back to article Notebook makers turn to Android in face of Windows woes

Dissatisfied with sales of Windows 8 notebook and tablets, major PC vendors have reportedly joined Intel in a new push to launch convertible fondleslabs based on Google's Android OS. So sayeth the supply-chain sleuths at Taiwanese tech news site DigiTimes, which cites anonymous sources inside the notebook vendors. Chinese …

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  1. Buzzword

    Metro

    Just kill Metro and bring back the Start menu. There, that's everything fixed for Microsoft.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Metro

      Not quite fixed. How about...

      1. Bring back the start menu

      2. Kill Metro/TIFKAM

      3. Fire Balmer

      4. File for Chapter 11

      (4 is just a dream sadly)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Metro

      Here is an equation for you math fans:

      Windows 8 - Metro + start menu = Windows 7

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      Re: Metro

      Problem is. Metro is key to them selling you apps and locking you into everything Microsoft.

      That's why metro whilst being obviously bad fit for Windows 8,is still with us.

      1. Adam 1 Silver badge

        Re: Metro

        I don't care if TIFKAM is kept, as long as you access it from a shortcut in the start menu that they reinstate.

      2. tabman
        Unhappy

        Re: Metro

        @ Barry shitpeas

        Well you do have a choice of not using it. Options are simple, use the keyboard to switch to desktop or install a start meu replacement.

        Also, you don't need to use the MS Marketplace (even though there is some very good stuff there), you can even pin apps and peograms to TIFKAM should you wish. I know it is sport on el reg to spread FUD but some of it is so badly researched or just plain wrong it makes the commentator nlook stupid (this last commentbois not directed at you Barry but some here really take the biscuit).

        p,s, not a fanboy, I use win 8, win 7, Win XP, Debian ( on RPI), ubuntu on x86 and I`m writing this on droid 4.2

        1. tabman
          Facepalm

          Re: Metro

          Sorry for the typos! That is the main disadvantage of typing on an on screen keyboard!

    4. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Metro

      I think companies are realising that having 30% of the cost of their sales as being an unnecessary expense is MS main problem.

      I've yet to hear anyone on an android device complain about lack of MS compatibility.

      1. slightly-pedantic

        Re: Metro

        On one level I agree absolutely- take away MS operating system cost and an Android convertible is a great alternative- nearly. However, I have tried to use Android as a travelling laptop replacement- it's mouse- compatibility gives it a huge advantage over iOS for desktop-type applications. However, the office-suites proved, for work needs, to be inadequate. All the office alternatives I tried were buggy and all of them had compatibility issues which meant you often couldn't work with other people using Office. Finally, fast task switching is no substitute for windowing when it comes to work tasks.

        However, Win8 (Not RT!) on my Atom powered Samsung convertible is a great work combination. I can run all my apps except modern games (the original Call of Duty is about as good as it gets!), I've even done a little light video editing. Moreover in this form factor a proper stylus makes a huge difference- and windows handwriting recognition works very well for me. It's also much much faster than the Android+Tegra 2 I was using before.

        The biggest issue with this option seems to be cost. This machine seems to retail at around £650-750 at the moment- that's way too high to gain widespread adoption. I'd love to know how much of that is Intel's fee for the Clovertrail chipset and Microsoft's for Win8?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Metro

          I've heard of volume prices of $30-$50 for OEMs for W8. So roughly an +£30-40 at retail for W8 vs Android all other things being equal is a rule of thumb. Also deals for W8+Office. Intel prices are kept pretty quiet and deals are done but Clover Trail+ SoC must be typically sub $50 and all the talk is Bay trail being competitive with ARM SoC.

          The BT improvements are major so little point in launching a new CT product now (or if you are a consumer, avoid buying one unless desperate). Not that HP and others haven't proved themselves capable of launching pointless devices before.

          Interesting topic, shame most people here seem more interested in talking about why they hate Microsoft or Metro than discussing x86 Android notebooks.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Metro

        That's because they're using them as a "net book", a device to play some games, music and read facebook.

        Once you actually try to use an Android device for creating code, music, art, spreadsheets (with macros) and so on they fall flat.

        Someone where I work uses three very large monitors, how is some crappy Android tat going to handle that?

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Working for devices with smaller screens?

      'Don't expect Microsoft to take the threat lying down, though. The software giant is reportedly working with manufacturers to launch a new wave of Windows fondleslabs with smaller screens, which it hopes will be more competitive with such devices as Google's Nexus 7 and Apple's iPad Mini.'

      Crikey they are so out of touch, didn't they know that the trend is for 'bigger is better' screens. They always seem to be playing catchup the wrong way down a one way street.

      Samsungs next best selling mobile phone is to have a 22" screen.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Working for devices with smaller screens?

        Indeed, it's catch up all the time. MS has for the past few years been run by committee, and a fairly clueless one at that, sorry, MS have been run by Ballmer the Baboon who heads a clueless committee. Actually, a bit unfair, Office 365 and Live are very decent, albeit still not flexible enough, but very decent nonetheless. For my desktop needs though, it seems that MS are going to abandon me and throw the baby out with the bathwater as they focus all their efforts on mobile whilst ignoring the fact that most of us want BOTH mobile AND desktop, not some crap hybrid of the two. If there is no Windows 7 continuation and tweaking then MS is going to die, at least for me, swapping for the excellent Mint 14 etc.

    6. mil
      Alert

      Re: Metro - If only it was so easy

      The reason Metro is there and in your face is so they can tax all development on Windows. Why do you think they killed WPF, Silverlight, WindForms and they never came up with a good alternative?

      They want developers to move to the WinRT API and lock down all Windows development. Metro is a cash cow of the future, so they will not back down from this path easily. They may sugar-coat it but that is all.

    7. plrndl
      Linux

      Re: Metro

      They've already done this. It's called "Windows 7".

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Metro

      Metro=Fisher-Price=Crap

      1. breakfast
        Thumb Down

        Re: Metro

        I think you're being tremendously unfair on Fisher Price. Their products are very well suited to their role and their target demographic consider them both fun and easy to use.

        So basically the opposite of Metro.

      2. Benchops

        Re: Metro

        Fisher-price isn't crap (or at least it wan't in the 70s). It's just aimed at pre-schoolers.

    9. WatAWorld

      Re: Metro

      Getting rid of Metro, bringing back the start button, firing Balmer, none of that is going to make our current computers obsolete.

      The problem is we have no reason to buy new machines when the old machines are more than adequate.

      If Windows 8 were a problem, people would be buying huge amounts of Apple product, or installing Linux. They are not.

      It is simple market saturation.

      They'll be a bump next year as Windows XP support ends, creating a need to get new machines. But then it is back to market saturation.

    10. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Metro

      Almost.

      Bring back the classic theme too.

      Actually, just backport the updated file transfer dialog. The new task manager's neat but Sysinternals already had that covered.

  2. Dennis 6
    Trollface

    Poor M$

    I spent all my professional life loathing Microsoft and always its works. I never thought I would start to feel sorry for them. It is really amazing how huge corporations can screw up so badly.

    1. Alan Firminger

      Re: Poor M$

      I don't feel sorry for them.

      Microsoft were unethical from MSDOS, then more so when the internet let them want to own their customers. All big corporations in sight are unethical, strangely MS seem to be growing out of it.

      1. Dennis 6
        Pirate

        Re: Poor M$

        I started to loath M$ when I learnt how they deliberately rigged Windows 3 so it wouldn't run on DR DOS, and wasted days of people's time by generating confusing and meaningless error messages which basically meant 'Gotcha'.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Poor M$

        Microsoft were unethical from MSDOS, then more so when the internet let them want to own their customers

        IMHO their biggest crime is establishing unethical behaviour as a default attitude for non-banking corporations, and considering fines for breaking the law as the cost of doing business instead of a reason to correct behaviour.

        All big corporations in sight are unethical, strangely MS seem to be growing out of it.

        I don't think so, they probably just got better at hiding it. Please don't tell me that you think that UEFI was actually developed for the customers' benefit..

        1. Oninoshiko

          Re: Poor M$

          IMHO their biggest crime is establishing unethical behaviour as a default attitude for non-banking corporations, and considering fines for breaking the law as the cost of doing business instead of a reason to correct behaviour.

          I think you'll find this was already the case before MS came along. Look to any of the captains of industry from when the sherman anti-trust act was passed in the US (around 1890). Then add IBMs behavior via the subsidiary Deutsche Hollerith-Maschinen Gesellschaft mbH. Makes Microsoft look like a damned saint. (And yes, that probably counts as the Goodwin)

        2. WatAWorld

          Re: Poor M$

          Son, you've obviously never used version .0 of any IBM product.

          You've never had a contracting company swap out the experienced guys who learned on your project for inexperienced guys.

          You've never had a programmer or project leader pick a programming product on the basis of it looking good on their resume.

          Ethics have been in short supply long before Gates came along.

      3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Poor M$

        >Microsoft were unethical from MSDOS

        You aren't old enough to have dealt with IBM, ICL and even DEC - at least when MSFT **** you they let you install the lubricant

      4. WatAWorld

        Re: Poor M$

        Are they more unethical than the company that sells battery powered devices with irreplaceable batteries?

        Are they more unethical than the company that sold off its remaining 486 processors as "pentium upgradable" when the pentium processor that fit in the 486 slot would not be built for 2 years?

    2. MrMur

      Re: Poor M$

      All empires fall eventually.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Poor M$

      Don't feel sorry for them. They are not even sorry for themselves. Nor have they learned anything. Look what they are up to with Foxconn. It makes me want to fart, spit, vomit, and generally excrete anything foul that I can when MS is mentioned. Excuse me while I use the bathroom now.

  3. Martijn Otto
    Thumb Up

    Good news

    No more Microsoft tax. These things will also likely run Debian or Ubuntu just fine.

    1. mIRCat
      Pint

      Re: Good news

      "No more Microsoft tax."

      You must have missed the last paragraph of the article. Microsoft will take their pound of flesh, whether by 'innovating' or by lawyers.

      Cheers to Friday.

      1. Marcelo Rodrigues
        Pint

        Re: Good news

        "You must have missed the last paragraph of the article. Microsoft will take their pound of flesh, whether by 'innovating' or by lawyers."

        Up to a point, no? Think about it. If (and only if) the OEMs are going to sell something without Windows installed, is only a matter of time before they start selling something WITHOUT an OS installed! Microsoft is stalling this, saying it is all about piracy - but we know that is not true.

        Google OS is Linux. Well, Linux kernel, and (to my argument) all that matters. Why? Because the drivers (sorry, modules) come WITH the kernel! A hardware that runs a Google OS will, probably, run on a standard distro!

        A dream coming true... :D

        1. graeme leggett

          Re: Good news

          "time before they start selling something WITHOUT an OS installed!"

          But they won't sell many to the average public.

          My reasoning:

          1) The ordinary person expects to switch their machine on and for it to work, not to have to load the software themself

          2) Poor level of support from the OEM for the user. Though cheap for the OEM, and good for the local IT shop (bad for family members who have to support relatives unpaid).

          Not to say there isn't room to sell bare machines to businesses and expert but the larger businesses would always be in a position to negoiate on licencing and the number of the latter alone wouldn't be a great dent in Microsoft's revenue.

        2. garbo
          Linux

          Re: Good news

          "only a matter of time before they start selling something WITHOUT an OS installed!" Another reason I love Bangkok. Been buying computers for years, dirt cheap, no software installed, then sticking in my choice of Linux. Surprised the "First" World democracies don't offer this option.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Good news

            They do offer that choice to businesses, and you can even build your own if you are that way inclined.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Good news

        I have just spent over three years in court arguing the merits of "prior art" that conclusively demonstrated that my technology (Stacker) pre-dated Microsoft's specious patent claim - it IS possible to beat the bastards. Damages are being calculated in a Californian court right now, and my payout will be many millions. My team have claimed $15 per copy of any type of DOS or Windoze sold since DOS 6 (the introduction of "doublespace"), but may settle for slightly less. We have successfully shown that the NTFS compression technology is no different.

        There is no content in Android that "belongs" to Microsoft. I will be happy to take that to court, too.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Good news

          "I have just spent over three years in court arguing the merits of "prior art" that conclusively demonstrated that my technology (Stacker) pre-dated Microsoft's specious patent claim - it IS possible to beat the bastards."

          Yes, but it's taken 20 years for you to get that decision. In most other long-running cases MS has won via attrition.

          I hope you get the $15/copy PLUS triple damages for wilful infringement.

          (I had a stac hardware card back in the day. They were a great piece of technology)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Good news

            Do you know anyone that works for MS? Make sure they feel absolutely filthy, sick, perverted, depressed, and any manner of negative feelings for their actions. Yes, even their commute is cursed. Evil prevails because good men do nothing and weaklings take jobs at the evil empire. You are the scumbags that empower MS. Do you not have any pride in your work, in your creations? Obviously not. So you do not deserve the respect of your peers - if we even consider you that. I consider you a cancer. Change your ways or die in shame. I don't care if MS was so much better than the others that came before. Anyone that builds something for the purpose of vendor-lock-in is scum. Anyone buying into vendor-lock-in in this day and age is a fuckwit and also deserves no respect. You guys have no pride. Go collect taxes or get a job working for Apple or something. Though soon enough we'll be plagued by Apple in the workplace. Then I'll have some pretty words for the fruitys. /rant

        2. Mikel
          WTF?

          Re: Good news

          The Stacker business was shamefully one of the first warnings that this was a company that rolled others' innovations into their products without paying. We all knew it was happening at the time. It's insane that it has taken the courts so long to find fault, lay blame and assess damages. "Bleak House" comes to mind. It is also proof that Microsoft's own protestations of infringement can be held at bay indefinitely with an adequately funded legal team.

          Good luck to you but I suspect that after the damages are calculated they will be appealed for another 20 years.

          BTW: You really need to get a press agent. I'm on your side and had thought this was settled in 1994, 19 years ago. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stac_Electronics#Microsoft_lawsuit .

          "Microsoft still hasn't paid for stealing STAC Electronic's Stacker disk compression technology for DOS, stands to pay for every copy of Windows ever shipped" is headline news. A little more light on the subject would hasten them to the settlement table.

          Or maybe there is something more going on here. Would you care to flush out some details? In what way was the 1994 $84m settlement unsatisfactory? Did they forget to touch second base?

          1. tabman

            Re: Good news @ Mikel

            Forgive my ignorance but that wikipedia article suggests the lawsuit was settled. Is this not the case?

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Good news

            @Mikel, I assure you, for you and yours own sake it's better left unexplored.

        3. dh666
          Thumb Up

          Re: Good news

          Dude, you made Stacker? I loved that program way back in the day. Hope you're successful in your lawsuit.

        4. Desidero

          Re: Good news

          I thought the Stacker suit was settled ages ago.

        5. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Good news

          >There is no content in Android that "belongs" to Microsoft. I will be happy to take that to court, too.

          That's MSFT's strategy. You can take us to court over Android patents - but while you are doing that we will stop your OEM Windows licenses.

          So Samsung/Acer/Asus/etc how do you feel about selling no windows machines for 20years while we discuss this?

        6. MattLoren
          Thumb Up

          Re: Good news

          I remember Stacker fondly. Good luck to you!

        7. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good news

      "No more Microsoft tax. "

      But you realise it costs more to license Android (from Microsoft, Nokia and Apple) than it does for a Windows RT license?

      1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        Re: Good news

        > But you realise it costs more to license Android (from Microsoft, Nokia and Apple) than it does for a Windows RT license?

        Completely untrue. Windows RT was originally to be $90 or so to the OEMs but they complained, as well they should, and it is reported by OEMs as being around $70.

        While MS may be taking an unreleased amount from _some_ manufacturers it is thought to be around $5.00. They shelled out $300million to B&N. Nokia is suing Viewsonic but that case isn't over yet. Apple and HTC settled with cross licensing.

        Apple vs Samsung is about round cornered rectangles and has years to run yet.

    3. Jdoe1

      Re: Good news

      Microsoft is going after the hardware that will run Android not Android itself. So M$ gets their cut no matter what OS you use.

      1. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: Good news

        No, MS are going after a maker of android hardware who want to be the maker of xbox hardware too.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good news

      A very big assumption, and when it falls flat you are now to are under the control of Google. Google who track you everywhere to productise you and sell your privacy for profit. Google who drop open APIs (e.g. CalDAV) for their own, proprietary one.

      Google is not to be trusted. Ever.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Good news

        @AC 20th April 2013 21:06

        LOL, You do realize that your Google hatred is simply Microsoft FUD.

        Microsoft are trying to win consumers over by badmouthing everyone else. It worked for Xbox, with it's last-gen features and 50% failure rate, they got the press to shit-talk Sony, made idiot gamers believe that competition was good, and they should buy the shite-box360 and sign up to a subscription model, because it's cool to do so.

      2. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: Good news

        You shouldn't trust any of them.

        But Google are evil while they allow me to do things, whereas Apple and MS are evil and stop me from doing things.

    5. lloyd_atkinson

      Re: Good news

      Probably not easily though, take the Acer C7 Chromebook for example. You have to mess around replacing the firmware to get it to boot Ubuntu.

    6. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Mikel
    Windows

    Jiminy Christmas

    That only took forever. The dawn of reason breaks over the PC OEM community. I had feared Intel might double-down on Windows-only SOCs and UEFI instead.

  5. cashxx

    Yea more netbook junk

    All a Chromebook is, is a netbook piece of junk. But this time you have a company selling you to their customers the advertisers!

    1. mIRCat
      Linux

      Re: Yea more netbook junk

      "All a Chromebook is, is a netbook piece of junk."

      First which make and model? Second is that based on build quality, quality of software, or some other metric? Further would you rate it better if it ran Windows 8 or iOS? And finally what would you rate the Surface/iPad if they ran ChromeOS?

      Inquiring minds want to know.

    2. AlbertH
      Thumb Down

      Re: Yea more netbook junk

      My Samsung Chromebooks are marvellous. They run Ubuntu really well, have long battery life and are robust but light enough for daily commuter use. They also cost me well under £200 each, and are significantly more capable than my previous 2006 Sony Vaio laptops (which cost £1400 each).

      You're just wrong!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yea more netbook junk

        Careful. Linux can kill Samsungs.

    3. MrXavia
      Linux

      Re: Yea more netbook junk

      The chromebooks are great, its the chrome os that is junk.... I don't like me os's cloudy

    4. WatAWorld

      Re: Yea more netbook junk

      Sad how many people drink the marketing cool aid.

      IBM.

      MS.

      Apple.

      Android.

      Whatever flavour of the month they swallow it.

  6. JB
    Meh

    Apps

    Android on Notebooks? There aren't enough android apps optimised for tablets, let alone laptop/notebooks. Are these things going to run scaled-up phone apps??

    1. elaar

      Re: Apps

      Would it not have the latest version of angry birds?

      Name us a life altering App that it wouldn't have, infact, name us a life altering app.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apps

      Shhh!!! Don't let that out - as proven by your downvotes, the freetards on this board can't handle the truth when it applies to their little pets: Android or Linux.

      If Windows RT is a FAILURE, even compared to the Win8 tablets, because of application support - as the interface is exactly the same, proof that it can't be just the Windows RT interface that is making it sell even less - what makes these people think that a non-app supported tablet Android will do better?

      The Freetard Fantasy, that's what. You know it when you spot it: "Linux Year Of the Desktop", for over 10 years straight.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Apps

        It will never be the year of the Linux desktop because normal users can't be arsed with the command line. We have mice and pointers these days, seems to have passed Linux by. The freetards still have a pathological hard-on for their CLI switches. This is why they are stuck at sub 1%. No one but ultra-nerds can use it!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Apps

          Precisely.

          Linux in the server room? The perfect fit! It is strong on connectivity, more secure than more common alternatives, powerfully configurable, resilient, stable, fast and the administrators of the systems are not bothered by CLI - they are used to that, actually.

          Linux on the desktop? Failure! It is weak on specialized desktop applications, has application tools available that are either less developed or less powerful than the mass market alternatives, is less user friendly than the common alternatives as configuration changes and administration still requires even some level of CLI proficiency (which end users could not give one whit about) as well as unfamiliar - by failing to mimic the common GUI look and feel of the 2 main players (Mac and Windows, with some paradigms that go back decades), many users simply do not want to be bothered to learn it.

          Those facts will never be accepted here, though. Big Business, hell most businesses, will never switch to Linux. 'If you have applications that are required for the operation of your company you can run them in WINE', is the common reply. Add this up: switch to the new, less known system (Linux); take production time out to train/learn new systems; install required legacy software on what is now unsupported (by legacy software provider) OS; configure legacy software to work in new system environment; work out bugs in system to allow system to return to full productivity.

          For what??! Take down a currently productive system in order to switch? Just to gain a currently unknown, unproven and (only) promised "advantage"? Where is the rate of return and amortization on such an project, when the currently operating systems are fully functional NOW? They don't think like a business[person], they think like a techie - "new = better". Businesspeople think "advantage vs total costs", and switching a perfectly acceptable, currently operational environment to another one, to say you did, is not an ideal solution to these people.

          1. tabman
            Thumb Up

            Re: Apps

            @ac 20 Apr 2150

            +1 & hear hear. A brilliantly constructed argument which deals with facts not FUD.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Apps

            "Take down a currently productive system in order to switch? Just to gain a currently unknown, unproven and (only) promised "advantage"? Where is the rate of return and amortization on such an project, when the currently operating systems are fully functional NOW? They don't think like a business[person], they think like a techie - "new = better". Businesspeople think "advantage vs total costs", and switching a perfectly acceptable, currently operational environment to another one, to say you did, is not an ideal solution to these people."

            Perfecty sound logic for extending the WIndows XP lifecycle, surely?

            Or should different logic apply to MS, and in particular to Windows 8 ?

          3. mmeier

            Re: Apps

            Okay if it must be cheap and I can live with PFY type admins Linux is a choice for "servers". That's why the big hosters use it for their mass market offerings.

            But if you need a server platform that will run reliably the next 10 years - forget Linux. If you are lucky and jump on an LTS the moment it comes out AND it is stable you get what? 5 years? Sorry but for servers that must run a long time - use a commercial grade Unix (Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, ...) Initial licence is a bit more costly also not that much more than RedHat on x86 but overall TOC isn't

        2. garbo
          Linux

          Re: Apps

          When did you last use Linux? I guess either never or long ago. The CLI can be found and used, as it can on Windows, but there's no need. Everything _today_ is point & click. It will even live alongside Windows - dual boot - if you still need Windows apps. Wonder over to Distrowatch ( distrowatch.com ) and look around. You'll be pleasantly surprised.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Apps

            Why bother with dual boot when Windows works? The fact dual boot is even suggested is a tacit admission that Linux cannot support the user's workflow. Why go to the bother of adding a second tool when the first does everything? Heck, why add a second tool that still requires your to use the first?

            And that second tool will require a massive investment in re-training.

            And infrastructure.

            And support (new employees and training there too).

            And...yup, it fails.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Apps

              "a massive investment in re-training." (etc)

              Yeah, 'cos Windows is always consistent from release to release and never ever needs any investment in re-training for end users or support staff or ...

              Linux may have its disadvantages, but statements like yours just make you and the rest of the Certified Microsoft Dependent community look like idiots. Maybe you're a pro-Linux person trolling?

        3. spegru
          Linux

          Re: Apps

          'normal users can't be arsed with the command line. We have mice and pointers these days, seems to have passed Linux by'

          Obviously you havn't looked at Linux for quite---a---while!

  7. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Killer app not an issue

    I don't buy Office being much of a reason not to buy Android. Use of MS Office is in decline in corporates but there are solutions for reading and writing MS Office files on the go, with Softmaker's suite perhaps the most advanced. The biggest problem for large scale adoption of Android notebooks will probably be that, like Windows 8, Android is more suited to touch than to mouse and keyboard. This is probably why Google has not been pushing it. This might well change in a future release - no idea what's in the Android 5 roadmap. Obviously, if Intel contributes resources to the project (and they have a lot of IP from Moblin/Maemo/Tizen) that might accelerate matters.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Killer app not an issue

      "Use of MS Office is in decline in corporates "

      Lol, no it isn't. Microsoft's Office revenue grew again last year...

    2. frank ly Silver badge

      Re: Killer app not an issue

      "Android is more suited to touch than to mouse and keyboard."

      No. Smartphones and tablets are more suited to touch than mouse and keyboard, because they don't have mice and keyboards. However, if you connect a mouse and keyboard to an Android tablet, it works fine with them. They are just simple input devices.

      (Sent from my Asus Transformer tablet - the one with a docking keyboard that runs on Android- with an old mouse plugged into the USB port - it works fine.)

  8. stephajn
    Thumb Up

    Been done

    My father in law has the Asus Transformer with the keyboard that is detachable. And of course, it runs Android 4.0 Basically like having a netbook running android really, only it also has a touch interface. If I could go back in time I might have bought one of those instead of the Acer Iconia A200 I do have.

    But I have often thought that this would make for an intriguing alternative, and hey...Kingsoft Office for android works great for my needs even without a keyboard.

    1. The Boojum
      Thumb Up

      Re: Been done

      Completely agree.

      I've had a Transformer Prime from the day they launched in the UK. And I Iove it! It is without doubt the cheapest device in terms of purchase cost per hour used that I've ever had. Its app ecosystem is maturing nicely: there are now many core apps that I would class as very good or better, and in other areas they are improving quite quickly.

      There are holes. I'm a heavy spreadsheet user and there's nothing really usable out there, and I'd make more use of OneNote if the Android app was better. I'm sure that will come with time.

      I've been a bit concerned of late about what I would replace my TP with when the time comes. If this article proves true then I'll be a happy bunny indeed.

  9. 1Rafayal

    I wonder how many of these Android notebooks would make it into the Enterprise?

    I have been long wondering when some enterprising company starts putting mini android PC's in contact centers etc.

  10. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

    Even Windows 8 has drawn fire lately for failing to revive the flagging PC market.

    Perhaps they should conciser the possibility that one of the reasons the PC market is in a tail spin is because of W8.

    1. PT

      Re: Even Windows 8 has drawn fire lately for failing to revive the flagging PC market.

      LOL, exactly the point I was going to make.

      New versions of Windows are only of benefit to Microsoft. Everyone else just gets a world of trouble and expense.

  11. tempemeaty

    The refusal

    So they're refusing to change Windows 8, instead Microsoft is running to patent troll Android for their revenue and letting the PC sales continue to dive with Windows 8?

  12. K Silver badge
    FAIL

    WTF?

    ASUS have been selling Android notebook / tablet hybrid for almost 2 years - rightly they got a lot of praise for a solid product. But, its hardly been selling in the high millions. Fact is Android does not have the multi-window multi-tasking software that people expect on a Notebook / Desktop.

    I can see this lining up to be another fail, and by the end of this year, the majority will be asking "who's f*cking stupid idea was that?", just like we did for Windows 8 last year, and Ultrabook pricing the year before that!

    1. frank ly Silver badge

      Re: WTF?

      Android does have multi-tasking software. I can swap between running apps with two finger taps. I can be downloading a torrent while typing a comment and listening to the music player (I'm listening to music as I type this on my Android tablet.) What it doesn't have (on phones and tablets) is enough screen space to make muti-window a sensible or easily usable facility. I know that the latest Samsung (?) tablets have split screen display capability but it would probably be a bit of a queeze to use them.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WTF?

      Multi-window? i'd beg to differ, my android tablet can do multi windows, and split windows.... its pretty impressive actually...

      Although I say scrap windows, install linux

      1. mmeier

        Re: WTF?

        Name the tablet and the Android version. Samsung Notes are the only ones with that capacity OOB as far as I know and compared to Windows it is crap even in the latest version. Been there, testet a N80x0 for four month, sold it

    3. Graham Dawson

      Re: WTF?

      Given the screen sizes involved I'm not sure that multi-window interfaces would be all that efficient. Most people will use netbook-style devices as single-task devices in effect and rarely muck about with individual windows. Many of the earlier netbooks defaulted to single-task-style behaviour because of that. Even the windows ones.

  13. Don Jefe
    Happy

    Intel Sweet Spots

    Have proven to not be so sweet. Ultrabooks are a good easily recognizable example. Some of their VC projects have ridiculous 'sweet spots' too but they don't get as much press.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Intel BIOS

    Will the use of Intel BIOS/UEFI (as opposed to ARM GPIO) and HD 4000 drivers (as opposed to ARM blobs) on the upcoming Bay Trail SOC allow for a generic image install of Windows or Linux? Is it possible this SOC could help in resolving the fragmentation issue that currently plagues Android?

  15. Madboater
    Stop

    Having the wrong mobile OS

    On a laptop/desktop is not the problem.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    My next purchase

    A Chromebook, not the silly priced ones, but the REALLY well priced ones on the Google store, and do everything I need of a ultrabook without breaking the bank.

    The one I have seen I was REALLY impressed with. If Google can add some form of Android compatibility to ChromeOS, then they really have a winner on their hands.

    If PC manufacturers want to not die before then, then start offering Windows 7 on new PC purchases. Of course Microsoft won't be happy about that, but they are the old guard, and aren't going to be around much longer. All their product lines are either dead or dying.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: My next purchase

      If you are visiting the former colonies anytime - you can get open box ARM ChromeBooks for <$200 at every Best-Buy.

      The sales person was explaining that lot sof people buy them because they are $250 but return them because they don't have MS-whatever.

      She looked at me and said "but you understand all that" - I think I should be insulted

      ps. If they have been registered the free however-many-Gb of Google drive offer will fail - but if you email them they will reinstate it.

  17. Sil

    Overdose

    Why would people buy android laptops when they already have android phones and tablets and apparently see no need for a PC for the time being? What's the value proposition for android tablet owners?

    The only good coming from these Android profit delusions (Samsung excepted) is that after android notebooks tank their manufacturers will have to ask themselves if by any chance their super crappy products are not more responsible for the failure than the OS they wear.

  18. Herby Silver badge

    Bundled software?

    Yes, Surface has office applications "bundled", but Android can fight back:

    Provide LibreOffice as "standard". Possible have an option to remove it (space?). Then when the fondle-tard gets his keyboard, he will be ready to go.

    Seems logical to me. Cheap as well.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Notebook TV anyone?

    Why don't notebook makers turn to making something useful for TV's?...i.e. a laptop w/o a screen that connects to the back of a tele. Lidl sold one a while back (Targa I think). It clipped onto the back of your TV and via HDMI and a wireless keyboard you could surf, watch movies, and do the usual things you want too, because it was running XP.

    Tablets and netbooks / notebooks and smartphone are so overrated to people like me who hate doing stuff on a small screen. Its all very well if you're stuck on a train platform then mobility is great, but what about later when you get home to your mega-sized large-screen TV! But the problem is conventional notebooks are clunky when connected to a TV. For instance HDMI or VGA cabled netbooks / laptops take up space i.e. need their own adjacent table etc, and look pretty ugly. Plus they aren't easy to move when you have to clean etc.

    The Lidl / Targa laptop was onto something. Furthermore, Smart TV's are an overpriced con. An XP or Win7 netbook connected to a TV is vastly superior!. For instance you can surf using a web browser with AdBlock / NoScript. You can play games too. Moreover you can use VLC or other FOSS player of choice to play every format and rotate photos and even Video. Try doing that with a 'dumb' Smart-TV! My buddy bought a Smart TV at the weekend, but he can't Skype me as it needs its very own Webcam and Mic. WTF?

    1. Steve Graham
      Linux

      Re: Notebook TV anyone?

      You buy them from China. They are the size of a pack of chewing gum and there are dual- and quad-core ARM processor versions. They all have WiFi, USB and HDMI; and most have Bluetooth. Some have webcams. Cost is from about £30 to £50. They run Android, of course.

      One on-line source is http://lightake.com

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Notebook TV anyone?

        Thanks @Steve Graham,

        Any feedback on using them, the good the bad etc ....?

    2. mmeier

      Re: Notebook TV anyone?

      They do not exist in large numbers because:

      Existing Intel/AMD-based mini pc can do the job just fine including the "attach to TV" part (VESA mount). They need a bit more power but 95+ percent of people do not care and this is not a mobile unit

      The existing Minis run a software 92+ percent of the users know - Windows

      The minis interact seamlessly with Home Server/NAS/Internet because in 92+ percent of the households these components are optimised for Windows

  20. M Gale

    Android + Splashtop Gamepad THD

    An awesome combination, and a good use for an Android laptop. The only problem I've had on the Transformer Prime is the Splashtop app currently refusing to send apostrophes and sending hash symbols instead, but for games and video playing that's a minor issue.

    You get all of your tabletty phone-like fun from the Play Store. Meanwhile, videos and games and anything else from your home PC can be served via a streaming video link that's a hell of a lot more reliable than VNC or RDP for this kind of purpose.

    It's sort of like having your own OnLive server, and the streamer is available for WIndows, Mac and Linux.

  21. Kev99 Bronze badge
    Thumb Down

    New fondleslabs

    For years the pundits were going ga-ga over units that had bigger screens and more powerful cpus. Now they're going ga-ga over units with smaller screens and less power. Just think netbooks and this is where these fondleslabs will go. Too small & weak to do real work but too big to be cool to the semiliterate geeks..

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: New fondleslabs

      The 'pundits' are still going Ga-Ga over devices with bigger screens. Have you not seen the latest Samsung Mobile Phones with a screen so large that many people (mainly women sadly) have to use both hands to pick it up?

      My colleagues call them Poser-phones. If you are old enough, you can remember the 1970/80's Medallion man. We all thing they are the 2010's version of them. Lots of bling, available in Pink (for those who like it) and actually naff all use for making calls.

      Personally, anything over 4in is a bit large even for my large sized hands but other people will have different needs to me and the 6in monsters seem to be selling well so there ain't no accounting for choice...

      {Typed on a 4yr old 13in Macbook running CentOS}

  22. This post has been deleted by its author

  23. Katie Saucey
    Windows

    Yeah right 500$ from an Android laptop!?

    Sooo.. Why would I want a glorified Angry Birds device, for 500$ when a Lenovo ThinkPad Edge is only 530$ (with far better spec) that runs (a real OS) Windows 7. Win 7 (I predict anyway) will most likely have the same long life as XP. Also, what's the problem of installing linux on a budget machine, it will have infinitely more value with a "full featured" OS than a locked down "apps" machine, that you might or might not be able to get Skype working on if the need for a phone call arises.

    1. Katie Saucey
      Coat

      Re: Yeah right 500$ from an Android laptop!?

      Sorry, in my rant I completely forgot about extra costs involved with touchscreen, so yeah fuck touchscreen.

      1. David Simpson 1
        FAIL

        Re: Yeah right 500$ from an Android laptop!?

        Android doesn't NEED a touchscreen it has worked with a keyboard and mouse since version 3.0

    2. David Simpson 1
      Devil

      Re: Yeah right 500$ from an Android laptop!?

      Microsoft have stopped sales of Windows 7, once Lenovo runs out of OEM copies you are stuck with 8.

      You sound like you have never used Android if you think it is a "locked down apps machine".

  24. Adair
    Devil

    "Intel has pinned the "sweet spot" for Android notebook pricing at around $500... Intel has specified that they should accommodate detachable keyboards, allowing them to work as either notebooks or tablets."

    Roll up, suckers. You too can have your very own bit of cynical marketing driven fail. No doubt Intel has done extensive research finding out what people out here in 'the real world' actually want/need from their lightweight power stingy laptop devices---or, are they just taking a punt that the great unwashed will buy whatever shiny is put in front of their ignorant faces as long as it has the magic word 'Android' stuck on it?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well, at least it'll be secure!

    Lets take a Linux kernel and build an OS made out of Java on top. What could possibly go wrong?

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Well, at least it'll be secure!

      Mind you, web browsers are practically an OS now anyway and routinely compromised.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Elephant in the room?

    If Android (or another Windows alternative not tied to x86) were to suddenly become widely acceptable as an OS for kit other than phoney things and tablety things, why would anybody want to base their product on x86? Why would Intel, the x86 company, be supporting something that will accelerate the market's move away from x86 ?

    I mean, it's a great idea to move away from Windows 8, but I don't see what's in it for Intel. Not yet anyway.

    Unless... no, they wouldn't, surely? That would be immoral, and quite possibly illegal in some major jurisdirctions. Blackmailing your customers to not use competitors chips? Intel would surely never do that. Well, surely not after the last time they got caught (bribing Dell to stay away from AMD).

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/07/26/after_the_dell_settlement/

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Elephant in the room?

      Er, Android x86

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Elephant in the room?

        Android x86 is fine (well, at least as fine as mainstream Android) from a purely software point of view.

        But Android x86 does not fix (1) wide choice of SoCs at various points of price and functionality from various vendors (2) low SoC heat dissipation (3) long battery life

        Choosing ARM fixes those.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Elephant in the room?

          "Choosing ARM fixes those."

          Of course it does, but the original question is what's in it for Intel. Intel are obviously aiming for x86 Android with this - they are also fully capable of generating Atom SoC

        2. P. Lee Silver badge

          Re: Elephant in the room?

          > Choosing ARM fixes those.

          Yes, but not the need for speed.

          How about ARM and x86 on the same silicon, both running dalvik with some power management, freeze/thaw code and a very high-speed virtual network between them to allow process migration?

          I think I might go for that kind of convertible.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Elephant in the room?

            "How about ARM and x86 on the same silicon, both running dalvik with some power management, freeze/thaw code and a very high-speed virtual network between them to allow process migration?"

            How about a big fast hot ARM core (or several) and a slower cooler less power hungry ARM core on the same SoC doing much as you describe except no need for two sets of memory and thus no need for a fast interconnect. Just one set of cores running the same OS and apps from the same memory, the little one being used most of the time when the thing is near idle and the bigger one(s) being used when something genuinely compute-intensive is needed.

            How about ARM's big.LITTLE concept, which already does exactly that? The technology was announced in 2011, and a few days ago (but afaict still unreported by El Reg) there were more announcements including a change in licencing arrangements to make it easier for chip builders to test the waters without betting the whole product range.

            http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/10/20/details_on_big_little_processing/

            http://www.pcworld.com/article/2035552/arm-wins-more-biglittle-licensees.html

            This being ARM, other ARM partners are able to implement similar functionality in different ways if they wish, just as Nvidia and TI have done.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Elephant in the room?

      Or Intel could just licence ARM

  27. Gil Grissum
    Thumb Down

    Pricing Stupidity

    One would think that Android tablet makers would get a clue. They tried pricing their Tablets at or above Apple prices and failed. Attempting to sell convertible tablets at iPad prices won't work because consumers will look at the iPad mini, buy it, get a bluetooth keyboard, and call it a day. Why the Android Tablet makers can't figure this out is beyond me. This is why Windows RT and Surface Tablets aren't selling. PRICE. Drop the price to $299 and $399 and they will fly off shelves like nothing else on the market. Same thing with Ultrabooks. No one is going to buy them at the prices these clowns want to sell them. Consumers won't pay premium prices for any product that isn't Apple.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Pricing Stupidity

      Make that " Most Consumers won't pay premium prices for any product that isn't premium"

  28. Adair

    The problem with Android...

    ...is that it's lumbered with hundreds of 'apps' that do something trivial, but still doesn't really have a core of applications that do something substantial. As a productivity OS Android still doesn't really have much to boast about and as long as that remains the case spending $500+ on hardware is simply giving a generous donation to needy hardware retailers and manufacturers <cough>.

    Anyone needing to get work done and willing to pony up is better off dumping Android and getting a full-fat Linux on board.

    1. mmeier

      Re: The problem with Android...

      The problems with Android (and in some cases Linux):

      Most programs are not tablet optimized. This ranges from not using all of the screen to wildly switching between protrait and landscape modes. MS shares one UI between phone and pc but programs are written for either WP8 or Win8, Android is one OS for both and the developer either has extra work (often not honored by customers money wise) or develops for the far more common phone platform

      The ARM CPU is nice for mobiles and media devices but too slow for more demanding tasks. The N80x0 struggles with Handwriting Recognition and forces the user to change recognition mode between character, number and special signs among other deficits. And Speech recognition, something an Atom can do offline, needs the GMail-Man and a running Internet connection. Android/x86 would fix some of that by using more pwerful CPU but why?

      A useable device is more than an OS. And the whole software infrastructure for penables under Android (and Linux) is massively lacking. HWR is around what Windows had 2003, the Journaling software is unstable (SNote) or Cloud-Only (EverNote - leagal problems for EU companies!), Speech is "online only", Drawing software is not even up to ole ArtRage2 and so on

      Printing under Android is a nightmare! A 25€ "printserver" works fine for all the printers (Ink and laser) and Windows boxes (XP-8) we have. It does not for Android. That either needs "Internet" (a no go in various situations) or works only with selected printers and a special app (And strangely - the cheap ones, even WLAN ones, are not supported) or needs a full sizes CUPS system

      Office under Android is not up to OO let alone MS Office. "Can basically show the Powerpoint" is often not enough

      For 500€ I can get a Atom-based tablet pc with a mature, stable OS that simply works and has all the software and the seamless integration that 92+ percent of PC networks need and use

  29. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    About damn time.

    My transformer is looking to be replaced in a year or two. Nice to know it will have a direct replacement. Keep Windows where it belongs: in a VM and away from children and the internet.

  30. MrXavia

    Why go for android? surely linux is the best option out there, android is not really designed to work on laptops....

    Although I DO like the idea of permissions that Android has, (needs tweaks but its a good start)

    1. David Simpson 1
      Holmes

      It has been running on my EeePC perfectly fine, Android has had support for keyboard and mouse since 3.0.

      With a few extra tweaks Windows could be running scared.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The REAL elephant in the room

    There's something everyone seems to be missing here. Now I'm not the biggest fan of Ubuntu, but the whole reason they developed Unity was to make the OS more tablet friendly.

    So here we have an easy to use, stable, popular, well supported OS that can be mouse/keyboard or touch screen driven and with Libre Office (which I personally consider to be the world's best office suite) ready to go on all these devices. Shuttleworth is foaming at the mouth at the thought of this, so there

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The REAL elephant in the room

    There's something everyone seems to be missing here. Now I'm not the biggest fan of Ubuntu, but the whole reason they developed Unity was to make the OS more tablet friendly.

    So here we have an easy to use, stable, popular, well supported OS that can be mouse/keyboard or touch screen driven and with Libre Office (which I personally consider to be the world's best office suite) ready to go on all these devices.

    Shuttleworth is foaming at the mouth at the thought of this and has been pushing it for a long time so there are no barriers and it should be cheaper than the alternatives for the consumer.

  33. IGnatius T Foobar

    The one bug in Android that must be fixed...

    The one bug in Android that *must* be fixed is the Microsoft Tax being levied upon many devices. Google needs to step up and demand that Microsoft show its hand. These patents are bogus and Microsoft knows it.

    By the way, Mike Godwin told me that it's ok to say that Bill Gates is Hitler. It's true.

  34. This post has been deleted by its author

  35. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    How about a good OS?

    These guys really should be sticking Ubuntu on (with the "traditional" interface pre-installed, instead of a downloadable option, since Unity is awful). It wouldn't even matter if it was ARM or not then.

    Those who say the Linux desktop rquires excessive command prompt use, firstly it's simply not true -- the GUI covers most uses. Secondly, take a real look at Windows -- a command prompt, powershell, config in various text files as well as a registry (regedit is technically a GUI, but come on....) Here's the thing....

    There's really 3 ways to go about this:

    1) Have everything doable via GUI. This would end up with a lot of menus, submenus, and tabs, with huge amounts of buttons, checkboxes, knobs, and so on. If you consider regedit to be a GUI it may fit in this category. But really I have seen no system that uses this, and I don't think it'd work well.

    2) Have everything doable via GUI, Apple style. Apple style means "if it's not in the GUI, you can't do it." I'm aware of the unix base of OSX, but I'm also aware that much of OSX's GUI doesn't really have any extra configurability sitting underneath it.

    3) Everybody else. Windows and Linux *both* have extensive options not available via GUI (and face it, regedit is technically a GUI but not really friendly by any stretch.) They both cover typical options without the necessity of a GUI. They both have people that falsely claim that people have to constantly fiddle around outside the GUI to get basic every day tasks done.

  36. WatAWorld

    I will be hugely surprised if the switch makes any difference

    Apple was already making non-Windows foddle slabs and they weren't selling in huge numbers.

    The problem is market saturation. People have the computers they want, and they're not going to waste money upgrading for no good reason.

    April 2014 will provide a good reason, so a jump in sales when Windows XP support ends.

    Smart phones, phablets, there technology is still progressing fairly rapidly, plus they wear out quickly, so they'll continue to sell well. No market saturation for them, yet.

  37. Sentient

    Looking for an easy solution? Blame it on somebody else

    I doubt it's really all about Windows 8. Take a look at the hardware and see what's on offer for a given price point. And then I am not even mentioning all those dissapointing 1.366 x 768 notebooks. I doubt people will buy those with android or no android.

    1. David Simpson 1
      Devil

      Re: Looking for an easy solution? Blame it on somebody else

      Yes, but the OEM cost of Windows could buy a higher res screen instead ;-)

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I hope this will fly at least for a while

    Alas Microsoft will not allow this, just wait and see after the next behind closed doors OEM Windows discount negotiations.

  39. David Simpson 1
    Holmes

    All Android devices have been touch based ?

    Any Android device whether tablet, netbook or phone will work with a usb/bluetooth keyboard and mouse, once a mouse is plugged in a cursor will appear on screen. Android has had this capability since 3.0, work really well too.

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