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back to article ARM-Android to outship Windows-Anything by 2016

Windows might be on the rise in the world of embedded systems, but if IDC's prognostications are right, then Windows is about to get its kernel handed to it with the rise of Android on what the market researcher dubs "smart connected devices." By IDC's reckoning, makers of PCs, tablets, and smartphones shipped some 916 million …

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Probably not a representative sample, but the people I know with iDevices either use them as dumbphones, or wait until the apps are on 10p offers or some kind of "free for 24 hours" thing before getting them.

In contrast I have quite a number of Android apps I paid full price for, and only a few that I got during the 10p apps offer a few months back. It's worth it to not be bombarded with "personalised" sales pitches all the time.

Annoying to have to get prepaid Mastercards because Google had a dummy-spitting moment with Maestro though.

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MrF
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Purely for sake of comparison...

Here in the US, most iPhone users I've asked will admit to doing several curious things. By 'most' I mean nearly every one I've spoken with; by 'curious', I mean supremely odd. Well, odd by my definition anyway.:

1. They buy a fair number of apps -- dozens, in fact. Mean is ~30.

2. They pay full price almost every time. Mean is > $3.

3. They buy them almost entirely on the suggestion of a friend or co-worker.

(Not a 'tech reviewer' or website article.) Maybe half the time this involves

a *very* brief demo by the recommending party.

4. The majority of said apps are used once, then never touched again. And

by 'used' I mean they open the app, muck around a bit, then close it.

Interesting, no? I'm not sure what it tells us about the average iPhone user, much less what it says about the long-term success of Apple's business plan. But definitely interesting.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Purely for sake of comparison...

I'm a freetard. I've downloaded at least 50 apps on my 'droid, all free. I've never paid for an app.

(not sure what that says about me, and I'm sure someone will be along to enlighten me soon enough)

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Angel

Actually...

I would say this is normal behavior. On the contrary, I find weird people who wait for weeks until an app becomes cheaper, all that to save less money than what they would spend on a beer. Or people who adamantly refuse to pay $2 for an app that would be useful to them.

When you think logically about it, most paying apps cost almost nothing.

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IT Angle

Re: Purely for sake of comparison...

I've bought 30 or so and downloaded dozens more free ones. The kids love the games, but I'm more into other things. There's a mind mapper, a beats builder, some other things. I like the ssh tool, the ftp app, and some media players. I've got the Box.com app for cloud storage, and the OnLive Desktop - that last I'm going to get the pro version when it's got more features on a monthly rental. It's not like Android apps are going to break me.

Of course we've got the Amazon reader and a bunch of books bought in there too. Had Rhapsody for quite a while on monthly subscription but didn't use it enough to make it worthwhile.

Android people buy apps too.

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Surprise!

If all you are doing is shipping someone-else's work then yes, you won't make much money.

You have to do something better than everyone else. That could be: better logistics and lower price it could be a nice screen and case, it could be some decent software which runs on top, different hardware form-factor or putting android somewhere unusual (hello TV).

Its a bit like street lighting. Its there for everyone, so to make money you need to do more than just stand under it.

I suspect there will be a shakeout, losing those who think, "how can we make money out of this?" leaving those who are doing something profitable and happen to use android to do it.

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Windows

The end is nigh...?

For many years most PCs* have been running Windows, for the simple reason that most PCs have been running Windows. Yes I did type that correctly: most of us have had to go along with using what most other people are already using, so Windows on a PC has become a kind of self-fullfilling prophecy.

However, most Windows users haven't actually enjoyed using Windows and have been yearning for the opportunity to use something else. We use Windows because we have to, not because we want to. Then, along came smartphones... and we use iPhones or Androids! Because we can! Because we actually want to!

If Apple and/or Google can make one OS which works on all three kinds of device (PC/tablet/smartphone), with full auto-synch between the three, and with full office functionality on the PC version, and with full cloud storage&backup, then Windows will finally disappear.

*For the duration of this comment, the term 'PC' refers to all traditional desktop-style computers, including IBM-style, Macs, etc.

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Re: The end is nigh...?

"most Windows users haven't actually enjoyed using Windows and have been yearning for the opportunity to use something else"

Well yes, I would love to leave my Windows PC and use something else, maybe a sun-lounger or a hang-glider or a snowboard. Not sure my boss would approve, though.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The end is nigh...?

"However, most Windows users haven't actually enjoyed using Windows and have been yearning for the opportunity to use something else"

thats some statement to make! thats also complete FUD. Prove to me thats the case an ill take my hat off to you

"If Apple and/or Google can make one OS which works on all three kinds of device (PC/tablet/smartphone), with full auto-synch between the three, and with full office functionality on the PC version, and with full cloud storage&backup, then Windows will finally disappear."

Much like Microsoft is trying to pull of just now then...

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Windows

@Martin

While I can see, follow and here and there even agree with your logic there is one thing amiss IMO. And that is the assumption that Windows has never managed to grow or catch on. Now, this is a little bit of a bad example (IMO) with Windows 8 on the horizon (which, IMO again, totally proves some parts of your comments plain and simple) but when looking at Windows 7 and some of their mobile devices (Windows Phone 7.5) then I can only conclude that Microsoft has already come a long way in achieving what you're describing here.

Example: I sit behind my desktop PC and write a text document in Word (2010). I add some pictures, add some other stuff, etc. I then save this to my freely available "cloud storage" (Skydrive). This results in the document becoming immediately accessible on my Windows Phone. I can view it, edit it, and upload any possible changes again.

Even more; if I start my laptop (running on XP) I can have the same document also directly available; straight from Skydrive (note: in all fairness, this /did/ require some tweaks on my part because as we all know MS doesn't really support XP anymore. You can't easily access a document directly from Skydrive with Office 2010 alone, but can after a little tweaking).

Of course the question remains if this isn't all a little too late. I have to agree with you that many people will happily embrace an environment as long as it isn't Windows.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The end is nigh...?@myself and the downvotes

why the downvotes? stating that MOST users dont enjoy liking it is FUD and completely unprovable, and as for syncing between different platforms that is exactly the plan for MS which they have started working on.

Downvotes because you dont like to hear the truth i suspect...

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Go

Re: The end is nigh...?@myself and the downvotes

Maybe they just disagree with you. Don't worry about downvotes - just speak your mind.

Even Windows OEMs don't like Windows. They don't make enough money making Windows PCs to make it worth the investment in time, capital and risk. Some years they lose money. They just keep doing it in the hope they can become dominant and start to extract profits from being a premium brand. Of course Microsoft would never allow that to happen. Or they're hoping for synergy that translates to their more profitable server services, network and storage offerrings where they actually earn fair profits from a sale.

Microsoft's problem with Windows 8 and WoA is HTC, Motorola Mobility and other mobile OEMs who aren't dependent on Windows licensing and marketing incentives, eking out their whole profit on a device from the fees they get for including shovelware that retail customers despise. This group is free to innovate and cannibalize the Windows PC market, build their brands and get premium prices. They can make Android laptops, smart TVs or set-top boxes, TV remotes, gaming devices or whatever - and make hundreds in profit per unit, more profit from each than a PC OEM could ever hope to earn. Samsung is in this group too, because though they also make Windows PCs they know that's not where their profits are and they can't be threatened with the loss of no profits. They're free to cannibalize the PC industry too. LG also probably, and quite a few others. They don't need Intel or AMD either, to do their circuit design work for them and pay them to stink up their case with stickers.

HP and Dell don't control what we can get for innovation any more. Those days are done. And that's death for Windows 8.

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Anonymous Coward

Windows on the rise in the world of embedded systems?

According to whose figures? As a long-time industry insider and designer of networked embedded devices, I seriously doubt the reality of that assertion.

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Re: Windows on the rise in the world of embedded systems?

It was in the previous article on IDC's predictions linked from the article. Yes, it was pretty unbelievable and not really worth a read. There are some good comments from people in the industry who know what's needed and how much things can cost and how much power they can draw, etc. x86 will have a chance in embedded systems when Apple switches to it for their phones, something that seems unlikely at the moment.

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Mushroom

Don't believe it....

No doubt I'll be downvoted for this like mad but here goes...

The reason Windows owns the PC world is because of content creation apps - think Office/Creative Suite/AutoCAD etc. The only compelling alternative is OS X - but Apple's way will always restrict it's adoption. Currently, tablets and phones are simply content consumption devices, and haven't grown up. The iPad is just now beginning that transition. Windows 8 will continue on PC's for the same reason, but also bring that into the world of tablets. Android has fallen flat on tablets and Windows 8 will only reinforce this further.

Android will continue to have a strong presence on phones, but never really expand meaningfully beyond them. OS X and iOS will merge, and carve out a healthy proportion of the market. Windows will dominate PC's and tablets, and gain enough traction from it to be a solid player on phones.

When the dust has settled in a few years and these devices become more connected, Windows will take 50% of the market, OS X/iOS will take 30% (and 60% of the profits), and Android will take 20% (but 40% of the phone market).

It's hard for the tech folk on here to realise, but the general consumer and business will dictate this. There isn't the hatred of Microsoft and the love of open source out there. It will simply be down to - does Android have iTunes? No. Does Android have Office? No. Does Android play all top games? No. Hence it's restriction to phones....

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Re: Don't believe it....

I agree with most of what you say except the idea that Windows will dominate tablets, which seems a tad optimistic to say the least!

Android has failed (relatively speaking) on tablets largely, I think, due to the low quality of apps when compared to the iPad. Microsoft will face the same problem, starting from scratch, but at least they will throw money at developers.

On the desktop, I can't see Windows 8 being a success, but Microsoft can fix that with Windows 9 and they'll be ok. On tablets it's a different story. In order to succeed against the iPad they'll need to beat Apple in all areas - hardware, OS and apps - and even if they manage that they still have to overcome the Apple brand advantage.

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MrF
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Your reasoning is solid and I happily stipulate to your evidence...

...and yet your conclusion is completely off-base.

Just as Microsoft, Apple (and a great many tech reviewers) casually dismissed the infant Android OS as a second-rate competitor in smartphones, they -- and you -- would be foolish to repeat so gross an error in the connected devices sector.

The few holes in Android's ecosystem are rapidly being filled. More so than iOS or Windows, both Chrome and Android are improving in leaps...as are Google, themselves, pivoting their previously scattered forces to concentrate on a mobile future.

And Android still brings three powerful factors to bear: low cost, easy customization, plus (now) broad worldwide adoption across markets & manufacturers. That combination means far more than a handful of apps, however well-established.

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Pint

Re: Don't believe it....

Wow, that is probably one of the most down to earth comments ive seen on here and will probably be about as accurate a prediction to the future as any other informed prediction could be.

to add to that, it doesnt matter what a device or OS does to the general public, its what its percieved to do that matters and i think this is why techies dont always get the big picture (prob because we too busy wondering how the picture was made!).

i think what is distorting the image a bit is mobile phone sales, Its all very well X company saying they shifted x million units this year, but that doesnt translate in to an increase in market share or even sustaining it

.

Mobiles are relitively cheap devices, well in androids case it is, and typically contracts are between 1 and 2 years, im fairly sure a large chunk of the public wouldnt buy a new PC every year or 2 so its difficult to factor in mobile sales, well i think so!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Your reasoning is solid and I happily stipulate to your evidence...

the problem with androids low cost devices are that many of them are crap

thats NOT androids fault as such, all be it they should provide some minimum standard for their OS (MS got their fingers burnt with WM for not doing that)

It is kinda ironic that android is following Windows mobiles footsteps (all be it they are keeping the OS upto date) and its users do everyting thing they can do distance them selves from that piece of history!

whilst i no longer use Android as it doesnt suite my needs i do think its good to have choice and compertition out there, ultimately that improves all of our devices whatever the OS is

At the end of the day, Android isnt perfect and neither is any of the others, but being blinkered in to thinking one rules them all is a tad daft, forinstance your three good factors at the end there, cost, custom and apps. All three of those can be seen as negative as well largely through No fault of the base Android platform.

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@Alexh2o

I'm one of the upvoters because well, I tend to agree with you. Like you said; this isn't an issue of hating or liking or... Although I do have some doubts about your estimates on the tablet and phone markets. I think we may very well see an increase in people moving /away/ from Windows on those markets (isn't the tablet already used in such fashion?).

However, being a (small) business user myself I'd like to add another possible reason as to why some people / companies wouldn't easily bail the MS ship; Investments, both made and possibly required when migrating. Even if Android would somehow manage to embrace an office suite like Libre Office (which I hold in high esteem mind you) then it still remains to be seen if it will be enough.

Because in general many companies have invested heavily (software, time, manpower, studies, etc.) in setting up an environment which suits their need. In the example of Office we have VBA which can go /really/ deep. Which automatically is the main problem; I don't think it will be possible to come up with an alternative solution which can both fully support the current infrastructure /and/ provide enough features to compete. Not in the time frame's we're talking here.

I'm not saying people aren't up to it or that it is totally impossible. But I don't see it happening. Take a look at the (IMO very impressive!) developments in environments such as OpenJDK / Kaffe or the Mono project. These exist for quite some time, and they've come a long way. But can we truly say that such an environment managed to reach a level where it could fully replace the original one on one ?

Not too sure there... The reason why I use programming environment projects as example is simple; if there are any motivated people to be found its there (IMO).

And that's "only" a programming environment.

SO... I have to agree with you that some things probably won't change as quickly as some people think.

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Black Helicopters

Re: Don't believe it....

@Alexh2o, your point about content creation is key. In many ways the trends that we see today (the rise of Android phones, iPad, etc) is crazy.

Up until relatively recently the devices on which people consumed digital content were largely the same as those used to create it in the first place. Now it’s completely different. The consumers of all things digital now use iThings, Androids. But these devices really suck when it comes to creating anything.

However the rush for consumer orientated tablets and smartphones is for nothing unless there is content. And the serious content creators still need/want a good desktop PC / MAC. They've got commercial time-scales to work to; they've a lot to get through. Bling may be cool, but it doesn’t pay.

I think the world is on the edge of a disaster so far as hard nosed realistic people who have a job to do are concerned. Some predictions:

*PCs and Macs I think will suddenly become *very* expensive as most people will be buying tablets / smartphones. That’s bad news for the world’s content creators.

*RIM is clearly in trouble and may fold. But can you imagine a business world without them? The offerings from their smartphone competition have only a veneer of utility (though MS could get close, because they do Exchange). Deep down the others have little to compare to what Blackberry give their corporate customers to safeguard, control and access data. RIM are interesting (i.e. brave) because they've not abandoned their hard nosed approach to business functionality purely for the sake of chasing bling and fat consumer sales. It's costing them dear.

*The rise of BYOD, Android, iPhone in the workplace is increasing the risk to employers' businesses. Even the people on Capitol Hill see that. It is setting the scene for some spectacular company failures. E.g. a company could easily go under purely because some idiot employee (and there *will* always be one) jail-broke their Android and wound up with a key logger Trojan. Worse still, no one would know why it happened. Blackberries don’t have that problem, and that should still matter to companies.

In all I think current tech trends are leading to less work being done, more unnecessary risk for companies, and a change in work/life balance that in the round is detrimental to an economy. I suspect that company IT people recognise that, but few company directors do.

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Flame

Damn you, El Reg

My 1,981 character post / rant got chopped. Was it really that boring?

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Re: Damn you, El Reg

Are you sure it hasn't just been rolled up - it sometimes doesn't render very well. Seems to end properly, not in mid flow.

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Re: Don't believe it....

Not convinced that Android is doomed on tablet. Agreed, the apps aren't up to where the iPad apps are, but that first mover advantage. The situation was similar for smartphones, and Android soon caught up.

The development of apps for Android tablets has been slow because of the small market, and resulting imbalance between the effort and reward for coding/porting an app for Android tabs. One way to fix this is to flood the market with good, cheap tablets (perhaps selling at cost or subsidising). This would increase the marketplace for tablet apps, and push the balance for developers more in favour of developing for Android.

Guess what Google's next move is? If they get the Google Nexus/Memo 370T right, I think things will look up for the Android tablet ecosystem relatively quickly. I'd buy a £150-£200 Android tab that had a decent spec. I can't justify £400 on an iPad (with fixed storage capacity and built in obsolescence, even if it is better. I could get a (half) decent laptop for that to replace my rather decrepit XPS 2 (which incidentally has a decent screen at 1900x1200, which seems wierdly impossible to find these days).

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Re: Don't believe it....

See now, I have never had a problem getting droid tablet apps, with the exception of shitty devs who only code to one screen size, and that crapware is quite rare these days.

But then I am on about Android tablets, not cheap knock offs with no Android Market^WGoogle Play.

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Stop

Here you are wrong:

"Currently, tablets and phones are simply content consumption devices, and haven't grown up. [... will] never really expand meaningfully ...".

You throw too many things into one bin: There are devices that should perform multiple functions (my computer) and there are devices that should perform specialized functions -- but do it well (the good old phone and the DVD player). If the cost of the devices is not too high, I am happy to dish out some extra cash to have the specialized device. It saves me the hassle to figure out how to do complicated things on complicated machines.

Because computing power gets quite cheap, we'll get more and more of the specialized devices, so the transition is not one from a Windows/PC world to a Linux/PC world, but rather one from the multi-purpose computer to the nifty gadgets. The gadgets will outnumber the classic computers -- anybody surprised?

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Re: Don't believe it....

<quote>It will simply be down to - does Android have iTunes? No. Does Android have Office? No. Does Android play all top games? No. Hence it's restriction to phones....</quote>

Let's take those in order - ITunes isn't a dealbreaker for many just a requirement for IOS devices. Amazon is leading the way in making its store available on whatever platform.

Office - no MS Office but things that let work with MS Office documents. I've hardly used it because I hardly have the need to work with MS Office documents but I've seen a few fanbois happily pounding away at the IOS office suite. IMHO Office isn't as important as it was a few years ago. Be interesting to see if anyone sponsors an OpenOffice port to Android.

Games - what is your definition of "top games"? Angry Birds certainly looks to be up there now but for impressive graphics there is also Sony's Android-based strategy.

Going back to creative stuff - Adobe is really pushing it's Android and IOS offerings.

No, apart from third-party support what's holding Android back from the desktop is the hardware. The Asus Transformer shows what is possible but is still too expensive for large scale take up. File servers, printer drivers, etc. still required but then I can imagine Android based notebooks (13" and up) and mini-desktops running with standard peripherals and dirt cheap.

We've only really seen one year of the Android tablets - Honeycomb was essential - but the mass market is now being addressed (Aldi is pushing the "Lifetab") and people are becoming as familiar with Android as they have in the past with Windows and IOS. Lone warriors who want to bring their own device to work with them are more accepted now - I know of two corporate IT policies which expect this model to dominate by 2015. Standard connections, like the I-Phone port needed to give this a push. Can't see that taking off immediately but I sense the opportunity is there for anyone prepared to invest heavily enough: Lenovo or possibly HP if they get their head out of their arse in time.

Too early to call in my view. MS does have an opportunity on tablets as you suggest, at least for the enterprise market. The consumers are already adopting Android in sufficient numbers.

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FAIL

Re: Don't believe it....1900x1200

Well, it's cuz you can't watch a DVD without black bars at the top and bottom, innit?

For "content creators" i.e., workers, any of the current widescreen formats are an embuggerance, but I can only guess that enough non-16:9 screened devices have been returned by The Great Unwashed that no manufacturer wants to be burned by it.

I have never had a screen as useful as the 1600x1200 one on my lovely T42p (now sadly RIP). And that includes the 1920x1080 one I'm using now.

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Re: Don't believe it....

Sure Apple would love to take 30% with OS X/iOS but its a major challenge for them to change a business model that would, without major changes, more likely take them closer to the current 6% Mac share of traditional PC than the current iPad or iTunes shares in their markets.

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Re: Don't believe it....

It's not too difficult to get Google Play onto the "cheap knock offs" too.

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Re: Don't believe it....

Not too difficult if you don't mind rooting things and have a propellor for a head.

Seriously, I know we're mostly all techie here, but the rest of the entire world is NOT. People will not root their devices. They will go "oh, it's shit, there's no apps", take it back and get an iPad.

That's your Android tablet problem right there, and it is the only problem. Just a shame Google can't be a bit more proactive about bollocking people who sell unofficial tablets as "Android."

Android based? Yep. Android? No.

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@tybalt

Yes you're right! Sorry El Reg. Damn you, Chrome!!!

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Re: Don't believe it....

> Android has fallen flat on tablets and Windows 8 will only reinforce this further.

The current Android versions were for phones. Tablets using a phone based OS were likely to not be great tablets. ICS and later will make a difference.

Windows 8 tablets are said to become available later this year, but that is likely to be only x86 with ARM tablets possibly early next year. x86 tablets are likely to cost much more, just as Win7 tablets do at present, while Metro may provide a better touch interface the Windows applications will still fail to be usable with touch. Windows applications on x86 tablets will likely require to be used with keyboard and mouse and will make the device more like a laptop that comes apart, but will be more expensive.

Windows 8 ARM tablets (WOA) will likely disappoint. Windows applications won't work (though WP7 phone apps will, perhaps), the ARM Office may be a cut down version, or just a bigger version of what is on WP7, other apps will only be available from MS. They will also be locked into W8 rigidly and may cost more than equivalent iPads or Android tablets.

WOA also won't be available any day soon, and that will give a year to iPad, Android and others to pass them. In fact Ubuntu is already available to OEMs to add to Android so that it can boot to Linux and use the Android interface or the Unity (or other) interface as required, such as when docked. I could run OpenOffice on my N800 tablet (small though it was) some years ago. By the time WOA is on the shelves the whole market could have changed yet again, and MS will still be a year behind.

> does Android have iTunes? No.

I certainly don't care about that, but it there is an opportunity to make money then _someone_ will do that.

> Does Android have Office? No.

Android does have apps that will view and edit MS Office documents. It also can access these on 'the cloud' such as GoogleDocs. Android is Linux based and could run OpenOffice, as it was running for some years on the ARM based N800 series.

Does WOA have 'Office'. No, not yet, not for another year perhaps. Will WOA have 'Office' or a cut down version ? We don't know yet.

> Does Android play all top games?

Given the market share it will run more top games than WOA for a year or more, possibly two. W8 x86 may run PC games but how many will be usable with touch interface, and how much will that cost ?

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So does someone want to tell me how I'm wrong...

...or are they going to hit the thumbs-down because I'm telling the truth and they don't like it?

Knock off non-androids make people buy iPads. By "people" I mean normal people who want to buy something and use it, not buy something and spend all night trying to make it work properly.

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Re: So does someone want to tell me how I'm wrong...

Try defining "knock off android". If you mean Kindle Fire, then I don't think that they make people buy iPads. If you really mean "knock off" as in Chinese brand that no-one's ever heard of, then I think these are mostly bought (outside China) by enthusiasts who are likely to root them.

So I think you are wrong on both counts.

Android tablets are not selling well because they are still playing catch up to the iPad. The iPad is perceived to have better apps, the price is similar, and the performance of an iPad has always had the edge. It's taken this long for tabs like the Transformer Prime to catch up with the iPad 2, and the new iPad trumps that on screen specs.

The Android tabs are on a faster design cycle, and they will get the new SoCs first, so I don't think it will take all that long for them to get parity on the hardware. The tricky bit seems to be overcoming the perception (or reality) that apps are better on the iPad.

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Re: So does someone want to tell me how I'm wrong...

Bought by enthusiasts such as a friend's kid who got it home and tried to use it, gave it to me and said "can you make it work?"

I told him to take it back to the shop as unfit for purpose and make sure the next one comes with the Market. In fact there are a number of people who have expressed interest in non-iPad tablets to me and I keep telling them all the same thing: Make sure it's an official build with the marketplace, and a nice new version of Android. If it's not at least two point something, don't bother!

No, I think you'll find there are quite a lot of people who are buying cheap Android tablets because they see the iPad as being too expensive. They then go "WTF is this shit", take the tablet back and decide the iPad must be worth it. It's not because "Android is a phone OS on a tablet." That's a stupid answer. 2.x is a lovely interface on a tablet and you can buy different launchers, unlike a certain fruity tab.

It's because people buy them, can't get shit-all apps for them, and decide Android must be crap, oh hey the iPad 2 has gone down in price, let's get one.

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Windows

Re: Don't believe it....

We've had Windows on tablets for fifteen years, and every year it's the same thing, just like Windows Phone: "Wait for the next one! That one's going to be killer!" Well guess what... We've heard it often enough to know to say "show me." We're not waiting any more.

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Joke

2016!

The year of the Linux-a-like desktop!

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Windows Premium Pricing

Historically MS could charge a premium for Windows/Office because users needed them. Users needed them because of the lock-in created by a ubiquitous OS and proprietary tools. In other words MS hasn't had to compete. They could make big profits and use these profits to hold back the competition. They have built a huge wall around their user base and work very hard to keep it strong.

They know that it it only takes a little break in this wall to let all the users out. Once a significant number of people find they can exist without Windows/Office, and that significant number is quite small, then a viable option becomes apparent. As soon as that happens MS can no longer charge a premium. If they can't charge a premium then they can't afford to pay to protect the lock in. MS has to compete on product alone. To do this it must re-invent itself: Not easy for a big spending multinational used to having it's own way.

That is the challenge that Microsoft faces. Not dealing with the threat of other OS's but dealing with itself in this inevitable future.

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Three minor points

1) MS will not permit OEMs to ship ARM mobos that can run anything other than Windows. How far they can push OEMs is a question, but one would imagine that certain...advice may be offered "We have varied the terms of your OEM agreement, pray we do not vary them further."

MS has more than enough of a desktop monopoly to restrict the availability of the other devices, which is why the regulators need to stamp on the "Win8-only" clause.

2) MS rakes it in from Android over various patent claims. You can question the validity of those claims, but the "loss" of market to Android devices might actually improve MS's bottom line.

3) MS is, and has always been, utterly hostile to F/OSS and has only released stuff into the F/OSS ecosystem after threat of suit or to entrench it's non-F/OSS stack. I am sure they will concoct further plans to try and keep F/OSS in check.

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Pint

Re: Three minor points

Gave you the upvote, but please note: not all OEMs make Windows PCs. HTC and Motorola don't, for example. And Microsoft can't tell these what to not invent.

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Armdroid

May I be the first on the Reg to proffer Armdroid as the successor to Wintel? Ta.

-A.

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Silver badge

really?

In home devices maybe but in real business then probably not. Drone machines need to be locked down. There is no way a vanilla box will be put onto a network and left to its own devices. For a start you have issues with licencing immediately. There are all sorts of issues where people can bring their own software in and install on company devices.

Until android gets decent domain level support then it is a nogo for most businesses. There are schools where android tablets have been forced upon the ict managers and guess what, riddled with pr0n a week later. Fancy that. W8 tablets would have been better if MS would have supported ARM more (and not just a token gesture).

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Anonymous Coward

Hmm...

My last phone lasted about a year and a half.

I've had my current Windows based workstation for about six years and see no reason to get new hardware, it's got a couple of GHz of 64 bit AMD processor and 4GB RAM. It ran XP, Vista and currently 7, it'll also run 8 fine - if I install it. Even if you are counting the amount of Windows shipped by OS installs/activations, rather than shipped with new hardware, phone/tablet OSes are going to outcompete because of the short lived nature of the hardware.

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meaningless predictions

What if Microsoft decide to license WP9 for $4. Or free to full Windows licencees?

Will Apple decide to stick with primary focus on the high end £500 iPhone 4 model or plunge into more price sensitive markets.

Will the 2015 version of iOS/Android/WIndows be a flop or a hit?

Will carriers in UK/US move significantly away from the buy device on contract model?

With 4G, multicore faster processors and HD displays universal at high end in 2013, will the pace of change in phones slow and cost of a good enough phone for 90% potential users drop to £100 by 2016.

Will users get all enthuisiastic about HTC or Samsung skins on Android or will brand overlays remain as unpopular as they are now?

IDC cannot predict the answers to these questions and many more, each one of which changes the game. Meaningless predictions, apart from maybe their estimate for the total market size.

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Anonymous Coward

Crossing over

"Windows might be on the rise in the world of embedded systems, but if IDC's prognostications are right, then Windows is about to get its kernel handed to it with the rise of Android on what the market researcher dubs 'smart connected devices.'"

If both IDV reports are correct, Windows usage will rise on devices where profit margins are low, and fall on devices with higher margins. Apart from being bad news for Microsoft if correct, it seems counterintuitive that manufacturers would pay for an OS where margins are slim.

However, unlike the usual OS partisans, I now think we are in a world where the platform matters less and less. Yes, there are specialist apps that live on one platform (e.g. AutoCad) but for the vast majority of users, interoperability is doable now, and becoming increasingly easier. Soon it will be seamless. Whether through cloud storage, or mobile devices with enough grunt and storage to act as a drop-in 'brain' for a desktop device, bring-your-own-device policies… All these point to a world where users are free to use the platform they are used to.

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Re: Crossing over

@FatsBrannigan

I recently costed up a development of an iPad version of some games software currently PC Windows only. C++ the only option to hit performance in A5/5X CPU GPU combinations.

Commercially a Windows (XP and later) > iPad > Windows Metro picture in the market for this product looking to 2013. Android languishes in the maybe someday, lets see what happens with Android tablets in 2012 unfortunately (I gratuitously threw in an Android estimate too, cool but have to accept right now there is no commercial case when heavily budget constrained and there are real concerns about Android fragmentation).

I hope you are right about platform significance decline. I think you probably are in some app categories, especially where client side is lightweight. Unfortunately Apple/Google/Microsoft have shown declining interest in converging APIs during recent years and the per platform cost remains high. Message I'm hearing for heavyweight apps on tablets is Android is the loser for upcoming project starts and situation likely to continue unless Microsoft screw up, or Google and OEMs up their game.

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Anonymous Coward

Ho hum.

Tell your company that I'm happy with the gazillion and one games I already have, TYVM, and there almost daily seems to be something new coming out.

Loser my arse. Someone has their numbers wrong.

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Anonymous Coward

In the next couple of years

Smartphones will have enough power (8 cores, more?) and memory and storage to outperform the average desktops of today. That means you just need your smartphone and a docking station. As long as the OS adapts OK (Ubuntu's new version make sense here) , who needs a desktop?

I'd want Android on the move, Ubuntu or something similar (i.e decent desktop - I like Unity) when docked. That would do EVERYTHING I need, and that include software development.

I'd say whichever eco system get's that right will be on to a winner, and I'd bet on Android/Linux on Arm.

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Re: In the next couple of years

In the next couple of years, a desktop machine will be that powerful it will make an 8 core fondleslab look shite.

Technology advances, not just on phones.

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