Six reasons why Android PCs can be disruptive

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.



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.



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.

giant leap story 2 slide


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: CES 2014: What the Professionals Need to Know, Android, Hardware, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, CES, PCs

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  • OEM Logic

    OEM's are the funniest.

    Product Manager: Our users aren't buying PC's so much, we have to come up with something that will make them really want our products again. We have to get that Apple spark.

    Derp: Why not take the current Windows 8 hardware, make it less powerful and put Android on it and charge the same amount.

    Product Manager: Brilliant. Here's a $1000000 bonus.
    Dreyer Smit
    • And they would sell twice as many if they subtracted half the cost

      of the Windows license...
      • Really?

        OEMs would gladly drop 30-40$ of their price if it helps double their sales, but then, don't let small facts come in the way of a nice anti-MS story.
        • Mr Dignan didn't realize the most important thing...

          ... that Android is first of all LINUX. He should have remembered that they are using Linux to make stock exchange markets working better. They use Linux to make their Drones to kill better. They use Linux to make supercomputers working better. And servers, and tv, and cars, and systems of NASA etc...

          Instead of saying "Chrome OS" they should say Chrome Linux. Android Linux. Web OS Linux, Apache Linux...

          Linux everewhere and that's why they are so confused and shocked. I don't know why.
          • We know why you're confused

            You actually believe that most consumers WANT Linux. If that was the case they wouldn't be buying Windows and OS X based computers to the tune that they are.

            Android or Linux TVs?

            It's just the OS that comes with the hardware, nothing more.

            BTW: What about those Linux based stock exchange issues they had? How come you never stop by to comment on those stories....? ;)
          • If that was the case they wouldn't be buying Windows / OS X based computers

            try buying new hardware i.e. a top of the line laptop from any OEM.
            you can't with out paying the MS i.e WINDOWS tax.
            So if you don't have a choice at the store you buy MS.
          • But at least Windows laptops are generally much cheaper that MacBooks...

            You forgot to mention the APPLE hardware tax :)
          • the operative word

            The operative word in what you said may be true. The word is cheaper.
          • Well

            Does Microsoft tell the OEMs what to charge? No. Why OEMs charge less?

            Because Windows is the predominant factor to the computer user's selection process and since so many people offer essentially the same thing, the price comes down.

            There is no hardware tax. There's a product with a price and the potential customer accepts or rejects the transaction offer based on a subjective decision regarding value.

            And, one may recall Mr. Ballmer saying with a smirk something about the Apple badge adding 500 dollars to the purchase price. As though Microsoft would run away in horror if its licensing sticker put 500 more per pc into its pocket. Or having "Dell" on the side increasing the price customers were willing to pay was the most terrifying nightmare Michael Dell had that did not include Carl Icahn. I think Lenovo actually does get more per pc because it is considered a quality brand, just as Apple is to many.

            Windows PC lovers, enjoy this golden age of low-cost powerful machines that run your favorite os. Ultrabooks, Chromebooks, Touch-enabled pcs, and just about everything else one can see as product trends since 2009 have one theme: this race to the price bottom is killing us [the manufacturers].

            Expect manufacturers to leave the market, and as competition decreases, prices will increase.
          • well, what?

            ms users (of which i am one) have been paying a software AND hardware tax. the tax is hidden, buy and use a ms machine ( i have since my first ibm ps/2, late80s if memory serves ). get used to windows, buy 3rd party software that only works on windows, then ms decides to upgrade current os to somthing else (my experience win 3.1/95/98/Me(ouch)/xp/vista(ouch again)/7/8.x). i left out 2000 because they called it "server". and with each os "improvement", the hardware requirements also "improved". it is not as simple as " There's a product with a price and the potential customer accepts or rejects the transaction offer based on a subjective decision regarding value.". the person "invested" in their choice of platform (usually ms/apple ) by purchasing software and hardware around that decision, and thus, influencing future purchases. your "golden age" has more than one theme for people who choose a thin client, like chromeos, that is minimal "local" hardware requirements is not a race to the bottom, but is actually getting your moneys worth out of the hardware you INITIALLY purchased. you may call it a product trend, i call it "finally getting my moneys worth". it is about time consumers controlled the market, not the company. MS chose to protect its shareholders, rather than adapt to the market. the oems see this, and they know they can "recycle" their inventory of "old" hardware to meet the operating specs of a thin client world, while also not having to pay anyone for a os license.
            i encourage you to attempt to decipher the corporate speak from samsung/asus/dell/toshiba/lenovo/hp ect in each of their corporate financial summaries/future projections to see that they make as much/more than they do/did on a per unit cost with a chromebook/box vs a wintell machine.
            that is a win for shareholders AND consumers. (unless, of course you are heavily invested in ms). I was(kinda still am) a "windows pc lover", due to my capital investment in wintell machines over the years. ms abandonment of XP has forced me to step out of my comfort zone and actually try somthing else. i did, and im never looking back.
            Chris Yacyshyn
          • Well said, in my opinion

            I believe that is one of the most sensible, unbiased opinions I've read in quite some time.
          • You ignore the fact that vendors have to pay a Windows license fee.

            Vendors using Android/ChromeOS or Linux don't.

            That Windows license fee has to be added to the cost of the hardware... Even if the same exact price for both the linux systems and the windows system means that the vendor loses profit on the windows system...
          • The average income of Windows license for Microsoft ...

            ... was some years ago about $ 100. But that's not the real cost of Windows/per pc. Actually some studies in Spain are claiming that annual cost of Windows for Spanish public sector is more than $ 1000. Why? Because the whole ecosystem is terrible unstable, ineffective, insecure etc...

            How about this example?

            "Switching to open source allowed Croatia's pension fund to significantly reduce the costs of its online service desk. Annual maintenance costs for the new, open source-based service are around 10,000 euro, 1/14 of the maintenance costs for the previous system, based on proprietary solutions, according to Marko Rakar, a consultant for the Ministry of Labour and Pension Systems. The new site was launched on 1 January 2014. "


            Use Windows ecosystem and burn a lot of money.
          • Read it

            @macBroderick First, the article talks about the server side, not client. Second, it never mentions Windows. It could have been some Oracle or SAP or other proprietary back end.
          • Right on the money Danny...

            I will save this quote for later consumption circa 2015:

            "Windows PC lovers, enjoy this golden age of low-cost powerful machines that run your favorite os. Ultrabooks, Chromebooks, Touch-enabled pcs, and just about everything else one can see as product trends since 2009 have one theme: this race to the price bottom is killing us [the manufacturers].

            Expect manufacturers to leave the market, and as competition decreases, prices will increase."

            In the end, this all started with Vista, when MS made a "Santiago de Compostela" style train wreck trying to move a high speed train (OS) in a slow speed railway (OEMs). They did it once again with Windows 8, but the passengers had already, fortunately chosen others ways of transportation.
          • What you wrote

            Most assuredly so.
          • Build your own...

            Its easy to avoid the MS a box. Newegg and Tiger Direct sell parts. Just assemble and load the Linux flavor du jour.
          • Yes! Theres the solution. Ive been saying it for years.

            Linux fans are just plain silly. I cannot imagine a significant percentage of Linux fans who could not slap together a PC of their own, or conversely, its impossible to imagine a significant number of Linux fans who don't know you can get any well known reputable custom PC builder to build you any kind of rig you like at a very good price with Linux on it.

            The only reason any Linux user has to complain about OEM's building almost entirely Windows machines is because they are strangely seeking to bend a larger segment of the population into the same fold they reside in. And seriously, its just a PC, a tool, its not a religion; what should they care?

            In any sensible theory, practically every Linux user should have nothing else to be doing in the battle of the PC OS wars that to lean back, chuckle and pat themselves on the back for owning a powerful custom built computer that was likely cheaper than a similar Windows OS based OEM computer. But no, they do nothing but carp and bitch about the fact that so many people still prefer Windows. Why should they even care?

            What in the world does it really matter to them in the end. I know many will say it dosnt, but the evidence is it drives many of them literally mad for some reason.

            Look at SJVN for example, he often spouts complete madness against Windows. Its ludicrous. If Linux of any brand is for you, then fantastic, you are a lucky lucky soul in many respects. But give up the evangelistic dream of converting the world because history has shown its never going to happen unless a phenomenal change in Linux takes place.
          • Yes,

            You can build a desktop for Linux. I've built several. Next, try building yourself a laptop. That's where your Windows tax shows up. Don't fool yourself by claiming it's priced lower - all that trialware and other junk is just in the way but they pay money to the OEM's to help offset the cost of a Windows license. Who wants a trial version of ANY software? This kind of stuff is exactly why CCleaner was created - it was originally called Crap Cleaner - and even though it removes the programs, it doesn't completely remove all the crap.
          • the funny thing is...

            ..that LInux is not trying to sell it's the silly windows click monkeys who are defensive like you and are scared stiff of having to actually learn real computing skills of ronce. Your silly argument is rally stale. Linux is NOT trying to be windows, linux is taking over no matter how much you MS clickers squeal..the change is hear my friend. LEAR THE COMMAND LINE...go on...can you?