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The Fall of Wintel and the Rise of Armdroid

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the upgrading-the-portmanteau dept.

Businesses 431

hype7 writes "The Harvard Business Review is running a very interesting article on how this year's CES marked the end of the Wintel platform's dominance. Their argument is that tablets are going to disrupt the PC, and these tablets are predominantly going to be running on Google's Android powered by ARM processors — 'Armdroid.' Quoting: 'Both Microsoft and Intel have suffered from the same problem that most successful companies face when dealing with disruption. They cannot find a way to profitably invest in low-end offerings. Think about it from Microsoft's point of view: now that Windows 7 has been developed, to sell another copy, they don't have to do a single thing. Because of this, it becomes very hard for any executive to advocate the complete development of a low cost OS that will run on tablets: not only would it cost Microsoft a lot to develop, but it would result in cannibalization of its core product sales. Intel has the exact same issue. Why focus on Atom, or an even lower-end chip, when there is so much more margin to be made by focusing on its multi-core desktop processors?'"

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A Few Logical Problems (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34914818)

About Microsoft's first foray into the tablet market the article says:

Their tablet should have been about disrupting the PC market with something light, cheap and simple. Instead, Microsoft tried to make it do everything.

Okay, so we establish that tablets have a subset of functionality as PCs. I agree with this, I don't do software development, word processing or gaming on a tablet. But then the article notes that tablets herald the end of PCs. So are we expecting the software makers to bridge that gap that prevents me from playing World of Warcraft, writing a book in Word or LibreOffice, coding in Radrails, etc? I just don't see that happening. I think there's a fundamental hardware issue with capacitive touch. I am not certain it will ever get to the point where I feel comfortable doing serious work or serious gaming using a glassy surface as my input device. Maybe I'm getting old but I just have never been impressed with even the latest cellphone displays and their response.

I would speculate that most tablet users are first PC users at home and at the office. The tablet is a subset of the desktop computer and it's hard to reach all levels of functionality with only a tablet. So I would almost argue that tablets will bite into the PC market only in markets with people who just need a computer to surf the internet, play casual games and maybe e-mail. In my opinion, it's highly likely that Wintel and Armdroid will continue to coexist for many years with different functional targets.

this year's CES marked the end of the Wintel platform's dominance

There's potential but if you counted all the Wintel machines in use right now and all the Armdroid devices in use right now, I would bet Wintel would retain dominance in numbers. It's fun to get exited when it makes sense to you that this should happen but the reality is that Wintel still sits comfortably above a throne of untouchable marketshare.

Re:A Few Logical Problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34914912)

While smart phone sales might begin to rival pc sales, they aren't really comparable yet. The article suffers from apples and oranges problems. Tablets are only a speculative form factor. They don't have sales figures to match their hype--their most popular version is the Kindle. The only way the article makes sense is that if you count devices that use the Internet, then true, Wintel is losing out finally to rival devices, but of a very wide variety. Also, as tablets become more powerful they become capable of running Win 7 or Win 8, which is Android's biggest worry. The same thing happened to netbooks.

Re:A Few Logical Problems (-1, Troll)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915206)

Wow sit back and wait....nice approach to running a business, not!

You really don't get it do you. You aren't paying attention to Microsoft's "cloud" commercials or Apple's iPad commercials. Each one tells you where the mobile market is going and what the capabilities are.

Hate to break it to you morons but most computer users do not need computers to do their work. Unless your are a programmer, which is a tiny tiny population, you don't need a computer.

Oh and people don't need a bloated word processor to write a document. Microsoft wants you to think you need a fat bloated word processor like Word but again 99% of users don't need a fat bloated word processor. So something slimmed down that can run on a tablet would be fine.

But then why do you think tablet hardware is not powerful?

Time to do some research and stop speaking out of your ass.

Re:A Few Logical Problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34915468)

Hate to break it to you morons but most computer users do not need computers to do their work. Unless your are a programmer, which is a tiny tiny population, you don't need a computer.

Exactly. AND if you are a gamer, don't forget that Microsoft owns a gaming console division. If Microsoft is worried about something, it isn't moving gaming from the PC to the game-console.

If you are a designer, chances are high that you are already running in a Mac.

So, only a niche market remains in Wintel.

Re:A Few Logical Problems (1)

TheoGB (786170) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915516)

Maybe try that again without the patronising hyperbole and somewhat hypocritical assault on assumptions with your own wild assumptions.

Re:A Few Logical Problems (4, Insightful)

falsified (638041) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915678)

No! This is completely untrue!

Copy a few cells in your favorite spreadsheet program, then paste those cells into your favorite word processor, in a tablet. Format it with headers in a different font and color. Then, do that at a desktop computer with keyboard and mouse. Which was easier?

I know that tablet technology is rapidly changing, but once you have a big enough screen to capably handle windowing, you've basically got a laptop without a keyboard, not a tablet. And who wants that for business use?

Re:A Few Logical Problems (4, Insightful)

Zouden (232738) | more than 3 years ago | (#34914936)

Indeed. Here's my prediction: in 5 year's time, most people will still be using desktops/laptops running Windows on an Intel chip. The rise of tablets really isn't going to disrupt things as much as columnists like to claim. But "Status Quo to Remain Unchanged!" is not a very compelling headline.

Re:A Few Logical Problems (2, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#34914976)

Whether it'll be a traditional desktop or laptop running Windows on Intel, I am not certain. But we WILL be using a full-sized keyboard and mouse to control it.

Re:A Few Logical Problems (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34915040)

whether it's nig nogs or spics, I am not certain. But they WILL be running train on Kathleen Fent's ass while Rob Malda jacks off.

Re:A Few Logical Problems (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915046)

Agreed. Who cares whether the processing power is housed in a mid-tower PC case or in the smartphone in your pocket (connected to the desktop monitor and input devices via wireless HDMI and Bluetooth or some other standards)?

See Motorola Atrix for an idea of the direction we'll be taking. Hell, if my Desire had video out I'd already be using it that way - bluetooth HID keyboards and mice are available and work fantastically with CyanogenMod (use them with RDP mainly).

Re:A Few Logical Problems (1)

cbope (130292) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915490)

Sorry, I disagree, and there's the problem outlined in your last sentence. Why the fuck should you need to hack or modify something, to add missing functionality like a bluetooth keyboard or mouse to such a device? It clearly needs alternative input devices and it's great that you and I can mod it, but the point is it shouldn't be necessary. Joe Sixpack isn't going to do that. Your 61-year old mother certainly isn't going to do that.

This issue is closely related to the walled-garden approach that most of these new devices are following today. The feature-set is intentionally limited by the manufacturer, for any number of reasons. Market control, application control, ego control, whatever the reason is... it's about controlling what you are able to do with your device and limiting your choices. Probably most of you young whippersnappers here on /. were not even wetting your diapers at the time, but this control-freak level of closed-mindedness is exactly what gave rise the the PC in the first place. Sure some of these devices are useful for certain tasks and they can compliment a PC. But, completely replace it? I don't think so, at least not in any reasonable time-frame and not by any of the gadgets that are currently on the market. Pure FUD.

Re:A Few Logical Problems (1)

grumling (94709) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915154)

But they'll also be using Android/ARM on their phone, Wrist Watch (no watch is just a passing fad until "smart watches" are introduced), TV, DSLR, Coffee Maker, Rice Cooker, Blu-Ray player, kid's toys, NAS, and in-dash sat nav system.

And that desktop will still be used, but less, since there's all these other screens available. It might not be the "media hub" that MS wants it to be, but it will be used for anything that needs high performance processing (like the "fix it" button on low end photo editing software), or a big, dedicated screen.

As much as I love checking email on my phone (almost never fire up Evolution anymore) and checking twitter on my tablet, I don't see myself writing anything of substance on my tablet or editing pictures on my phone.

Re:A Few Logical Problems (2)

Captain Hook (923766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915218)

I see it a bit differently, I see PC's becoming smaller, maybe losing the keyboard, mouse and display and acting more like small home servers (maybe something like Sheevaplus), left on permantently to act as download managers and act as file servers, perhaps used for home automation.

Media PCs/Games Consoles interact with the home servers to provide living room entertainment, and the user interface too all of this will be something Tablet like, prehaps with bluetooth keyboard and mouse for more serious data entry but still using the tablet as the display/input computer.

Obviously, the PC could disappear completely with the Media PC/Games Console taking over the server role and being left on permantently for downloading stuff.

Having said that, I don't see all that happening in the next 5 years.

Re:A Few Logical Problems (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915392)

I disagree, both with the Intel part as well as the tablet part. Look out how popular the iPad is? Its only a matter of time until someone comes up with an awesome text recognition or formula recognition application and you can transcribe notes digitally from your handwriting and about 50 percent of students and/or engineers will suddenly have one (or the Android equivalent). Think of how many people need a notepad to take down notes in meetings or classes or need a engineering notebook to draw schematics etc? What if this "notepad" also could check email, browse the web, weather, video chat, allow e-books? It becomes the perfect tool for portable productivity. Additionally, with the introduction of OpenCL in the next version of the iPad as well as in the AMD line of Fusion processors it leaves a crapload more options open for software developers to use CPU/GPU in conjunction for all manner of purposes. Intel is way behind in the graphics market due to AMD's acquisition of ATI. I predict that Fusion processors will take over a significant chunk of the laptop market, and tablets will become increasingly common as they mature. I believe Intel will still dominate the desktop/workstation market.

Re:A Few Logical Problems (1)

nurd68 (235535) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915416)

Why? What (for example) precludes ARM desktops running Linux?

No kidding (5, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915458)

Something that the tech journalists who get infatuated with tablets seem to fail to consider is that they are lousy devices for content creation. They are good for passive experiences. If you want to surf the web or maybe watch a video (though a TV is better for that) they work great. However the more interactivity that is called for, the less useful they are. When you get to content creation, and by this I mean even simple things like writing an e-mail, they are not very good. They CAN do it, but not near as well as a regular PC.

A tablet can't match a keyboard, mouse, and monitor for entering information. This is because the keyboard is an efficient means of entry, and has tactile feedback, and you can be looking at what you are doing without your hands occluding part of your view.

So a tablet is fine as a toy, and for some special productivity purposes, but it lousy for most general work related things. That alone means that computers aren't going anywhere. Even if homes became 100% tablet, offices wouldn't because you need to get shit done there. Managers are not at all going to be interested in moving over to tablets and then have everything slow to a crawl as people's typing speed (among other things) goes through the floor.

I don't see computers doing anywhere any time soon, particularly not in favour of tablets. We've got a few people at work that have iPads and they amount to nothing but toys. They all crow about how wonderful they are, but all they do with them were things they already did with their laptops, and none of them have gotten rid of their laptops and kept just the tablet. That's all well and good, but it is quite clear tablets are not something that is allowing them to dump traditional computers.

Re:A Few Logical Problems (1)

Frellco (1971108) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915518)

My take is a little different. Look at the average PC user today and I'd be willing to bet the following are what runs on that PC 95% of the time (yes, that's a made up stat):

1) Email
2) IM
3) 2d Gaming (IOTW, it can run on a phone if it needed)
4) Facebook/Other Social Site
5) YouTube
6) Blogging
7) Some "office" type stuff which can be accomplished with GoogleDocs

I think a lot of folks are looking at the iPad (or insert other tablet here) as a replacement simply because it goes with you everywhere around the house. While netbooks certainly compete with tablets, laptops are, in general, more expensive and the cheaper ones just don't give you as good an experience as you get with tailor-made apps for a tablet (in large part because you are running software meant to be run on bigger hardware and bigger screens).

Will there still be PCs in that household? Perhaps if something more is needed from the machine (gaming, work, etc), but for the most part, the PC is becoming a social interaction and entertainment tool that simply doesn't require significant hardware to operate. On top of that you have the App Store and the Android Marketplace which cater to tablets, providing solid tablet-specific software which accomplishes all the needs of the user.

My money is on the convenience of a small, light, tablet winning out over a larger laptop and/or PC.

Re:A Few Logical Problems (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915672)

If brain-computer interfaces become common, tablet computers will probably go extinct - who needs a midsized screen when the screen appears in your mind, and you can share data/objects by just sending them to the recipient's brain-augmenter (like telepathy). Who needs touch-sensitive stuff, when you control stuff (including the environment via local/area services) by using thought-macros.

But I bet powerful non-portable personal computers will still be around - home servers to help you do "magic", store, backup and manipulate large amounts of data. Large fixed screens might still be used for aesthetics and for easy public view/sharing (note though there are already personal projectors, there's even some guy going around with a wearable computer and projector and some fancy software that recognizes hand gestures albeit tagged with coloured thimbles/fingertips ;) ).

Re:A Few Logical Problems (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 3 years ago | (#34914968)

Exactly. And it's amazing that a business journal is unable to see past the transparent hype. I'm sure they believe the Segway will replace cars as well. Morons.

Re:A Few Logical Problems (1)

aquila.solo (1231830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915072)

I'm sure they believe the Segway will replace cars as well.

It totally will. We just have to perfect that cliff-avoidance algorithm.~

Also, Howdy Ho, Mr. Hanky!

Re:A Few Logical Problems (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915510)

Hell no we need it to seek out cliffs and then give them to lawyers/politicians. Two birds one segway.

Re:A Few Logical Problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34914982)

Not to mention that an analyst that thinks Intel doesn't want to go to "low end" market is totally out of touch with reality -- the existence of Atom is proof that they are ready to seriously cannibalize existing markets if there is a chance of making it big in new, high-growth markets. They don't have a very good mobile offering yet but they definitely want to be there: mobile is where the growth is.

Re:A Few Logical Problems (2)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34914996)

There's at least one model of tablet coming out that has a dock to connect with a keyboard. So for home use, I could type on the physical keyboard of my choice, perhaps navigate with the optical mouse of my choice (and maybe connect a large monitor? awesome!), and do nearly everything I do on my home PC. There's very little I can do on my Ubuntu laptop (my current primary home PC) that I couldn't apparently do on a Honeycomb tablet. Give me an app to burn CDs and DVDs (is there one? I don't know), an app for P2P downloading, multi-tabbed full-html browsing with flash, and multi-tasking and I think I could switch to just having a tablet. Then when I go out, I would take my tablet with me.

I think that mobile computing in general has a very bright future, though it may not cut into Wintel as much as Google would hope. More people will just have more than one device, is all.

Re:A Few Logical Problems (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915482)

> Give me an app to burn CDs and DVDs (is there one? I don't know), an app for P2P
> downloading, multi-tabbed full-html browsing with flash, and multi-tasking ...and here is the crux of the matter. Some people want an overgrown walkman and understand that this is what they are getting in a "tablet".

Actual consumers are fine with this while platform partisans try to shout down anyone that brings this up.

Meanwhile some people want their mobile devices to be "real PCs" including access to whatever peripherals they can think of and applications from random sources. The whole issue of inputs is important but not nearly as important as being able to treat your netbook or laptop as if it were a mobile desktop PC.

Re:A Few Logical Problems (1)

bfree (113420) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915572)

A dock? Just give me a proper usb host port or three. In fact there are already cheap tablets out there with both a usb host port and hdmi so what more do you want other then a decent software stack on top of it?

Re:A Few Logical Problems (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34915020)

"Okay, so we establish that tablets have a subset of functionality as PCs. I agree with this, I don't do software development, word processing or gaming on a tablet. But then the article notes that tablets herald the end of PCs."

Most people do not develop software, many people don't play 'big' games, and many people don't write long pieces of text.

Tablets offer the functionality that many people use: email, web browsing, small games, music, video.

Re:A Few Logical Problems (0)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915074)

> Tablets offer the functionality that many people use: email, web browsing, small games, music, video.

No, not really.

Even some granny that mainly just surfs the web can find a tablet limiting.

This is the big problem that tablet vendors and fanboys alike don't want to face.

They're too busy drinking their own cool-aid to actually pay attention to the users. This is compounded by the fact that there are barriers in place that prevent anyone else from doing so either.

Re:A Few Logical Problems (0)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915286)

"Even some granny that mainly just surfs the web can find a tablet limiting."

Which are?

Unless you can back up your assertion with facts you are just masturbating.

Moron.

Re:A Few Logical Problems (1)

falsified (638041) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915340)

That's a good point that I didn't address in my earlier post..the casual user who uses their computer for 30 minutes of e-mail and Facebook a day is also one of the last people to completely scrap existing technology for a entirely new format.

Some of them may buy a tablet in addition to their "real computer", but as for the Fall of Wintel, I'd say not yet.

But I also give it 3-4 years before Google has a desktop/laptop version of Android.

Re:A Few Logical Problems (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915430)

It sounds to me like you just don't like tablets. There are plenty of good uses for one, for example paper replacement, reading email, news, ebooks, etc. Maybe they are a bit expensive for that but why the hell does someone else's preferences matter to you? (I dont own a tablet)

Re:A Few Logical Problems (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915620)

> It sounds to me like you just don't like tablets.

No. I just see through the crap.

Tablets in general have some interesting potential. However, most of that is wasted in the current iteration of the technology.

Current tablets represent a hopelessly closed ecosystem that can't hope to replace even casual consumer desktop use.

Life is more interesting and people are more creative (even consumers).

Re:A Few Logical Problems (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915092)

I think the wording of the article is a bit extreme, but the message is clear:

PC's are being disrupted and arm/android is taking over a lot of the result.

I don't expect gaming, development, or PC's themselves to go away (if ever), but to expect the market to focus elsewhere is exactly what I got from the article.

Whether you're impressed with cellphones or not, you're missing the explosion of performance that has come with them. ARM chips, in the past 3-4 years, have gone from 400-450mhz Pentium 3 equivalents to having the performance of a PS3 [arstechnica.com] . At the rate they are going the chips will perform faster than Intel processors in no more than a couple, maybe 3 years at best. ARM already runs on linux, so microsoft "eventually offering ARM" will already be behind on their offering. First to market is critical.

Who is positioned the least to deal with ARM? Intel and Microsoft. AMD is not mentioned because they still have graphics and integrated graphics for the time being. Nvidia is not mentioned for the same reasons, as well as being involved with a ton of ARM.

Re:A Few Logical Problems (1)

LS (57954) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915210)

What about android devices with full size screens and keyboards? How does that fit into your argument?

Re:A Few Logical Problems (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915224)

. I think there's a fundamental hardware issue with capacitive touch. I am not certain it will ever get to the point where I feel comfortable doing serious work or serious gaming using a glassy surface as my input device.

My problem with using the screen as an input device is that my hand tends to cover part of the screen. When you're talking about a screen that is 4-10 inches diagonal anyway, screen real estate is at a premium. The only way for tablets to take over for the some of the tasks you described, word processing and gaming, it will have to be able to accept external input devices. A dedicated game pad for games, for example will take tablet gaming a long way. The same for a keyboard and maybe even a mouse will do the same for text input.

While this will take a way from the portability of a tablet for serious work, most people don't do serious work while the device is in portable mode. People do serious work at a desk, much like today, but will be able to take the work with them, much like with a notebook. You don't see many people doing serious work with a notebook on their lap as they travel to work. When they get to their destination, they can hook it back up to the input devices at another desk and pick up the serious stuff where they left off. During the trip, they will still retain most or all of the functionality of the device, only without the more convenient dedicated input devices. For example, a tech writer could still proofread his work on the train to work and make minor corrections using the on screen keyboard. The next chapter will be written when back at a desk.

Re:A Few Logical Problems (0)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915248)

How vary window centric of you.

Tablets are tablets and PCs are PCs. As soon as you figure that out you'll begin to understand where this is headed.

Until then enjoy your Edsel.

Re:A Few Logical Problems (2)

falsified (638041) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915284)

Tablets, in the style of the iPad or the recent Android models, just aren't useful for 8-10 hours of real work. I would say that almost anyone who has to work on a computer for their job needs to have more than one window open, too. It's hard to pull that off and maintain any level of productivity on a 7" or 10" screen.

I'm thinking of getting one to bring to meetings and such as a replacement for my bulky laptop, since I can type notes faster than I can write them (plus being able to record what's going on is great), but that would only be to make my "real work", back in my office, at a desktop computer, easier. I don't see how manufacturers can get around that while still keeping a tablet look and feel.

For home use? Sure, it's a great alternative for many people, mainly the e-mail, Facebook and Skype-only types.

Re:A Few Logical Problems (1)

g2devi (898503) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915386)

I think what the author of the article has a vague idea that the interface and use will be scalable.

Essentially, the tablet should function on its own, but if you wanted to, you could hook in a real physical keyboard (as some models currently allow) and possibly an external monitor (as nearly all laptops allow).

If you think about it, there's little need to have several devices when one will do. A decade and a half ago, IBM demoed a device (I believe it was called "the cube") which took this to the extreme. The idea was that all your data was located in a memory stick in a common format. If you plugged in the stick into a PDA, the PDA would work as if this were the main device memory. If attached to a laptop, the memory stick would be the main hard drive, and ditto for a desktop. As long as the PDA, laptop, and desktop organized the memory stick and its metadata in a compatible way, the transition should be seamless. The concept failed because this seamlessness is hard to achieve when Windows is in the picture. Power constraints is also a factor (PDAs need low power memory. Desktops need fast memory).

But we are getting to the stage when this vision is possible, except that memory and monitor will be the common device. I would be very surprised if in 5-10 years this wasn't the default.

Re:A Few Logical Problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34915534)

I have a tablet PC (with turn out keyboard) that has an inductive display and running windows 7. Microsoft OneNote is to die for. I wish I knew about it a long time ago, when I started university for example....

The Year of the Linux Palmtop? (3, Interesting)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#34914884)

Maybe the much-awaited Linux surge isn't going to be in desktops but on mobile devices. Increasingly, people have become resigned to the fact that their portable computing devices aren't going to (and don't have to) look like the PC at work.

Android and Meego (when it finally ships) are harbingers of the trend.

Re:The Year of the Linux Palmtop? (4, Informative)

Organic_Info (208739) | more than 3 years ago | (#34914994)

I really hope so, but I'm loosing faith that the popular Linux distributions will actually break out from their server (and to a small extent desktops) stronghold.

It's the OEM device manufacturers, if you look at the netbook/laptots debabcle, outside the rather significant Wintel strangulation, each OEM decided to roll their own or partner with some no name distribution for their initial Linux offerings which IMHO resulted in a rather poor consumer experience.

This gave Wintel their opportunity to get in a take control. You can see it happening again with Android, the frequently talked about fracturing of the platform will be matched by the plethroa of App Stores which are going to spring up.

Reviews of the Toshiba AC-100 all say the same thing great hardware (with some odd keyboard decisions) badly let down by the Android implementation and slef rolled App Store.

Unless an ARM OEM device and Android (or a popular big Linux distribtion) presents a decent consumer experience this will just be another "Year of the Linux..." meme in the making.

Re:The Year of the Linux Palmtop? (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915142)

look at how many android devices we have. All of them run linux. Yet you don't hear about it being calculated in global OS marketshare all the time, yet they're there. Counted separately as "mobile OS".

Microsoft is hurting from this, bigtime. Seeing Execs drop like flies is an enormous sign of looming problems. [rcpmag.com]

If people stop adding a device to the "Year of linux" thing, they'd realize that from probably 2008-now has easily been "years of explosive linux growth across the board".

If you don't canabalize your own business (4, Insightful)

pcause (209643) | more than 3 years ago | (#34914908)

The first rule of technology is that "If you don't canabalize your own business, someone else will do it for you". This is the classic tech product/company dilemna and we have lots of examples of dominant #1's who ignored this rule and are gone. Digital? Wang? Visicorp? Borland?

Re:If you don't canabalize your own business (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34914940)

Unfortunately, Borland isn't quite completely gone yet, and some of us continue to suffer because of it ....

Re:If you don't canabalize your own business (4, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915000)

The first rule of technology is that "If you don't canabalize your own business, someone else will do it for you". This is the classic tech product/company dilemna and we have lots of examples of dominant #1's who ignored this rule and are gone. Digital? Wang? Visicorp? Borland?

How about IBM's mainframe dominance in the very early microcomputer era?

The pity of it, was looking at something like DECs PDP-8 offerings, DECs multi kilodollar software kicked butt over microsoft ROM basic in a typical home PC. Microcomputers beat DEC on hardware, DEC utterly smashed microcomputers in software depth and quality, but DEC wanted like $3000 for a fortran compiler.

I think one factor of the "wintel" vs "armdroid" not discussed is the typical cost of software is, once again, imploding. The fact that the hardware and underlying OS is nice, but, much like DEC PDP-8 vs the apple II, most people will switch because the software is cheaper (not because its better) Despite not personally finding angry birds to be very entertaining, I do understand that its a bit cheaper than civ 5. Doesn't matter how much they're different, because they both do the same thing, that being wasting time, so the cheaper one will win.

Which is too bad, because I like the fancy stuff.

Re:If you don't canabalize your own business (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34915350)

Home PCs of the ROM basic era weren't powerful enough to run fancy DEC software. Even if DEC fortran had been free, nobody would have used it at home because they couldn't afford tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars for a computer to run it on.

Re:If you don't canabalize your own business (1, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915016)

  • Digital? - Who?
  • Wang? - Who?
  • Visicorp? - Who?
  • Borland? - Who?

Man, you can read some weird fucking shit on Slashdot.

Re:If you don't canabalize your own business (1)

StuartHankins (1020819) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915566)

I hope you are joking. These are all good examples of companies who were #1 at one point. A bit of Googling or a trip to Wikipedia would help you understand. I would add Lotus to the list (the pre-acquisition by IBM Lotus).

Re:If you don't canabalize your own business (3, Interesting)

uffe_nordholm (1187961) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915044)

There is a book about this problem: "The innovators dilemma". (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Innovators-Dilemma-Technologies-Cause-Great/dp/0875845851/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1295358384&sr=8-1).

Shortening the entire book into one sentence, it says that when something new (tablets) comes along, the leaders in the old business (PCs) often have problems adapting to the new market.

Windows 7 Stripped (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34914918)

It has already been shown Win7 can run on as little as 256 megabytes. Microsoft just needs to strip-out a few more functions to get it down to Tablets and Netbooks.

Re:Windows 7 Stripped (1)

kikito (971480) | more than 3 years ago | (#34914952)

I would totally build a Win7 tablet. ...

Not.

Re:Windows 7 Stripped (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915014)

Not really about what WE want. It's about what the other 99% of "how do I turn this on?" computer users want. And they are most familiar with Windows.

Re:Windows 7 Stripped (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915112)

They have certainly been effectively brainwashed into thinking that Microsoft = computer.

The phone market has provided an opportunity to shake that conditioning.

Re:Windows 7 Stripped (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915006)

I suspect that, with the right motivation, an NT-cored OS can get well down into the target range(after all, the fancy workstations that NT used to run on are now bettered by the higher end smartphones). To replace CE for all but hard real time applications, that might even be the correct course of action.

I suspect that their problem is more with third party(and, for that matter, a lot of first party) software. The Windows software ecosystem, and the typical 'use case' set of Windows software, hasn't run well in under a GB of RAM(and 1024x768 with a mouse) in a while. Twisting third party and Office Department arms on that subject is going to be the real trick.

Re:Windows 7 Stripped (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915036)

1. It's already being sold on Netbooks.

2. It takes more than just being able to run on the hardware to make it useful. It needs multi-touch gestures built in, large easily visible icons for everything, and an app store with loads of choice at the very least. Taking a desktop PC and scrunching it down to fit on a tablet is a good way to make it clunky, counter-intuitive, and ill-fitting. Everything you'd expect from Microsoft.

Get back to me when it works. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34914930)

The gadgets are fun to putz around with, don't get me wrong, but the fact that I still can't save an attachment from a gmail to my Android device without loading on some third party software means that there is a long way to go.

Re:Get back to me when it works. (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915130)

Yes. In some way tablets are still behind 30 year old GUI-less 8-bit machines in terms of usability and functionality.

Of course the fanboys will chime in that "normal people" don't want such "advanced" or "geeky" things or somehow claim that the technological contortions involved in doing these things on a tablet really aren't that bad.

Re:Get back to me when it works. (2)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915498)

The gadgets are fun to putz around with, don't get me wrong, but the fact that I still can't save an attachment from a gmail to my Android device without loading on some third party software means that there is a long way to go.

I can save gmail attachments to my Evo, no problem without any third party software. Now, if I want to open those attachments or even find them, then, yes, I will need third party apps. A file browser for example.

Tablets are not the answer (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 3 years ago | (#34914934)

Whats missing is the ARM-powered linux netbook. Take your typical netbook, remove the expensive ATOM hardware and replace it with a nice ARM SOC (the kind found in things like the iPad or Nokia N900). Run a nice arm-optimized linux distro on it with a full range of software (internet, office, media playback, photography etc) and build in a good range of support for external peripherals so that they work when you plug them in without extra effort (e.g. tethering a mobile phone, connecting a camera, using USB mass storage or USB input devices etc)

Although I think the problem is, most people have this expectation that if it looks like a laptop, its going to work like a laptop and run WoW or Word or Photoshop or whatever other windows-based software they want. Tablets are viewed differently because people dont see them as a "computer" in the way they view a netbook.

Re:Tablets are not the answer (1)

Meneth (872868) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915048)

True. I've been looking for a nice little ARM netbook since 2007, but none of the prototypes I've seen have been available for sale, at least not here in Sweden. I suspect Microsoft have been pressuring manufacturers to stick with Wintel. Hopefully, that will change before I have to buy a new one.

Re:Tablets are not the answer (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915056)

I would be somewhat surprised if we saw "stock" linux ARM-books ship in any quantity, given how fast Linux netbooks seem to have withered(though plenty of the ones that ship with Windows do just fine with linux, once loaded).

On the other hand, if it runs Android and isn't Tivoized or proprietary-blobbed all to hell, it's pretty much ready to run stock linux in the usual sense. I assume that, if only for the sake of attempted differentation, somebody is going to throw an android tablet with a folding keyboard attached out there...

Re:Tablets are not the answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34915058)

"Whats missing is the ARM-powered linux netbook"

What's this -- scotch mist?

http://www.crunchgear.com/2009/03/02/touch-book-tablet-netbook-with-arm-cpu-10-hour-battery-detachable-screen/

Re:Tablets are not the answer (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915088)

Take your typical netbook, remove the expensive ATOM hardware and replace it with a nice ARM SOC

The L-users don't care about the chipset. Remove the keyboard instead.

Although I think the problem is, most people have this expectation that if it looks like a laptop, its going to work like a laptop and run WoW or Word or Photoshop or whatever other windows-based software they want. Tablets are viewed differently because people dont see them as a "computer" in the way they view a netbook.

See above, remove the keyboard. Thats the difference. You can't convince a L-user that openoffice is the same as word, even if objectively it does the same tasks. Nothing but endless whining about retraining, despite the fact that every release of word needs both retraining and a stack of money. But remove the keyboard and the impact on the UI is enough to kick them into thinking some appstore thing is just the way its done now.

Same with WOW. I don't think you can play WOW without a keyboard, can you? (I never had that addiction). But I can and do play The Lacuna Expanse on my ipod touch.

I'm not interested in photo editing, but don't most "power users" of photoshop use keyboard shortcuts?

Re:Tablets are not the answer (1)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915098)

You can get a case with built in thin USB keyboard for about $25 for the Viewsonic G Tablet (Tegra 2 Android tablet). A lot of people getting them at XDA Developer forums. Lets you use your tablet as a tablet, or as an Android "netbook" essentially. I think this convertible arrangement is ideal, since it lets a single device function for both media consumption, app running, and light office work/light content creation tasks (Word doc editing, spreadsheet editing, heavier duty emailing than you want to do with a touchscreen keyboard, etc.).

Re:Tablets are not the answer (3, Insightful)

Organic_Info (208739) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915152)

I had high hopes for the Toshiba AC-100 but the reviews all say the same thing great hardware (with some odd keyboard decisions) badly let down by the Android implementation and self rolled App Store.

I don't understand why the OEMs seem so averse to taking a nice ARM netbook and partnering with one of the large and popular Linux distributions rather than rolling their own poor to unterley crap install or partner with some no name distribution, both of which fail to deliver a decent consumer experience or community.

ARM have been promising "ARM based laptops/netbooks will be out soon" for the last three years, so far their licensees and the OEMs have failed to deliver.

I'd say the market is there, I wonder now though if they'll just continue to chase Apple believing locked down tablets to be the market to chase rather than getting back to those of us who are waiting for a decent ARM netbook/laptop.

Arguably, they both might have an out... (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34914942)

It would require comparatively radical changes(and possibly a cut to precious, precious margins); but it seems to me that both companies have a potential major asset that they could rely on in this "Post-PC" environment:

For intel's part, their chip designs at the low-power end are mediocre and not as profitable as their Xeons and soak-the-gamers parts. However, their fabs are among the best. Were they to announce that some lucky ARM SoC maker could(for a large pile of quite public cold cash and some quiet restrictions designed to keep their product in tablets and away from Intel's bread and butter) be the only one in the industry to be fabbing their otherwise pedestrian wares on one of the smallest, lowest-power processes in the industry... Doing this would, of course, pretty much scotch their attempts to compete in the area with Atom parts, since their plan has been to die-shrink those until they can compete, so offering the competition matching die-shrinks means that that will take forever; but offering the competition die-shrinks will mean a profit per tablet/phone/whatever now, not in "just a few quarters from now, when cargo pants come back into style".

For Microsoft's part, it remains to be seen how well "Windows Phone 7" will end up doing; but, if nothing else, they have .NET/Silverlight/XNA, which is theoretically cross platform/cross architecture, and(while Apple would never touch that with somebody else's 10 foot pole), a few modifications would produce something that could be licenced to makers of Android gear that would allow it to run(nearly unmodified) .NET/Silverlight/XNA applications, produced in quantity by MS's generally well regarded developer tools. Not their preferred solution, of course, since selling OSes is more lucrative than selling runtimes(Hey Adobe, how's that "flash lite" licensing revenue working out for you?); but nothing in the relevant licenses would forbid the production of "Android for Enterprise", which takes a more or less stock build of Android; but has support for CLR software and a few interface layers to the android UI/notifications/address book. They've made money selling application software to Mac users for years, so this wouldn't be the world's most shocking departure, if Windows on tablet/phone doesn't really pan out...

high margin, not high volume (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34914944)

It seems these companies are exhibiting what many old companies tend toward: they prefer the easy lucrativity of relatively low-volume, high-margin as opposed to a more active, high volume low-margin operation. L'aissez faire economics is beckoning to these old stalwarts: evolve or fade-away!

Re:high margin, not high volume (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915148)

It seems these companies are exhibiting what many old companies tend toward: they prefer the easy lucrativity of relatively low-volume, high-margin as opposed to a more active, high volume low-margin operation. L'aissez faire economics is beckoning to these old stalwarts: evolve or fade-away!

Look at the car industry, bigger and more expensive land barges until a flood of econoboxes crushes them. Then they ask for government bailouts. Repeat every two or three decades.

I could see intel and microsoft demanding government bailouts. Look how many drones, inside and outside their companies, whom would be unemployed without them? We could very well all end up buying "armdroid" and apple "i-" products while paying taxes to keep "wintel" employees employed.

This BS again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34914948)

New yet inferior device means an older but superior device is now obsolete.

I can't see too many people willing to trade their Core i7 gaming rig for a touch-screen only tablet with non-removable battery that only runs web applications.

but thats not the point, news stories like this are meant to provoke. think of it as professional trolling.

Re:This BS again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34915296)

Q: Who sells more cars: Ford or Ferrari?

A: Ford.

Yet Ferrari make demonstrably superior products. It just so happens that Ford makes products that do what their customers want at a reasonable price. Ferrari make products that your average consumer cannot utilise to their full potential and cost more than the user needs to spend.

That's the point here. Most modern PC users are not hardcore gamers, not professional graphics artists, not broadcast engineers or music producers, not 3D animators, not engineers etc etc etc, so they don't need a computer that is capable of running Crysis, processing 50 megapixel digital images, simultaneously mix and compress multiple media streams, render the original Toy Story film or manipulate CAD diagrams of operational powerplants.

A split between pro and consumer computing kit is long overdue.

HAL

iPad? (1)

gabeman-o (325552) | more than 3 years ago | (#34914964)

Windows has never been right for any portable device - phone, tablet, netbook, etc. Name one that has worked well. No news there.

But, how can anyone possibly say that tablets will be predominatly Android? How is the iPad mentioned only in passing? Apple has already built a HUGE developer base for iOS with the iPhone and iPad. Apple is one of the only huge companies to "invest in low-end offerings", as the article has put it and it's certainly paid off for them. They've been hugely successful in iPhones and iPads, not to mention Mac Minis and AppleTV.

Microsoft is the one that stands to lose the most here, because Apple is developing hardware and software and Android is "free". It's going to take alot of convincing for any hardware manufacturer to see the value in licensing a Windows OS for their next tablet device.

Re:iPad? (1)

intheshelter (906917) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915010)

I had the same thought. Android has already been named the defacto winner and they don't even have a tablet OS released to market? Come one, talk about sticking y0ur head in the sand. I personally don't have anything against Android, but let's face a few facts. The iPhone paved the way for Android on phones. One could even say Android was a blatant rip off of Apple's OS by Google. In the same vein, the Android tablet compatible OS looks to be another attempt by Google to profit off Apple's ideas. Not only is Google perpetually following Apple on everything (Google TV too) but in some cases it's such a blatant rip off it's pathetic. I think it's going to be hard for Android to lead the pack when all we've seen Google do is copy someone else in these markets.

Re:iPad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34915090)

It depends on how much margin there is in the iPad price.

If an Android tablet can be made cheaper than an iPad than Android will have the most marketsghare. If not than Apple will continue to dominate.

Re:iPad? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915022)

To be fair, Apple the only "low-end" offering they have is the hardware bit. The price of this "low-end" hardware is still quite "high-end".
I don't know if Apple is willing to compete at a low price point if they need to; they're used to selling at a high markup.

Re:iPad? (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915260)

It's not that Apple doesn't want to compete on price point - it's that it can't. Study the history, and the main reasons why Apple was bankrupt 10 years ago.

Apple's main selling point is the image associated with its devices, not the device itself. Device obviously has to be fitting the image, i.e. hip, trendy, pretty, usable, etc. But all of these and more are just an afterthought to the image.

This is why Apple is valued as "one of the most expensive technology companies in the world" if not THE most valuable, yet it stock nosedives every time Jobs gets a health scare. It's all about the image.

Re:iPad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34915140)

The answer is easy:

Windows based its success on the fact that hardware and OS were separated. This allowed a very high competition, because everybody could create hardware, but still all software would run on it. This lead to the Wintel "platform" overtaking the monolithic OS/hardware manufacturers so easily.

And the same happens to tablets. Already, there are dozens of Android based tablets around, but still only one running iOs. Over the next 1-2 years, there will be hundreds of companies creating hardware for Android platforms (not only tablets, but also phones, car radio systems, car navigation systems, TV settops, etc.). This again will lead to very cheap and very modern hardware, and to a wide variety of Apps being available.

There is simply NO WAY Apple can compete with it's monolithic HW/SW system.

Re:iPad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34915176)

You are greatly overestimating Apple.
While their marketing and the media hype make it sound as if Apple was the big player, they only hold a tiny fraction of handhelds and will soon be a small fish in tablets (much smaller than in the smart phone segment).
And Apple doesn't "invest in low-end offerings", all their products are premium mid-range to high-end, and usually high margin.
As for their success... iPhones and iPads sure, but I think calling AppleTV or Minis a success is quite a bold statement.

I think if Windows 8 really makes it to the tablet (in 2-3 years), it will gain adoption. Win7 is quite a good OS after all (and that's saying me as a Linux user), and I see many people prefering an analogous tablet OS to Apple's iOS, while at the same time Microsoft's influence (strong arming) chips a bit off the Android share.

Re:iPad? (1)

Eskarel (565631) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915254)

The fundamental problem with iOS development is that it's a huge pain in the ass. The language isn't used on any other platforms, the developer licenses are relatively expensive and you're subject entirely to the whims of a madman when it comes to what kinds of software you can release, and what kinds of features you can use in it. Pretty much everyone who programs for it in any serious way is doing it for the money, and the money is based entirely around the iPad/Pod/Phone being the hot thing right now. If sales figures for iPhones start dropping significantly the app store will become a ghost town, no one is doing that shit for fun.

That said this whole article is bullshit, we're not going to replace our computers with tablets because tablets are shockingly unfit for a large number of purposes. Most of the space taken up by your PC is the keyboard, mouse, and monitors. Keyboards and mice aren't going anywhere and monitors are going to get bigger, not smaller. Our desire for content is also going to keep increasing past the point where wireless can possibly keep up, and it will simply never be possible to provide the same kind of power or cost efficiency in a tiny handheld device as in a tower.

Someday there will be a revolutionary change in the way we use computers which will wipe out Wintel, but it's not going to be a touch screen.

Re:iPad? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915418)

But, how can anyone possibly say that tablets will be predominatly Android? How is the iPad mentioned only in passing?

Take a look at what is happening to iOS in the handheld market, Android has already passed it and is rapidly on its way to relegating it to footnote status. Is there any reason to believe the same won't happen with tablets?

The simple truth is that Apple is a follower. OSX never happened until Linux paved the way for desktop Unix. The App Store is a copy of the package management stuff Linux users had enjoyed for years prior. Even Microsoft was stripping down and embedding Windows years before Apple ever thought of doing it with OSX, to say nothing of embedded Linux. The last innovative Macintosh was the original. The only thing they bring to the table is marketing.

Everyone put together is bigger than Apple, so Android will eat Apple alive. I only wish it would put an end to that company for good. I'm tired of people having such easy access to smug. We have to go after the dealers if we want to make a difference.

Business Users (1)

th3rmite (938737) | more than 3 years ago | (#34914966)

Sure tablets might cannibalize the home PC market, but I can't imagine the business market giving way to tablets anytime soon. I will use a tablet at work the day when I can use MS Office (or an alternative with 100% compatibility), Lotus Forms, and am able to digitally sign a document with a CAC.

Bubble (1)

js3 (319268) | more than 3 years ago | (#34914984)

I've seen some crazy predictions about mobile lately, common sense says it's a bubble.

Re:Bubble (2)

eltonito (910528) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915230)

A bubble is likely, but tablets are also a complementary market to the PC. Tablets might have an impact on PC/laptop sales, but they aren't going to spell the death of the platform anymore than Netbooks did.

And like the mighty tablet, Netbooks were predicted to deliver the death blow for PC's by pretty much every tech blog/zine. They ended up having a slight negative impact on PC sales, and then were banished to the land of the unhip the moment usable, inexpensive tablets hit the market. Netbooks failed to deliver on the hype because they were complementary technology, not replacement technology. Tablets are much the same.

Where's the Mystery? (1)

ti1ion (239188) | more than 3 years ago | (#34914986)

I haven't read the article (shocker!), but really, why would I want to? It is funny how people just don't seem to read/follow what has already been said. Just a little while ago there was an article posted here which discussed why Apple is so successful -- because they constantly invest in that "new thing" that will "disrupt" the existing order and even destroy the market for their older products. So, why can Apple make this work, but MS/Intel can't?

You want to invest in new things, even at the expense of your own, older, offerings because there is a need. Consumers want these things and you better respond. Many people now want lower power processors (just like they want fuel efficient vehicles), an OS that is less bloated than Windows, portable computing, etc.

The near-term future is not going to give us flying cars, or jetpacks, but it is obvious that it will give us ubiquitous computing. We are never going to be without a computer. We will have them in our pockets, or on our wrists, or on belt clips. We will use them for more and more of our daily tasks. And we will leave our desktops behind, except for specialized, dedicated tasks. Such tasks might include programming and photo editing and writing/composing -- things that require time and focus. But, for more and more of our computing needs, tablets and phones and whatever else comes about will be just fine.

You can't tell me MS/Intel can't see this.

Re:Where's the Mystery? (1)

uffe_nordholm (1187961) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915078)

In a company the size of MS and Intel there must be somebody who can see it. That's not the problem. The problem is convincing your boss that doing something that will severely damage another branch of the company is a good thing. If I were an executive and wanted to advance in my career, I would find it very hard to take that step.

Re:Where's the Mystery? (1)

js3 (319268) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915144)

They do see it and they constantly invest in new things.. if one bothered to research, something which the writer of this article clearly did not.

Re:Where's the Mystery? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915288)

It's pretty simply really, Apple doesn't have much of anything to lose. If anything, their tablet is just an oversized ipod and thus an extension of their current most successful product line rather than some sort of disruption to it.

An ARM based tablet is closer to Apple's main business than it is for Microsoft.

Their desktop computing platform is not the center of their business anymore. They managed to develop an alternative without directly impacting their main business such as it was.

just wow, the ignorance is overwhelming (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915042)

I have a coworker who reads Harvard Business Review regularly (or at least, puts it on her desk, I don't know if she actually reads it), so I've been thinking of getting a copy just to see if its any good. I'm glad this article came up because clearly it is not. This article isn't even well researched. This quote is so naive it's almost beyond belief:

it becomes very hard for any executive to advocate the complete development of a low cost OS that will run on tablets: not only would it cost Microsoft a lot to develop, but it would result in cannibalization of its core product sales

What???? Have they never heard of WindowsCE? Not only does Microsoft have a low cost OS that will run on tablets, they are actively developing it. Look at what Wikipedia says about WinCE [wikipedia.org] : "Windows CE ... is billed as a low-cost, compact, fast-to-market, real-time operating system available for x86, ARM, MIPS, and SuperH microprocessor-based systems." That's even ignoring the existence of WindowsXP embedded and WindowsNT embedded. It clearly wasn't hard for an executive to advocate the complete development of a low cost OS that will run on tablets.

It was so bad I had to actually read the article to make sure that the original author actually meant that. Indeed, the quote is lifted directly from the article.

Re:no, you are the ignorant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34915184)

Have they never heard of WindowsCE?

Windows CE??? Windows CE and its subset Windows Mobile were a failure. Microsoft is stepping down from that name the fastest they can. WindowsCE is made to work with a pen in a resistive touchscreen, not with fingers.

Not only does Microsoft have a low cost OS that will run on tablets, they are actively developing it. Look at what Wikipedia says about WinCE [wikipedia.org]: "Windows CE ... is billed as a low-cost, compact, fast-to-market, real-time operating system available for x86, ARM, MIPS, and SuperH microprocessor-based systems."

That doesn't say shit about Microsoft being actively developing it. For what we know they are developing Windows Phone and that's it.

That's even ignoring the existence of WindowsXP embedded and WindowsNT embedded.

What WindowsXP embedded? You are delusional. The technology showcased at CES still has a long path before coming out to the market, so you can keep dreaming for a big while...

Re:no, you are the ignorant (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915456)

Wow, way to close your mind to new knowledge when you have a chance. Let's look at your comments:

Windows CE??? Windows CE and its subset Windows Mobile were a failure. Microsoft is stepping down from that name the fastest they can.

Windows mobile was the dominant smartphone platform for half a decade, and Microsoft is doing their best to continue that. Windows Phone 7 is just a skin on top of WinCE: a minor rebranding doesn't change that fact.

That doesn't say shit about Microsoft being actively developing it. For what we know they are developing Windows Phone and that's it.

For what you know, maybe. Anyone who cares knows that Microsoft released the latest version of WinCE just a few months ago.

What WindowsXP embedded? You are delusional.

Enlighten yourself. [wikipedia.org] Released November 28, 2001.

Re:just wow, the ignorance is overwhelming (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915302)

Windows CE is a piece of shit and it is not even a contender except in the form of Windows Phone which by Microsoft's own statements will be superseded on future devices by Windows 8. So in fact you are talking from the wrong orifice. I've owned multiple WinCE devices; right now I have an iPaq H2215, a Digital Tech Dt366, and two Magellan GPSes (one of which I have hacked to run other stuff.) They are fucking garbage at all levels but especially the software. Actually, my Dt366 now runs Debian... and I have run Familiar on my H2215 (I hope to get Android working on it eventually, but I'm not trying very hard. OpenEmbedded steadfastly refuses to build a bootable system for me, every time I try someone has broken some different package. No testing is apparently built into the process of new package submission for OpenEmbedded or, by extension, Angstrom. It's a miracle when you get a build.

Re:just wow, the ignorance is overwhelming (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915608)

OpenEmbedded steadfastly refuses to build a bootable system for me, every time I try someone has broken some different package. No testing is apparently built into the process of new package submission for OpenEmbedded or, by extension, Angstrom

Wow, I'll bet you're exactly the target market for windows phones. Doesn't everyone try to install their own phone OS?

Windows CE is a piece of shit and it is not even a contender except in the form of Windows Phone

In other words, it is a contender in the form of Windows Phone. OK.

The point, which you seem to have missed, is that the article strongly implies that Microsoft is not building a mobileOS, when in fact Microsoft has been doing so for over a decade. Whether they succeed in staying in the market or not is a different question, but they are definitely trying.

Re:just wow, the ignorance is overwhelming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34915652)

Windows CE is not relevant except historically -- the mobile OS landscape was totally different back then (and it's _not_ actively developed, not in the sense required here). With CE and the embedded XP offerings you need to read the OEM/ODM licensing before you comment: MS very carefully controls where these OSes can be used, presumably because they are scared they would start cannibalizing Windows.

In other words, I think you maybe mistaken here. MS has shown all the signs of jealously protecting the crownjewels. Let's see if they manage to make bold moves in the future.

The Rise of Armdroid...on consumption platforms (1)

The O Rly Factor (1977536) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915052)

Fair amount of FUD. This article essentially states that Armdroid will rise over Wintel on platforms used mostly for the consumption of digital content. Until the day comes where I can use a tablet in place of three or four racks of x86 server clusters, I really don't care who's coming out with how many me-too tablets.

Re:The Rise of Armdroid...on consumption platforms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34915282)

Why would you use Windows on server clusters?

Why should high end Unix workstation vendors ... (1)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915054)

... try to compete with Microsoft on the low end when their profit margin is so much higher on the high end multi-processor machines?

As the various app stores continue to explode with apps, Intel will feel increasing pressure on ots high end. If they don't play defense on the low end, eventually they'll find their high end niche turning into a smaller and smaller slice of pie.

Heck, my iPad has more processing power than my fist desktop computer and, arguably, more processing power than the average desktop user needs. Five years down the road, ARM will have enough processing power to be installed in high end wokstations. If Intel doesn't keep x86 a popular choice at the low end, they'll eventually find that ARM is eating their lunch at the mid- range and ultimately at the high end.

The king is NOT dead... (1)

fermat1313 (927331) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915122)

So we're into tablets that people want to use for, what, one year now, and they are already declaring the PC dead? Not gonna happen anytime soon. The PC business is doing well, and will continue to do well, especially in the very lucrative (for Microsoft, that is) business market. People aren't buying tablets instead of PCs, they are adding a tablet to their existing PCs. Until there is some type of massive shift in business application delivery to tablets, of which I certainly haven't seen even a glimmer yet, there's nothing there to disrupt PCs in the business.

Consider how many businesses cannot even consider a move off of Windows PCs, simply because the vertical market software that makes them go simply isn't available on other platforms. What companies are doing for this isn't rewriting their app for phones or tablets, but just providing a viewer into their application data. That's where the market is going, in my opinion: PCs to do the work, tablets to take their work on the road to review.

It's way to early to plan the funeral for PCs.

First they came for the mainframes... (1)

Dr. Crash (237179) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915354)

First the Big Custom Computer market (STRETCH, EDVAC, etc) was destroyed by the mass-market mainframe makers (IBM, CDC, Univac...)

Then the mainframe market (IBM, Honeywell, Univac... does Univac still exist any more?) was cannibalized by the minicomputer makers, like DEC, Silicon Graphics, and Data General.

Then the minicomputer market (DEC, SGI, DG, et al) were literally eaten alive by the PC makers (Microsoft in conjunction with Compaq, Dell, and a new piece of IBM)

Now it's the turn of the PC makers to be rendered irrelevant by the "little teensy computers" that masquerade as smart cellphones, book readers, or "mobile internet devices", whatever _those_ are.

It may well be a race to the bottom, but as long as Moore's Law and it's corrolaries hold up, it's gonna be fun.

That Kodak Moment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34915546)

Talking with a friend from Kodak, I learned that they had exactly the same issue when it came to trying to dump film in favor of digital imaging. They had invested so much in film production that it was now effectively "free" to produce a roll of film and sell it leaving a very high profit margin.

To re-tool to produce digital cameras and only take a relatively small profit margin was very hard for them to understand.

Look what happened to Kodak.

Market "shift" or market "growth"? (2)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915560)

There is no end to the speculation of what certain things mean to the future of "the industry." Yes, tablets of varying sizes are extremely popular. They have been popular for a VERY long time starting with the Palm Pilot and some might argue even before that. But unquestionably, Palm (hand held computing) has proven to be a virtually addictive form of computing.

I don't recall, but I wonder if after the introduction and immense popularity of the Palm Pilot series of devices led people to speculate "the end of the PC as we know it?" Clearly that was not the case regardless of any speculation that may have occurred. But now we are looking at really souped up handheld devices that do a great deal more than their forerunners. A lot more of the desktop/laptop functionality is being copied into handheld devices now. But so far I see the following factors as cause not to believe that handheld computing will replace desktop computing:

1. Keyboards
2. Displays
3. General comfort

These factors all have one thing in common -- how the user interfaces with the device to make use of it. A full-sized keyboard is a must for any serious amount of data entry. It would take me four times as long or more to enter this comment from my android phone. Display sizes and positions also contribute to the comfort the user experiences. A good sized display at an appropriate elevation makes all sorts of computer use more comfortable. With handhelds, you can comfort your arms by holding the device low resulting in a "prayer" like position. (I have heard it called a "blackberry prayer" often enough) If the handheld were closer to eye level, then the arms would get tired pretty fast not to mention that the display would likely be held rather far from the user's face making it even more difficult to see the tiny displays. And if it were an iPad display, now you are dealing with an entirely different set of limitations and issues though iPad's display size is pretty optimal in my opinion though it means you can't put it into a small pocket.

The general comfort item was included to fill in the remaining gaps. But the fact is, the way handheld devices are used, they can't really be used for hours on end in comfort. Nothing really replaces the mouse. Nothing seems to overcome the need for a separate numeric keypad. (Though interestingly, since I started on things like C64 and TRS80 CoCo, it took some doing to get used to the 10-key at all... and I still don't use it so much personally -- I just say that people in general make a great deal of use of the 10-key portion of a keyboard even if I don't) To have your hand lower, your arms rested and your head vertical at once is a human ergonomic requirement that cannot be overcome without extreme technological improvements such as display "glasses" or projectors.

While there is unquestionably a revival in the popularity of handheld computing and data devices, I don't see it "replacing" the desktop PC just yet and it has little to do with their power and capacity and everything to do with how it is used. (These are details that gadget engineers tend to forget while they are taking advantage of ever more powerful things in ever more tiny packages.)

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