Monday, March 24, 2014

Move Over Windows, Android is the New Emperor


Year 2014 marks not just a change of leadership at Microsoft, with Satya Nadella taking over helm from Steve Ballmer, but it is also the year when Microsoft Windows steps down and hands over the crown to Android.

About an year ago in March 2013, I made a bold prediction that Android PCs will become mainstream. Now in March 2014, all the leading PC vendors are releasing Android based PCs.

Its been a well known fact that PC sales had been declining for last 5 years. And by end of 2014, Windows has completely lost its position in Personal Computing space. ( Though Windows will continue to be relevant OS on the servers)

Android OS is already ruling the end user compute market with smart phones and tablets (with a market share of over 75%), and in 2014, both Lenevo, Acer & HP will release PCs with Android pre-installed.

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.

Acer TA272 HUL, running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, has a 27" screen with resolution of 2560 by 1440 pixels, has 16GB of storage, and also supports a key board and mouse - although it has a full touch screen.

While there are still few drawbacks in Android OS, the major one being multi-tasking and does not support Adobe Flash, it is still a complete home computer and is ideal for home use.

Why is Windows Dead

Windows 8 is far the best OS for the PC. When it comes to dealing with work loads such as creating audio & video content, graphics, and multi-tasking, Windows 8 is far superior to Android, but most PC users do not create content on their PCs, at the most, they may write a few documents, edit pictures or videos and write emails. The most popular uses of PC for most users are web browsing, social networking and entertainment: gaming or movies. For these applications, Android and Google Apps are perfect. For example, I can do all my home computing work on a Android MiniPC, and best of all, all my work is saved automatically on web. So I don't have to worry about backing it up or carrying hard drives around.

But the real killer of Windows PC is not its capability to deal with traditional work loads. The Windows killer are the completely new capabilities which comes with Internet of things. New compute devices such as Smart Lamps, Car management systems, wearable devices etc., are being built on Android platform and these smart devices do not have connectivity to the windows based PC!

The seamless integration of these new smart devices with Android platform - makes Android PC a very compelling argument to replace the old traditional Windows PC.

Dominance of Android

Android already dominates two of the three platforms:

1. Android already rules the Mobile & Tablet Space - where it has 75% market share
2. Internet-of-things is being built on Android
3. Android can unify everything by becoming the OS of choice in the PC platform.

As I write this article, several CIO's in various organizations are looking at replacing their PCs with virtual desktops (VDI), and I see eight good reasons to opt for Android based PC for deploying Virtual Desktops.

1. Price
With minimal hardware requirement and free software, the cost of basic hardware is so low that Windows based PC's cannot match.

2. Seemless usage
Android has seamless integration with Google Apps. For most enterprise office requirements, Google Apps is adequate. For other apps, users can subscribe to s SaaS service - such as Office365, Saleforce.com, and other SaaS services.

3. Transparent control
IT departments can easily control the SaaS and Virtual desktops. Power users can use the virtual desktops that are running on powerful servers and the central IT department can roll out just the Virtual Desktop service, which can be accessed either on any Android platform. Another major advantage here is that all data is in the cloud - either private or public, this makes it easier it to secure and check for compliance.

4. Cost management
For enterprise IT groups, supporting different PC systems: Laptops, Desktops, Workstations etc., is a major cost and operational headache. Now with Android and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), enterprises can bring in efficiency of ITaaS (IT as a Service), and have better control over the costs through VDI.

5. Performance
Android is a very simple platform and does not demand high compute resources. Power users can be directed to the right types of VDI, thus eliminating the need for multiple hardware platforms. A simple 1GHz dual core ARM CPU with 4GB RAM gives just the same level performance as a top end x86 laptops. And with a boot time in seconds, users will love the performance.

6. Browser based Workloads
With cloud computing becoming prevalent, all the work is done through a web browser -- so with Android OS well integrated to the best browser, users will have best possible user experience.

7: Apps and add-ons
Android platform has millions of apps, and a very good Mobile device Management (MDM) tools which can control the apps users can access, Users will have all the right tools they need for the future. As Internet of things becomes popular, users will find that Android based apps will allow them to seamlessly integrate with the new devices and new types of business focused tools can be developed.

8: Elegance
With a full touch screen and ultra high resolution screens in sleek formfactors, users will love their Android PCs. It will rival the MacBook Pros and MacBook Air laptops. The looks coupled with high performance and efficiency will make Android PCs the ultimate end-user computing device.

Closing Thoughts 

The failure of Windows 8.x and the confusion Microsoft created with its Surface tablet, Microsoft has annoyed all its partners and is running short on friends. PC vendors are forced to look for new market opportunities.

In 2014, Considering its historically install base, Windows will still be the top OS for PCs. But by 2016, Windows will be relegated to history books.

Also see: 

Android PC - Is just around the Corner
PRODUCT REVIEW – ANDROID 4.0 MINI PC