iPhone sales to Android, be my quest.

    It is also way too early to compare Windows RT to Android or iOS but it looks promising for Microsoft.

    The other point is that, granted, consumer sales of Windows notebooks, among consumers has flattened out but that is because, by definition, consumers "consume". They are not content creators so a lame task-switching operating system is sufficient. Tablet sales not only represents former Windows notebook owners, it represents current Windows notebook owners and it also represents an entirely new group of consumers - lots of pent-up and previously untapped demand.

    The Android tablet is also attractive for its price-point, but can these extremely inexpensive devices stand-up over the long-haul against more expensive devices from Apple and Mictosoft?

    In the enterprise, the picture is quite different. The enterprise uses Windows personal computers (desktop and notebook) extensively. In economics cycles such as this, the enterprise looks for ways to extend the life-cycle of its devices but it does not stop buying them. Further, enterprise interest in tablets is focused on road-warriors and BYOD devices - not in mainstream mission-critical functions.
    M Wagner
    Reply 8 Votes I'm for No
    • you're arguing the wrong point

      The question is a little unclear to what it is asking and you are arguing the wrong point. If you read the original article from a couple weeks ago that recorded over 400 comments, the suggestion is NOT whether Android is replacing Windows as a desktop operating system but rather is Android's operating practice currently resembling what microsoft did in the 80s and 90s? and to that i say yes.

      Microsoft built an empire by creating an operating system and installing it on various devices provided by various OEMs (HP, Gateway, etc) and dominating sales because their software has its hooks in all the hardware vendors. This is exactly what Android is doing right now (except with HTC, Samsung, LG, etc). In no way is the author saying Android is replacing Windows as a desktop operating system. Just the business practices.
      Reply 3 Votes I'm Undecided
      • I'm for Yes

        also i voted yes, this says im undecided. silly voting system.
        Reply Vote I'm Undecided
      • Adrian makes no such connection to previous articles ...

        ... in his opening statement - which was clearly comparing apples-to-oranges. Comparing smartphone sales to tablet sales to notebook sales muddies that waters. He does not take into account anything but numbers of units sold. He might was well compared automobiles to goldfish.
        M Wagner
        Reply 1 Vote I'm Undecided
        • Fail!

          Looking back at your comment, you were wrong in so many accounts. RT failed. Windows 8 failed.... Bye bye!
          Reply Vote I'm Undecided
      • Yep

        and more so, Linux is the new Windows: Backbone of the internet on servers all the way down to routers, it powers PC's, Mac OS, iOS, Android, Chromebook and others
        Reply Vote I'm Undecided
        • Powers MacOS? That is a certified Unix system.

          Apple uses some open source as it suits them and where they can profit from it, but the core of the OS is Unix.

          the funniest part of all of this is that the government paid for the development of Unix during DARPA and other projects in Universites and private research centers around the country in Nixon's quest to have superior computer technology in the U.S.
          In doing so, SUN was started by taxpayer dollars and McNeally was handed the company with ANTI TRUST Exemption . Hmm..

          so bottom line, no matter who is best or on top or whatever, this Linux you talke about it is 100% based on a system that was paid for by U.S. taxpayers into the Billions upon Billions of dollars. It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears from American workers so you coudl have your "Free" OS.

          And the same people have the nerve to be angry about Microsoft who did it all on their own from a tiny company to over a billion PCs worldwide, not once getting AT exemption from the Feds nor Funding from taxpayers into the Billions.

          It's pathetic. Linux is THE most expensive OS in the world. I've alive long enough to know that my tax dollars have gone toward paying off that massive bill to have a decent *X.

          the other thing that is very ironic and comical is the system from which Linux was born was created by the largest Monopoly (except maybe standard Oil?) in our country's history, dwarfing any status Microsoft was wrongly tagged with by a Judge who showed he's not even worthy of night court.

          Reply Vote I'm Undecided
      • Ok, then the Blog Title is an Epic Fail.

        Is should be is Google the new Microsoft.
        Not is Android the new Windows.

        And Google is not the new Microsoft, they are far more evil. I don't touch Google because I don't want them owning my data. They get some of it anyway simply because you can't use the internet without passing through their monopoly territory and they feel happy and free to take any of that data they see fit and do whatever they like with it.
        Much like the Bush era Feds.

        That's it, the blog should be: Is Google the New Dubya?
        Vote : YES!!!!
        Reply Vote I'm Undecided
    • RE: Of course NOT!

      @M Wagner Chrome OS is NOT Android, not even close. Calling a Chromebook an Android notebook is akin to calling a bicycle a car.
      Reply 1 Vote I'm Undecided
    • The real Question

      Does Android have the kind of potential Windows has.
      While Android is still in it's infancy, it is evolving faster than any OS on the planet.
      There is not a lot separating the potential of Android and Windows.
      It is just the maturity of software development that separates them.
      Windows has been all things to lots of people for a very long time and Android is becoming that and more.
      They are both very scalable from embedded systems to client/servers.
      They both come in many form factors and Android even more so with the lighter OS.
      While many argue that Android cannot do the heavy lifting, that is only because the application software is not there yet. The hardware is scalable and can do whatever you want.
      Android is fast becoming the new Windows.
      Reply Vote I'm Undecided