back to article Microsoft's Surface plan means the world belongs to Android now

Microsoft roared onto the mobile scene last week with the unveiling of its Surface tablet, but Acer is probably right to question why Microsoft would fight premium iPads with a premium Surface. After all, the next 10 million apps, and the next billion users, are not going to come from the developed, saturated markets of North …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You launch with a good product that people in the developed world like. Then use the momentum to produce budget options.

    Releasing a crippled, low quality device as a way to launch a new platform is risky and hardly inspiring.

    People love concept cars, even though the end product usually is different.

    1. Armando 123

      I quite agree. Notice the quote

      "But the long-term choice for developers is driven by user populations, which are predominately everywhere except where the current mobile market is. "

      Money is more of a driver than population. ten million people struggling to put food on the table will probably not be as lucrative a market as 5000 people who can afford to pay out of pocket to send two kids to Harvard and The Sarbonne.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Agree - its not about population at all, I bet the author of the article does not try to sell his products in Tanzania.. its about money and where is 80% of the worlds money in 20% of the people. that is a market rather than struggle with $1 profits market high and push premium product to those who will buy without thinking create a desire for poorer to desire the high end. And never launch a cheap crappy product or the same author who dished you for not doing it will dish you for a rubbish product on launch.

        All in all the same reason or this article (generate hype and thus traffic for advertising) is how to make it.

        Next will we see an article claiming Ferrari need to start selling in the sub $50,000 market to attain better profits sure in the short term until the name is mud and no longer desired.

        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          > claiming Ferrari need to start selling in the sub $50,000 market

          http://www.carmagazine.co.uk/news/search-results/first-official-pictures/abarth-695-tributo-ferrari/

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I agree and I believe that's why Apple aren't terribly worried about the prospect of low end smartphones in the developing markets. They know very well that as these markets become wealthier that many who will then be able to afford a smartphone will choose the Apple brand; it'll be a status thing and that's largely where Apple's bread is buttered.

      1. mhenriday
        FAIL

        Apple not worried ? For example, about Samsung's products -

        and thus elects to compete by lawyer, rather than by price or performance ? I suggest that, on the contrary, as Mr Asay writes : «... it [Android] gives underdog device manufacturers time to create dominant marketing brands, as Samsung has done». Apple is obviously running scared....

        Henri

    3. Mr Happy :)

      Quality not quantity

      I'm a developer and can tell you know that professional developers will go where the money is not just based on user base.

      Right now there's much more money in iOS and even BB than Android.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ummmmm, yeahhhhh.......

    Android is a cheap and nasty operating system but alas it is the only game in town for poor people.

    Poor people with no money are of little interest to the vendors that make half decent products.

    Ironically, Google has an advertising model that is predicated on selling stuff to its users (well, selling its users personal data really). Thus these poor people with no money are worth nothing to Google either.

    But Mr Assay seems to struggle with getting his head around the most simple business concepts so this has probably passed him by.

    The two points that the author should perhaps remind himself about are:

    1) He started by banging on about Surface. This is a tablet. Android is an utter fail in the tablet space.

    2) The consumers in developing countries ASPIRE to Apple products (and probably MS when they ship Surface). So, as soon as they stop being poor people, they also stop being Android users.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ummmmm, yeahhhhh.......

      How has Android failed in the tablet market then, there are quite a lot of decent options out there.

      or do you find it hard to see past the shine given off by your ipad?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ummmmm, yeahhhhh.......

        There might be 'lots of options out there' but it the fact that no one is buying them appears to have passed you by.......

        1. tom dial Silver badge

          Re: Ummmmm, yeahhhhh.......

          Looks like about 2/3 IOS and 1/3 everything else for tablets. Almost all of "everything else," of course, would be Android. Not a complete rout, then.

          1. Droid on Droid
            Facepalm

            Re: Ummmmm, yeahhhhh.......

            "Looks like about 2/3 IOS and 1/3 everything else for tablets. Almost all of "everything else," of course, would be Android. Not a complete rout, then."

            Yes it is when 5" screen phones are called tablets. Just look at Samsung, their GALAXY Note takes up 2/3 of all their tablet sales and if anyone counting was honest, it would be counted as a phone. In the real world the iPad is outselling the Kindle Fire 10 to 1 with the Nook in third place and the Nook is outselling every Android tablet combined.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ummmmm, yeahhhhh.......

          Nobody buying them?

          Considering that according to IDC, Android had 45% of the tablet market last year (vs Apple's 55%), and the fact that Apple's marketshare has shrunk for 2 quarters in a row, despite a new product launch, I have a feeling that very soon you are going to be wondering what the hell happened...

          There are craploads of Android tablets out there sold, in user homes, but the cherrypicked Apple funded surveys taken outside Apple stores and coffee shops don't always allure to that.

      2. Synthmeister

        It's not the shine

        It's utter failure of sales. Decent options or not, all none-iPad tablets have bombed.

        Your most "successful" iPad tablets have:

        1. Sold at fire sale prices so the companies can write off their loses--HP and RIM

        2. Forked Google out of their own ecosystem while selling a cheap tablet at cost, selling a loss-leader service (Amazon Prime), selling razor-thin margin merchandise--Amazon and B&N.

        3. Simply admitted the tablet market "sucks" --Android's poster child Samsung, which refuses to admit sales figures for tablets or cell-phones.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Ummmmm, yeahhhhh.......

        "Android is an utter fail in the tablet space."

        Eh? How's that? That statement is so stupid that it shocked me into noting that my caps lock was on.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Ummmmm, yeahhhhh.......

      >Poor people with no money are of little interest to the vendors that make half decent products.

      Those people may one day be richer people, and by then be accustomed to your system and Apps in their language. Android is not going away in the tablet space, and can only mature and improve.

      Apple have no great interest in these developing markets - even by the time they are rich enough for tablets - the competition will have improved, lessening the perception of iPads being seen as 'premium' products. Instead, Apple are looking around for the next new product category, with a view to getting in quick to establish a lead and then raking in high margins.

      >banging on about Surface. This is a tablet.

      Er, why the oh-so-definite product categories? The author was writing on the assumption that for tasks not tied to legacy software or big storage requirements, one screen + keyboard is as good as the next screen + keyboard - irrespective of CPU or OS origins, or teh mechanism by which the screen is attached to the keyboard.

      MS think that people might want a device that is halfway between a tablet and a laptop... I'm sure that many people will, as it is an existing compromise (iPad with removable keyboard, Asus Transformer, Bluetooth keyboard for generic Android devices, the Lenevo Ultrabook where the keyboard rotates out of the way... etc. hardly new ground). The main criticism of Windows 8 is that it implies that MS thinks EVERYBODY will want a Tablet/PC transformer thing.

    3. PT

      Re: Ummmmm, yeahhhhh.......

      "Android is an utter fail in the tablet space."

      I'm going to have to disagree with that. You do know, I suppose, that the Kindle Fire and Nook are Android tablets?

      1. Droid on Droid
        Stop

        Re: Ummmmm, yeahhhhh.......

        "I'm going to have to disagree with that. You do know, I suppose, that the Kindle Fire and Nook are Android tablets?"

        No they are not, Android is a trademark of Google, you can't use it without including other propriety Google products and agreeing to Googles T&C.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ummmmm, yeahhhhh.......

        and why were they or more importantly did they make money. Yes a little for Amazon at sale but then they were all jail broken so people could do what they liked and then the profit factor hit zero and continued to fall.

        Where people only want a cheap product sure they will buy but then the wallet closes and they start pirating and MS have no business model there.

        !!! calling for someone with an Android tablet who has not jail broken and pays for every app to make comment!!!

        1. Andrew Peake

          Re: Ummmmm, yeahhhhh.......

          That'd be me then.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ummmmm, yeahhhhh.......

      With a probable Google IO launch tomorrow your timing isn't great. Furthermore, sir, from a software engineering perspective Android is probably the most integrated (advanced?) mobile OS ever built. iOS is beautiful silo working - how many iOS apps can be enhanced by functions never built at the time of deployment? Many criticisms of android are really directed at hardware manufacturers, which is where Apple has the edge.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ummmmm, yeahhhhh.......

      Don't feed the trolls folks...

      There are a lot of them about; the only explanation for his upvotes...

  3. Stubbs

    carrot and stick

    What about the license costs that MS is collects from 50% of Android makers?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: carrot and stick

      >What about the license costs that MS is collects from 50% of Android makers?

      They won't collect them in the new markets.

      The current payees are also PC manufacturers who can't afford to upset MSFT and they sell so few tablets that they just consider it a small price bump on their OEM windows licenses.

      When somebody in China and India starts selling N*100M tablets locally they aren't going to care what MSFT say

  4. Gordon 10 Silver badge
    FAIL

    Typical Asay gibberish

    BRIC markets are not app saturated - Android is cheap - therefore BRIC is a source of App revenue growth.

    Followed immediately by Android App makers find it much harder to monetise than iOS. (but the magic FOSS fairies will fix this some how.)

    Contradiction much?

    Honestly his pieces have moved on from blinkered to completely and utterly inconsistent within the same article.

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      Re: Typical Asay gibberish

      On the plus side, at least his claim that "[In BRIC countries] it's all about Android" followed by a chart showing Android at 29% share versus iOS at 24% in South America and shares of 38% versus 30% in Asia gave the game away relatively early. By his reasoning it's all about iOS in Europe and America (spoiler: it most certainly isn't).

  5. dogged
    FAIL

    Christ....

    Way to contradict your own previous article.

    Have you come to the conclusion that since nobody takes this "Open and Shut" bollocks seriously anymore, a controversial headline and a couple of nice pictures with 500 random words is sufficient?

    Android has effectively failed on tablets already. El Reg keeps posting us Apple propaganda with this "news" as if we didn't already know. Arguing that Surface suddenly means that this highly closed source "open" project suddenly rules the world is even more bizarre than your usual tripe.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Christ....

      "Have you come to the conclusion that since nobody takes this "Open and Shut" bollocks seriously anymore, a controversial headline and a couple of nice pictures with 500 random words is sufficient?"

      Pretty sure that's always been the approach

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Go

      Re: Christ....

      Since neither you nor I are paying to read El Reg, complaining that you didn't get your money's worth isn't going to win the sympathy vote. Doesn't matter which medium you're reading or listening on, something needs to fill up the vacuum that otherwise exists between the really good, original, entertaining or provocative highlights. Maybe you should tell us what those "midlights" ought to look like?

      For myself, I say bring back Dominic Connor. And in his best and most forthright incarnation, like in his articles in November of last year. Not only acting as a cat amongst the IT pigeons, but wading into the commentards afterwards, and sticking it to 'em, with proper insults and name calling on both sides.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Christ.... @Ledswinger

        "Since neither you nor I are paying to read El Reg" but there was no mention of money just an expression of an opinion.

        Does that mean that expressing an opinion is not allowed? Then why are you giving us the benefit of yours?

        As for "midlights": Dear ElReg, can I have a job writing mediocre crap that Ledswinger likes to tolerate in between what he considers to be highlights? No? Thought not.

        And by "mediocre", I'm being generous.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Christ.... @enigmatix

          You flatter yourself. My comments were directed towards dogged, who put rather more effort into his/her/its epistle. However...

          Maybe no money was mentioned, but the point remains - if you don't like something, and you haven't paid for it, then surely your best bet is to go elsewhere.

          To go back to dogged's moan: "way to contradict your own previous article". All very well, but I'd guess the Register isn't aiming for some Jesuit or Morning Star level of internal coherence. Interesting journalism is perhaps about a varied set of articles, and the fact that they publish an article saying that Android tablets are the worst thing since sliced bread, and then an article saying they are the best thing since... well? So fucking what? You can read them if you choose to, and take a view about either. But to moan about the standard of the content in general, or the fact that two articles contradict each other? if that's a problem for you, it's usually an indication that you're reading the wrong book. Although even then I think you'll find a lot of journalism consists of a juicy headline followed by a few hundred words that are rather less interesting.

          As for giving you a job of writing the mid (even low) lights, it's a dirty job but somebody's got to do it - however you won't be getting that job on the evidence here.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            FAIL

            Re: Christ.... @enigmatix

            Now, Now Ledswinger...

            "You flatter yourself. My comments were directed towards dogged, who put rather more effort into his/her/its epistle. However..."

            That much was obvious - I felt the need to defend the idea of expressing an opinion (his and mine) against your petulant little attempt to dictate who posts what.

            "So fucking what? You can read them if you choose to"

            I would direct the same advice to you with regard to the comments. As for the language, it seems to run counter to the impression that you seem to be trying to give regarding your intellect.

            "however you won't be getting that job on the evidence here"

            Awww, again with the wilful missing of the point in order to score some. You might want to explore the meaning of sarcasm.

  6. Spearchucker Jones
    WTF?

    WTF?!?

    Another prediction. Yawn. It's right up there with climate change, father christmas and the whole world crapping its pants because only 6 months ago ZOMG teh Micro$oft is doing HTML5 and won't allow native code on Windows 8. Some of the comments on The Reg at the time were priceless.

    We know how that particular panic panned out.

    When I/you/we don't know what a company is bringing to market articles like this are 100% conjecture. My "feeling" is that W8 will destroy Android on tablets (to be fair there's not much there to destroy). But that statement carries as much weight as this article. None.

  7. Graysonn

    I've read those comments by Horace Dediu in three different locations this morning.

    There's a couple of things to remember. BRIC economies cannot generate money. Anything aimed at them will have to be low priced with low profit margins in orger to generate serious sales and serious profits. So why bother? With the exception of China, none of the others have the purchasing power to warrent developing for. If MS were to develops a cheaper alternative, it'd be seen as shoddy compared to the premium apple products that are on sale in the first world and it probably wouldn't make the money in the developing world. It's better to go head to head with apple. Develop a premium product and hope that the device integration will entice users.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "BRIC economies cannot generate money"

      Do you believe that?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "BRIC economies cannot generate money"

        If I were to go by the bank balance Apple has then yes completely. And if there is a market in the future how many decades till it reaches the same profit already generated in the past 3 years by Apple.

        My guess by that time BRIC will be lusting after something new that costs too much and trying to make cheap version of it. That's how the economies in 3rd world work.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "trying to make cheap version"

          Who actually makes iPads? Is it the debtor nation or is it the creditor nation sitting on $1.4 trillion of US debt?

        2. Andrew Peake

          Re: "BRIC economies cannot generate money"

          If the BRIC countries and other D&E economies cannot generate money then how come so many of the large FMCGs are looking to them for revenue growth?

          Not trying to be inflammatory, just trying to understand

  8. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Chris 3

      Re: Tablets for Uncool people

      I'm not sure about that. I'm a happy iPad user, but I think the Surface looks quite cool - or rather has the potential to be cool - the devil is going to be in the detail, OS UX quality, fit & finish of the tablet, battery life and how well that nifty keyboard thing actually works in practice.

    2. Afflicted.John

      Re: Tablets for Uncool people

      Cool.

    3. MS Rocks

      Re: Tablets for Uncool people

      Ah, bless, bet you think that the little green robot logo is 'cute' as well. As you mentioned, you are not cool so you are probably not a credible judge. Trust me, within the next 5 years most people will hate google for abuse of their trust. Most 'cool' people have already worked this one out.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tablets for Uncool people, @MS Rocks

        Assuming your nickname is for real, you might want to re-examine your understanding of "abuse of trust".

    4. .thalamus
      FAIL

      Speaking of fails...

      Hmmm, if Win 8 is crapware, what the hell can Android be described as? A pile of buggy junk slapped together haphazardly is probably a fairly accurate description.

      Seriously, actually try using Windows 8 and Android 4.0 side by side, then tell me that Windows 8 is the crapware.

      1. asdf Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Speaking of fails...

        >Seriously, actually try using Windows 8 and Android 4.0 side by side, then tell me that Windows 8 is the crapware.

        You should be comparing WP7 to Android if talking about current products people have access too. And as shown by Nokia's quarterlies that comparison hasn't worked out very well. Giving away units and counting them as sales makes for good copy but isn't the best business model for handset makers.

        1. Droid on Droid

          Re: Speaking of fails...

          That would be WP7 vs Android 2.3 then since Googles own states show that hardly anyone is buying Android 4 ( 7% of all Android devices including tablets and increasing by 1% per month ).

          1. asdf Silver badge

            Re: Speaking of fails...

            Point taken. Still even 2.3 can handle multi core processors and allows for the phone to have removable sd storage unlike WP7. Also 2.3 sells more in one day than wp7 does in a quarter.

          2. asdf Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: Speaking of fails...

            > 7% of all Android devices

            yeah if you count the 3rd world. At least you can buy a Android 4 device quite easily more than likely in a shop very near. And where is the Batman (WP8 tablets)?

            1. asdf Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: Speaking of fails...

              Meant to say Win8 but hell doesn't matter if WP7, WP8 or Win8 where are the tablets? Hell its hard to even find a WP7 phone in most shops.

    5. tgm

      Re: Tablets for Uncool people

      Reminds me of Nathan Barley: "Stupid people think it's cool, smart people think it's a joke; also cool"

  9. Alastair Dodd 1
    WTF?

    So if there's all this fragmentation which makes it harder to develop for why is Android still much cheaper to develop for then iOS?

    Fragmentation is v overrated as an issue - surely due to fragmentation windows apps need to run on well over 3000 different devices if not more? Yes this causes issues and increased development time over a closed system like iOS but no way insurmountable and in some ways can be considered almost negligible.

    I don't doubt Apple have the top end of the tablet market sown up but like graphics cards that is not where the real money is mid to low range is where the profits and the real battle will be - shame surface seems to be aimed at the wrong part.

    1. dogged
      Meh

      So if there's all this fragmentation which makes it harder to develop for why is Android still much cheaper to develop for then iOS?

      Because it doesn't require you buy a Mac which is overpriced to start with, and then spend yet more money on the requirements to develop software on that Mac.

      Apple make way more than their 30% protection money from iOS developers.

      1. Sander van der Wal

        It was indeed much better in the past

        With me paying EUR 200 a year to a certificate authority for Symbian Signed, and getting 30% from the sales price on Handango, Handango keeping the 70%. Oh, and I forgot that I needed to buy a PC every two years, while my macbook is now doing fine in its fourth, albeit with a SSD card. And the EUR 40 OSX upgrades instead of the EUR 200 Windows upgrades.

        1. dogged

          @Sander van der Vaal

          Which is why it's so much more expensive to develop for Android, which any 10-year old machine with a free OS on can compile code for. Oh wait, that's not expensive at all!

          Enjoy your crappy Macbook.

          1. Miek
            Thumb Down

            Re: @Sander van der Vaal

            Have you tried using Eclipse and the android device emulator on an old machine?

            1. dogged
              Meh

              Re: @Sander van der Vaal

              Yup. It's not fantastic but it's probably comparable to running a development environment on a four year-old Macbook.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                @dogged

                No, it is n't. Eclipse worked well on my four year old, 2GB Macbook. Now I've added 2GB of memory, it runs phenomenally fast and it is rather nice to have a true UNIX (BSD) underneath and all the mainstream scripting and programming languages, LAMP etc. there without having to scrounge around the internet and hope I've got a compatible set of libraries and tools. I have got an old Thinkpad, that I greatly appreciate; but speeds are not comparable and the last time I tried to update the Linux installation (UBUNTU, automatic) on half of its disc space, it refused to boot into Linux again and, having got OSX/BSD on the mac, I could not be arsed to sort it out.

                I've worked on (and still do) almost every variety of Linux, most UNIXes, including several BSDs and a couple of other operating systems. Spare me the vagaries of the average Linux/GNU release and the time wasted seeking and installing the necessary software (yes, I know about the wonderful interfaces now and the automatic updates; but too often they feel and work like bodged-on afterthoughts, with the command line versions being even worse). Of course, one can pay Redhat, SUSE and others for a proper release with some support; but even then there are oddities and then this "free" OS is not so free. Odd: it's so good Dell and others are remarkably reticent about their Linux offerings, despite the "consumer" programmes (word processors etc.) becoming almost acceptable. My employer (many thousands of servers, virtual and physical around the world) is moving to Redhat. Not bad; but response time, reliability, blade servers etc. make the old Solaris systems look rather wonderful. Sometimes, the network services make paint drying seem like Formula 1 and almost make me like Windows, almost.

                As for the Google Chrome idea of a laptop that needs the network to say, "Hallo world": I travelled with a friend across various parts of Europe, lugging his Chrome machine (present from his loving, "techie" son) and experienced the delights of being unable to install Skype in any form, total uselessness when away from a wi fi service etc.. My mobile was more useful, infinitely so. Yes, it is an iphone. But even his ageing Nokia "smart phone" was more useful and has a decent camera to boot.

                1. Martin Owens

                  Re: @dogged

                  Did some FOSS programmer kill your cat or something? I mean I know you know that half of what you wrote about 'Linux' is an outright lie, so I wonder why you would post it at all.

                  Ah yes, the debian package system is such a 'bold on after thought' that the entire operating system requires it for even the most simple NAS installations. *roll eyes*

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @Sander van der Vaal

              You can use your Win laptop to cut jpeg wallpapers and sell them through Handango for $3 each. Handango will take 70% cut of that, ...ah the good old days of mobile technology.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      yes but you don't see nvidia launch on the budget card do you.First you need to launch the premium and work on the process to make it cheaper.

      Also fragmentation is a problem for Android due to its nature. windows has hardware fragmentation but uses the same OS to keep things working. Android is open and the HW manufacturer can modify alot of code causing problem for developers. Also HW fragmentation. so there lies the issue no solid ground for Android be it in hardware or software.

      1. Tim Almond
        WTF?

        Fragmentation

        If fragmentation is such an issue, where's the evidence so far?

  10. James Hughes 1

    Many people saying Android has failed on tablets..

    Why?

    I've been playing with Android ICS on a tablet and it's pretty good. Seems to do all I'd want a tablet for, perhaps more.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Many people saying Android has failed on tablets..

      Hmmm, cause nobody wants to buy it. That is typically how you judge a product as a failure....

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: Many people saying Android has failed on tablets..

        "Hmmm, cause nobody wants to buy it. That is typically how you judge a product as a failure...."

        So much for Win8 and surface then.

      2. Lee Dowling Silver badge

        Re: Many people saying Android has failed on tablets..

        Nobody wants to buy *Android* or nobody wants to buy a *tablet*? It's an important distinction to make. Tablets are pretty niche in their usage, in my opinion, and I don't know anyone who has one that they own for anything more than a status symbol. Hell, an old boss of mine was given an iPad as a leaving present and I'm pretty sure he just eBay'd it and bought himself a laptop.

        Also, the cheap Android tablets are surprisingly good. ~£60 for a low-end full-Android device with large touchscreen big enough to do browsing / movies on? Not bad at all. People I've shown one that I bought my mother (big games player) have reacted stupidly positively - literally saying things like "Damn, my iPad cost me £XXX and this does all the same type of stuff I do on it".

        I don't think Android is really a failure on tablets. I just think that tablets are the new "netbooks". I think tablets are now a failure to provide appropriate status symbols any more and also don't have a practical niche they can exclusively fill. As such, they are now walking towards toys - and there Android (with a vast library of free and well-known games, and cheap hardware) is likely to win.

        Personally, I won't touch anything else. I literally tell people to go away when they come to me with a problem with their iPad or similar (because the solution is almost always to throw more money at it or take it back to an Apple shop). But Android won me over with just one device after years of putting off having to manage yet-another-computer in my pocket.

        The school I work for are currently looking at just buying a shed-load of Android tablets to do what other schools are doing with iPads in their classrooms. Difference is, (apart from STUPIDLY HUGE cost savings) we can actually manage the devices, and root them if required to do ANYTHING we want. Windows tablets were briefly considered until we actually saw Windows 8 and tried it on a touchscreen. Combine Android with Google Apps for Education and you have a lot of powerful features that you just can't get on other tablets.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          Re: Many people saying Android has failed on tablets..

          Lee, your comment just echoes my thoughts almost exactly.

          Many people are assuming that Android is failing on the tablet, yet apart from those buying iPads because they are the cool and hip thing to have at the moment, I don't see droves of people buying tablets because they are inherently useful, not in the way that they are splashing out on mobile phones or laptops.

          The reality is that tablets are still looking for a niche other than media consumption to fire that demand.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Many people saying Android has failed on tablets..

            You need to get out a bit. I see lots of people, some I would never have imagined doing it, buying iPads.Commuter transport is full of them. Just last week I even saw a tourist using one as her camera for snapping holiday pictures (bit over the top, holding up something that big as a camera).

            More and more genuine "techies" are getting them for personal email, web, storing PDFs of technical documentation, spreadsheets and taking notes, because they have good battery life, seem not to go wrong or need fiddling with, are light and compact to carry when travelling or going to a meeting. They are often on the desk, next to the work PC keyboard or laptop, being used for storing documentation and note-taking, taking up even less room than my old fashioned log book.

            The business people are using them in droves for documents, notes, presentations. And they look good, fairly important if it starts to travel everywhere with you, replace the coffee table book and so on. Even my most technically-minded son, who prides himself on building his own super-fast PC, has abandoned that for all but games, in favour of the convenience and ease of use of his iPad. You may be pleased to know he used his free, mobile upgrade to move from iPhone to Android.

            So, widen your circle somewhat. Open your eyes and imagination. By the way, I have not got an iPad and do not expect to need one.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Many people saying Android has failed on tablets..

            A tablet may be 'nice to have' but it is also hard to justify due to its general lack of practicality. Value for money is still an important consideration for most of the world. Maybe there is a price / functionality threshold waiting to be crossed that will make tablets as popular as phones or wristwatches?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Many people saying Android has failed on tablets..

        "Hmmm, cause nobody wants to buy it. That is typically how you judge a product as a failure...."

        Yes, but I also don't want to buy an iPad. I just don't want a tablet!

        Maybe it's the demographic I mix with or something, but I don't know anyone - I repeat *anyone* - who owns an iPad, or who has a spare £400 they can justify spending on what is basically an inessential toy. I am still yet to be convinced that there's some 'magical' purpose in my life that a tablet would fulfill between my Android phone and my Win7/Ubuntu laptop. It would be of no use in my job and I drive to work so couldn't use it on my commute... what am I going to do with it exactly?

      4. Mike Manship
        Thumb Down

        Re: Many people saying Android has failed on tablets..

        Er wrong... In fact you are completely wrong.

        I've resisted getting a tablet because although I like tablets for the user experience and convenience etc. I for one actually like using a proper keyboard especially for email, docs and forums etc. So as soon as I read the review of the Asus Transformer on the Reg I thought a) That's exactly what I'm looking for b) Its also really cool and c) I don't have to put up with all that Apple or MS bollocks.

        And you know what its brilliant and every single person I've showed it too including Apple Fanbois have been impressed.

        The true fact of the matter is without doubt that although Apple do have an early lead, the tablet wars have only just begun.

        Same thing happened with smart phones, Apple are not looking so dominant there any more are they?

        1. Mikel
          Facepalm

          It's a matter of scale

          Android tablets will sell this year alone more than ten times the sum of the entire 17-year history of Windows tablets. Relative to the iPad, this isn't record setting. Calling it a failure though is a bit much. There are now hundreds of brands and thousands of models. They must be making money somewhere.

    2. Geoff Campbell
      Linux

      Re: Many people saying Android has failed on tablets..

      Same here, and there's plenty of innovation going on with Android tablets, too - witness my current favourite, the Asus Transformer, of which MS's Surface is just a copy, really, albeit apparently a beautifully thought-out and engineered copy.

      Only thing we can say with any certainty is that the next few years are going to be quite a ride, in a good way, at least in the IT world.

      GJC

    3. Miek
      Linux

      Re: Many people saying Android has failed on tablets..

      Nobody wants to buy Android tablets? Getting my new Galaxy Tab 2 very soon actually. I guess most people are waiting for the 'right' android tablet that suits their needs and pricing requirements. With apple you can choose from an iPad or .... an iPad, most people bought the latter.

      The cheap android tablets on Amazon get reasonable reviews and it also appears people who don't want to shell out for an iPad are actually buying these cheap Chinese tablets.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Re: Many people saying Android has failed on tablets..

      Android has 45% of the tablet market, iOS had 55% in 2011. Expect that to be close to 50/50 in 2012 and 60/40 in favor of Android in 2013.

      http://tabtimes.com/news/ittech-stats-research/2012/03/14/idc-android-tablet-market-share-reached-45-2011

      Only a total idiot (or Apple braindead) would consider that a failure...

      1. Droid on Droid
        FAIL

        Re: Many people saying Android has failed on tablets..

        Spin it how you like, shipped vs sold etc. Android has been a complete failure in the tablet market to date and their is no reason to believe that will change soon.

        1. James Hughes 1

          Re: Many people saying Android has failed on tablets.. @Droid on Droid

          How can you say that when Barry of the Shitting Peas gave you some figures that seem to say the exact opposite?

          And just for the record, as the OP, I asked why people thought Android was/is failing on tablets - I wasn't claiming it was (and I don't think it is).

  11. Stephen Channell
    Thumb Down

    Mixing two stories doesn’t stop it being twaddle!

    For sure the premium iPhone market in the developed world is saturated, but while trendy coffee-shops are stuffed with iPhone strokers, laptops still outnumber tablets for three simple factors [1] RSI [2] productivity [3] flexibility (useful work apps like wordprocessors, Spreadsheets).

    Sure, Apple “owns” the tablet market, but it’s not a saturated market because of the coffee-shop scope for grown (but maybe the very-very-big-iPhone market is). The market for a capable hybrid tablet/ultrabook is probably as big as the current iPad market, and if RSI cases are significant, the pure tablet-bigger-than-a-paperback model might have peeked.

    The latest and next generation of apps are not more Angry-Birds or ever better shopping-lists; the future for successful “apps” is with web-enriched services and information; that is where HTML5/ECMAScript has advantages over {Objective-C, Java (ME/Davlik), .NET}. Mattie’s statistics actually point to web-technology hegemony not Android.

    In a HTML5 world, you’ll get just as Angry-Birds as you got with iOS/Android/Mango/Symbian, but with one code-base, and no device lock-in.. Mattie’s “Surface plan means the world belongs to Android” is irrelevant twaddle.

    1. Spearchucker Jones
      Go

      Re: Mixing two stories doesn’t stop it being twaddle!

      Agree with most of what you said. The exception is that HTML5 bit at the end. HTML5 is in the *very* early adopter phase. Unless you're using it to create native apps (PhoneGap) you're doing yourself no favours - it cuts out a significant proportion of potential users. In a Microsoft-oritented corprate world HTML5 is an even tougher proposition.

      The other part that doesn't sit well me is this "move everything online" trend. Sure, it has it's place, 'specially for stuff like shopping, government services, content dissemination etc. However personal data lacks something in this wonderful world of everything online - what it lacks is user control and consent.

      My stuff is on my own hardware. I don't share. And I sure as f*** don't put it online, no matter how shiny HTML5 looks.

      1. tgm

        Re: Mixing two stories doesn’t stop it being twaddle!

        "HTML5 is in the *very* early adopter phase."

        Not on iOS and Android it's not - which is what this article is about.

        1. Spearchucker Jones
          FAIL

          Re: Mixing two stories doesn’t stop it being twaddle!

          "Not on iOS and Android it's not - which is what this article is about."

          That explains "Microsoft Surface" in the title.... and - wait for it - in the article. How silly of me.

          Besides that, the fact it's on iOS and Android doesn't change it's early adopter status. Especially in the corprate world, where HTML5 might work on an iPhone, but not on the desktop. Do get a web app working everywhere you can code it up in HTML5, then again in HTML3, and spend twice as much than just opting for HTML3, which works everywhere.

          You should move over to Silicon Valley. Those idiots also keep thinking they can "disrupt" old stalwarts like Craig's List by re-writing existing apps in HTML5.

  12. Mikel
    Windows

    We're going mobile

    Microsoft isn't coming with us.

    1. System 10 from Navarone
      Happy

      Re: We're going mobile

      Microsoft isn't coming with us.

      Steve Ballmer will be running after the speeding car in total disbelief that the computer family has finally dumped him at the side of the road. I can't wait.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    not investment advice

    I recall Mr Asay not so long ago gushing about how Facebook's potential would put Google's valuation in the shade. Seeing how that call went, now might be a good time to buy MS stock?

    Seriously though, the surface looks great until you put Steve Balmer up on stage with it and then all you can notice is this big bald uncharismatic twat holding something or other. At some point Bill Gates needs to come back and steady the ship or he'll have much less of a fortune to dedicate to fighting malaria because Ballmer will have done for it.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: not investment advice

      Fighting malaria or fighting Ballmer: which would you spend a few billion dollars on? Pro tip: Ballmer looks scrappy; might be a tough match.

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Pirate

        Re: not investment advice

        He realized that you could sell that BASIC paper tape for money instead of sharing it with bearded people crusing the hallways.

        He thus single-handedly spawned the copyright moaning industry and pirates were declared a major factor in the decline of the Western Empire.

  14. Matt 75
    FAIL

    dodgy statistics

    Guess I'll be the first to point out that comparing a '302 per cent increase in job postings for Android developers' to a '220 per cent jump for iOS developers' is meaningless unless you have some other numbers for comparison... there might have only been 1 Android job posting originally and 5000 iOS postings!

    1. proto-robbie
      Boffin

      Re: dodgy statistics

      No, you cannot have 4.02 job postings. Much cerebration leads me to assert that (if 302% is exact) that the fewest job postings there could have been is 50.

      The minimum number of postings if 302% is not exact is left as an exercise for someone less burdened than I.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not quite true.

    "Still, Android scores far worse than iOS in Vision Mobile's developer survey for its ability to generate revenues, largely due to the comparative few Android users with credit cards on file"

    With Android, developers are free to develop on PC, Mac, Linux, Windows (even on Android itself), so no hardware to buy, and it's a only one-off developer fee of $25. Because of the low entry costs for Android development, there are plenty of free apps and games. If you are wanting to SELL one, You NEED to make users want to buy it, it has to be better than what's out there for free. Much of the time it's not.

    On iOS, it's a cartel, because everyone needs to buy a Mac and pay yearly developer fees, they have to charge for apps, on iOS, it's become the norn for developers to charge a $1 even for something totally crap. At least that same crap is free on Android.

    1. Andy ORourke
      FAIL

      Re: Not quite true.

      " they have to charge for apps"

      You sure about that? I have LOADS of free apps, some of which were compelling enough for me to upgrade (either to the "full" version or just to get rid of the Adverts)

      There is even a top paid / top free listings in the app store

  16. Tank boy
    FAIL

    Open and Shut?

    More like butt hurt and looking for something that pays more, or something that can possibly make the author more relevant. Dude, run your company into the ground and spare us you sanctimony.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Pint

      Re: Open and Shut?

      <- you win one of these

  17. Albert

    It's all about the kids

    What the kids use today will be the standard in 10 years time.

    iPhones in most cases are hand me downs from parents.

    I see kids with Blackberry's everywhere in the UK.

    I see very few Android phones in the hands of kids.

    My bet in the kid market will give Blackberry something to pivot on if they can get some fun apps and games in there. Then it's a 4 way race again.

    1. David Dawson
      Pint

      Re: It's all about the kids

      To put my anecdotal penneth worth in, all I see kids with where I live is android. Normally one of the cheapo/ older HTC ones like the wildfire (or whatever the networks are giving away with a sim card these days).

      Blackberries were popular, but most of my sons friends stopped using them a couple of years ago. Once the critical mass of friends changed (away from BBM) and they realised alternates were available on android for their messaging fix, they all seemed to switch pretty quickly, with the odd iphone from a parent.

      Thats just my experience, of course.

      I reckon Blackberry is in zombie mode, shuffling along with nokia.

      Even Baidu sells more than windows phone. They really shouldn't have abandoned windows mobile.

    2. n4blue
      Facepalm

      Re: It's all about the kids

      "What the kids use today will be the standard in 10 years time"

      Utter rubbish.

      Sent from my Sinclair zxPad

  18. Colin Millar
    FAIL

    "ability to generate revenues"

    The four little words that mean everything.

    Until android can be exploited to do this it is not going anywhere that matters.

    Beware of writers talking about "innovative" ways of monetising something - it means that they are crossing their fingers and hoping that someting will turn up.

    And all those figures comparing stuff like job listings for Android vs iOS developers? Apples and pears - just compare the background environments from whence those two things come - it wouldn't be significant if the listings were a thousand times greater for android.

    1. Mikel
      Windows

      Re: "ability to generate revenues"

      I hear that Rovio's set of "Angry Birds for Android" has generated more revenues and profits than all Windows Phone apps combined.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Phonegap and Appcelerator

    A good article until it suggested that either Phonegap or Appcelerator are anything more than toys at the moment.

    Do I really want to have to write my own Scroll-View acceleration algorithm in JavaScript? (yes, you will with Phonegap) or run everything on the UI thread? (yes, you will with Appcelerator). Do I want to write a native 'plugin' everytime I want to do anything a little bit different (you know, that might differentiate my app)? Yes again.

    Maybe in 3 or 4 years time, but for now these are not anywhere near serious development tools.

    1. Spearchucker Jones
      Go

      Re: Phonegap and Appcelerator

      EXACTLY this.

      1. Oli Wright
        Thumb Up

        Re: Phonegap and Appcelerator

        You forgot the real benefit of using PhoneGap. Straight from the Getting Started guide for Android it'll teach you the excellent practice of requesting as many permissions as possible. This will in turn endear you to your users and to every other person who wants to see users paying attention to what permissions they accept.

        No, wait, I have something backwards there ...

  20. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. dogged

        Re: Android is running away with the China smartphone market

        All I see in Shanghai is wall-to-wall iPhones.

        This makes me wonder what you're really seeing.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

  21. arrbee

    Its all horses for courses, but so far I've found my GBP 100 Android tablet to be the bees knees for following the footie when moving about the house / garden (and office, with care) and for streaming to our dumb TV.

    Still looking for other stuff to do with it, e.g. I could use it for skype but that would risk having to handle office calls at any hour of the day which is most definitely not a benefit. News aggregation etc, meh.

    Apart from slowly adding apps as needed, last one was for train times, I guess playing with the dev tools is the next step.

    For me I'd need to be using it 3 or 4 hours a day before I thought it worth spending more on a tablet - same as for a phone really.

  22. blueprint
    Facepalm

    Wishful thinking yet again

    Blah blah blah, we do Android, but all the money's in iOS at the moment, so Android's somehow got to win out in the long run... please!

    Pitiful, surely you can get somebody a bit more even-handed than this without the vested interests to do the opinion pieces?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wishful thinking yet again

      Money to develop software doesn't *have* to come from retailing software. There's nothing to stop hardware manufacturers or even Google (if they fancied the idea) from investing some cash to expand the market for their own Android based products.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bollocks article, but some interesting questions here...

    First, the obvious huge missing point in the article: Developers go where the money is, not where the biggest irrelevant number is. They target iOS over android because they make more money (by quite a long way) for less work (fragmentation IS an issue we have to deal with).

    So maybe there's a huge number of potential customers in africa. I could target that market... and accept african wages, because while the number of phones out there might be huge, the number of paying app purchasers is very low, and even the advertising potential is very low because advertisers look for the money too.

    Would I seriously go after the chinese market? No. Actually a decent portion of my sales come from there, so it's worth 'supporting' the chinese market, definitely, but making that first choice? Only if you're planning longer term, and want to build your customer base early. That might work for say a search engine or a social site, or perhaps even an MMORPG, but only a minority of developers are going to look that far ahead. The profit is still mostly in the US.

    Then there's the old platform wars. The iPhone is expensive, and in a country with low wages cheap android models will ensure that the market goes to google. When the market matures, and it's worth serious dev attention? Things can change. Look at the china market, and you find that the iPhone is very much the phone of choice when people can afford it (they're seriously brand crazy!) Maybe as china matures android will lose ground. Maybe people will be used to android and will stick with it. Who knows.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bollocks article, but some interesting questions here...

      Oh yeah, and the article completely missed the point that phones and tablets are different, and are bought for different purposes. Android on tablet is a disaster for devs so far, the numbers are low, and the usage data on the few that have been sold suggest a lot aren't being used much, or not for running apps at least.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    100X better development tools

    I had to laugh at this. Coming from the world of Eclipse and IntelliJ Idea (Android) to XCode (IOS) is a bit like getting your fingernails pulled out by a snail. Slow and painful.

    1. Armando 123

      Re: 100X better development tools

      XCode stil beats Visual Studio. Honestly, VS feels so Iron Curtain it must have been written in Vladivostok in the late 70s

  25. gujiguju

    Opera hybrid model

    Interesting take on things the blurry venn diagram of profits and market share.

    I'm surprised you didn't mention Opera's browser and their HUGE (and growing) market share outside of North America & Europe, supporting 3000 handsets and tablets.

    http://techie-buzz.com/mobile-news/opera-mini-5-1-download.html

    Opera having an Opera-branded "Mobile Store" in their Speed Dial, while offering a low-cost browsing solution on more than 3000 phones/tablets is impressive and quite unique. The unacknowledged fact that Opera is the #1 mobile browser globally is more than a bit humorous...

    http://gs.statcounter.com/#mobile_browser-ww-monthly-201105-201205-bar

  26. fung0

    Android is a Success because Microsoft is a Failure

    My household includes several Android devices (more every day, it seems). And I've used a number of others in my work. They're great. They do everything I want them to do. True, the UI is not as slick as it should be... but it's still way more functional than Apple's dumbed-down approach. The selection of apps is far more than sufficient. But what really makes Apple a non-starter for me is the same thing that made me choose Windows 3.0 over the Mac: openness. Flexibility. Connectivity. Support for standards (like connecting to USB without going through a shopping app). The ability to get under the hood and shift things around. A real file system.

    Those are all the things that Windows USED TO provide. Windows wasn't truly 'open' as in 'open source,' and it certainly wasn't 'free' as in 'free speech.' But it was open enough. It had the advantages of big, centralized development (consistency, compatibility, reliability) but also the advantages of openness: well-documented APIs, the ability to run on most any type of hardware, and so on. Now, Microsoft is abandoning those traits, that once made it great. And leaving it to Android to fill the gap.

    There's a reason for this epic blunder.. Ballmer. He's chasing Apple's quarterly financials, to further his own career, rather than steering Microsoft toward actual profitability. He doesn't understand computing, and he doesn't understand Microsoft's place in the market. Forbes recently picked him as the number-one CEO who should have been fired years ago. But it's still not too late. Microsoft can't be Apple, and Ballmer can only demolish the company by trying. Microsoft should, and still could, out-compete Android. But under Ballmer, that will never happen.

  27. Michael Neumann

    what's wrong with "I don't know"?

    The article's details make it no less ridiculous. Surface isn't even out and MS has a record of coming from behind - remember WordPerfect, Lotus, Ashton-Tate... ? The future is long. Even Android isn't going anywhere. It's just silly to rule out the possibility that non-Apple hardware manufacturers will finally manage to put out something impressive, or, failing that, make a large space for themselves based on low price and 'good enough'.

  28. Stu 18
    Stop

    I thought I read that MS gets more $$ from every Andriod sold due to patents or is that an urban myth.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Memories

    The tablet market is a replay of the smartphone market. People have such short memories.

  30. heynownow
    Linux

    webos?

    Wonder if Open WebOS has any chances of redemption when it's released in Sept. It's still a brilliant alternativeto the big two already in the tablet space.

  31. Martijn Otto

    If google were to stop their foolish pigheadedness of requiring credit cards to pay for apps, the number of people buying would go up by a great number.

    A lot of android users are too young to have credit cards, but they do have money to spend! Also, many countries (like Netherlands) don't use credit cards that much. I don't have one, for example.

  32. Chris Beach

    Business Market

    Cept Microsoft really aren't going for the iPad either, they're going for the business market. Hence the touch, keyboard and pen...its productivity and creation.

    The coding, is similar to the current .NET methodology, which business are already used to.

    Think about how many of those little hand-held signature devices you see, or the ones the gas/electric meter guys use, what are they all running...Windows CE... That's the where Microsoft see the biggest market, running 'boring' but essential business apps.

    Consumers are an secondary bonus, and so they can afford to just target the high-end iPad crowd...they don't need to worry about the mid/low end...that'll come by default.

  33. multipharious

    Comparisons

    Surface is clearly priced to be a concept that is non-threatening to the OEM ecosystem. It is a device that says "this is possible" but prices itself into obscurity that only a handful of people will purchase. Details of worldwide availability are not even available, but with limited distribution this tends to support my claim.

    All that said, I feel Surface highlights what I like best about my tester device so far. I had a rough initial experience with Windows 8 in VirtualBox then to do a fair test I installed on a real machine.

    I like that I have a keyboard(physical and onscreen,) touchpad, and touchscreen, and use all of them. I like that I have user profiles so that (unlike the iPad and various Android devices floating around my house) I can create multiple accounts just like a standard desktop so if someone else wants to check their email I can walk away from the device and they have a Guest account - not access to my email. The final convincing bit for me is that I took just my Windows 8 device with me on vacation, and had to do a bit of real work. Instead of the mind numbingly slow Android and iOS on screen keyboards, I had a real keyboard and mouse to use. I have Office 2010 on there, and prepped the device before I left with all my normal desktop applications for the Windows world. I did not have to use PuTTY while on vacation but it is installed. Instead of having to find, buy, and use Apps to bridge the gap, I use my usual comfortable combination of open source and commercial Win7compat stuff that I use on my primary work machines. I cannot even explain how much better that makes it for "real use" than my iPad or Android devices...so how can there even be a comparison? It is not even the same category.

  34. 2cent

    Future Headline: Security draws Coders

    If Microsoft starts to really control its software/hardware, it may be possible for it to create secure exchange on the net.

    The other side of this is that code writers are not involved with security, as Microsoft databases all code and keys. (ZEN closed systems are always opening, open systems are always closing)

    Coders will start moving in Microsoft's direction and reverse fleeing corporate clients if they can make this a reality and prove it works.

  35. David Strum
    Windows

    Who lays the Golden Eggs - not Jack Ballamer

    Apple is laying the golden eggs. That’s something MS has been unable to do consistently for the last 10-years apart from the X-box. Lately its OS offering has been appallingly yolky – leaving the company with egg on its face. Let’s face it, MS is now just a follower of Apple and it will have to be ready to change gears again when the next i-dea surfaces.

    "i smell the blood of an englishmarket" go Android! go!

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