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Android On the Desktop

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the wait-what dept.

Android 247

puddingebola writes "John Morris at CNET offers a brief review of PC Android devices, many of them hybrids running Windows 8 and Android. From the article, 'Microsoft has spent a lot of time and effort trying to get Windows onto smartphones and tablets — so far without a whole lot to show for it. Now several PC companies are trying the opposite approach, taking the Android operating system and porting it to PCs.' The article reviews the recent releases from HP, Acer, Asus, and Samsung. Does Android creeping onto desktop or 'traditional' PC devices have any kind of possible long term consequences? Could this be a way for Android and Google to develop a larger presence in corporate IT, or could Android ever really supplant the Windows foothold?"

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I would use Gnome 3 instead (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44117417)

Android has some good ideas in it, but is primarily designed for small handheld computers that comes with modems. Gnome 3 is at least designed for the desktop.

Re:I would use Gnome 3 instead (3, Insightful)

liamdawe (2492806) | about a year ago | (#44117515)

Gnome is aweful, they took away one of the biggest and most useful things for Desktop computing - minimizing. Until people stop kidding themselves that people don't need minimize Gnome 3's Shell will never gain true adoption.

Re:I would use Gnome 3 instead (-1, Troll)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#44117577)

go fork yourself

Re:I would use Gnome 3 instead (2, Insightful)

maharvey (785540) | about a year ago | (#44117825)

The current gnome and kde offerings are so awful I find myself preferring to use my Android phone, despite the tiny screen, awful keyboard, and limited functionality. It's just plain easier to use. And more intuitive. Or I use my win 7 laptop... but once IT switches that to Win 8 I'm going to be very very unhappy.

Still trying to find a Linux environment I like. I got by for some years on Fedora 10 and Windows XP, but those have pretty much reached the end of their life. The Mint stuff seems promising; but MATE and XFCE had some bugs, and lacked configurability. I think with maturity these may improve. It's sad when Windows is more configurable and less buggy than Linux. But right now it is true. I lost track of how many Linux distros I've installed in the last year.

I'm a professional Linux developer, not a hater, and I've been using it for 20 years. I can write code, but I don't want to have to. I don't want to have to be a beardy sysadmin just to get a system running and keep it up. I hacked it for years and you know what? I've decided I have better things to do with my sparse free time. I want something that just works, out of the box, without a silly learning curve, without having to use google as a user manual just to do basic stuff that takes one or two clicks on Windows. If I hack I want to do it for fun, not necessity.

Re:I would use Gnome 3 instead (3, Interesting)

FrederikNS (1492673) | about a year ago | (#44118033)

I had the same thought, but I finally settled on Linux Mint with Cinnamon. At first it felt a bit like a Windows UI, but now I have actually become very happy with it.

Re:I would use Gnome 3 instead (2)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year ago | (#44118121)

Right on. This is what I've done as well.

Re:I would use Gnome 3 instead (5, Interesting)

UltraZelda64 (2309504) | about a year ago | (#44118047)

The current gnome and kde offerings are so awful I find myself preferring to use my Android phone, despite the tiny screen, awful keyboard, and limited functionality. It's just plain easier to use.

Why? No one is forcing you into using GNOME 3 on Linux. I sure as hell won't touch it and I've been a Linux user since 2006 (maybe a year or two more if you consider dual-boot configurations and my learning period...).

Still trying to find a Linux environment I like. I got by for some years on Fedora 10 and Windows XP, but those have pretty much reached the end of their life. The Mint stuff seems promising; but MATE and XFCE had some bugs, and lacked configurability. I think with maturity these may improve. It's sad when Windows is more configurable and less buggy than Linux. But right now it is true. I lost track of how many Linux distros I've installed in the last year.

That's another point entirely; first GNOME 3 kept you off Linux, now you're saying no desktop on it is good enough. Which one really is it? Either way, I'm pretty sure Windows has its own share of bugs and lacks things the others don't have, so really, it all evens out in the end.

I don't want to have to be a beardy sysadmin just to get a system running and keep it up. I hacked it for years and you know what? I've decided I have better things to do with my sparse free time. I want something that just works, out of the box, without a silly learning curve, without having to use google as a user manual just to do basic stuff that takes one or two clicks on Windows. If I hack I want to do it for fun, not necessity.

I'm not a hacker; hell, I don't even know how to code--and I can run Linux just fine. And maintenance? What maintenance? I have had to do very, very little maintenance on my machines since switching to Linux. No defragging, no regular clean-up to keep the system running fast, no anti-virus/spyware/adware/trojan/worm/you-name-it software to suck up resources and have to keep updated. System update? Just download and burn the latest ISO, nuke the old / partition and install there. When the system is installed, that's about it; it's ready to go with all user settings intact. Maintaining Linux has been a dream compared to Windows.

Re:I would use Gnome 3 instead (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44118301)

And this is why I use OS X. Don't have to fight with my operating system to get it to do what I want, yet still get all the power of an underlying UNIX system.

Re:I would use Gnome 3 instead (0)

real-modo (1460457) | about a year ago | (#44118341)

This story normally ends with "... and that's why I bought a Mac".

Gnome 3 with Android Maybe Gnandroid (0)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#44117637)

Gnome is aweful, they took away one of the biggest and most useful things for Desktop computing - minimizing. Until people stop kidding themselves that people don't need minimize Gnome 3's Shell will never gain true adoption.

Gnome 3 is great...Gnome Shell is awful(and some of the changes but not all to files). For Normal desktop use.

I would love a hybrid(kill for) Gnome/Android Desktop with a decent touch screen monitor(4X) on MicroITX ARM motherboard. Somewhere there is a balance between touchscreen use and desktop use, and Maybe as part of that Gnome Shell maybe better...but I doubt it.

I am tired of Company X getting out of the Desktop game(Samsung this week) chasing Apples shrinking margins, rather than reinventing the Desktop Market with something new, and Gnandroid would be my choice (or Kandroid or Xfandroid as a push).

Re:I would use Gnome 3 instead (0)

flimflammer (956759) | about a year ago | (#44117775)

Sure, Gnome 3 isn't great, but I think that was the point of his post. There's no reason to use Android on a PC. Even Gnome 3 is preferable.

Re:I would use Gnome 3 instead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44118277)

This is just not true, I minimize windows ALL the time. And Gnome 3 is still within 1-2% usage share of the top DE's. It's pretty much a split with KDE, Mate, Cinamon, Unity. That's not "never gain true adoption."

Either install an addon to enable the minimize button, or learn to use the keyboard. Gnome 3 is one of the first mainstream (for linux anyway,) desktops that you can use without CONSTANTLY switching between mouse and keyboard with your right hand, and when you do, it's for more than 1 or 2 actions.

Re:I would use Gnome 3 instead (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44117859)

The point is that both Android and Gnome 3 are better desktop OSs than Windows 8.

Most importantly, Android is outselling Windows by a large margin, and will pass its installed base very soon. MS can't rely on using their OS dominance to leverage format lockin any more. People will want to interchange their documents, spreadsheets etc with phones, tablets, and yes, Android powered desktops. If Microsoft still refuses to play nice and maintain compatibility, they will be seen as the weak option and will risk losing both of their Windows and Office cash-cows simultaneously.

Finally, after decades of stagnation under an abusive monopoly, computer manufacturers and developers can start innovationg again.

Re:I would use Gnome 3 instead (1)

fauxjargon (2804219) | about a year ago | (#44118001)

Android is outselling windows because desktops and laptops (especially desktops) last a very long time compared to smartphones/tablets. Also, lots of people pirate Windows, Android comes with the hardware when you buy a phone or tablet.

Re:I would use Gnome 3 instead (5, Insightful)

Decker-Mage (782424) | about a year ago | (#44118281)

I would sure love to have some of the drugs your smoking! Seriously, people always make the mistake of assuming that it is Windows that is keeping the Microsoft money pit going. Sadly, for the alternatives, it's Office itself that is the key to Microsoft dominance. Not a single alternative out there for MS Office has 100% compatibility with Office, all the moving parts of Office, not just the document formats (which nobody gets right to date). Since Office only runs on Windows, MS gets to sell a lot of copies of Windows. Workers, for now, have to keep a copy installed on their home computers so they can get work done outside office hours, if you have the luxury of having real office hours, which means that a lot more copies of Office get sold along with all those copies of Windows.

Yes, there are ways to get around the no Office on anything but Windows (or Mac for a niggling few percentage points) but for the typical, must be appliance-like (or automobile-like) in terms of usage, Linux hasn't been there yet. [Yes, I know Crossover Office and Wine but they ain't appliance-like.] However, there's a huge camel's nose under the Microsoft tent in the shape of tablets and other light-weight devices. The form-factors aren't great but they are easier to cart around when you have office-crap fall into your lap out of the office. Microsoft knows this, or they seem to occasionally act (ir)rationally around this. The solutions are "the cloud" to get you that MS Office-like experience (Office 365) and/or VDI.

Unfortunately for MS, they don't seem to have a clue on either the marketing or the pricing. Those two solutions pretty much only work for larger firms, not your smaller businesses let alone a mom-and-pop. [Have you ever seriously priced Cloud Backup? Including infrastructure costs? Heart Attack!] Equally unfortunate is that there are no cheaper alternatives in sight that actually cross the Office-clone on Android, iOS, whatever divide. VDI licensing costs are just simply absurd, let alone the licensing restrictions per device on top of all the other costs.

I'm not the only one thinking damn hard about this mess. What the fuck do we recommend to SOHO's, SMB's, hell even SME's around BYOD and making all the pieces work together without breaking the bank either in capital or hell, just recurring operating costs? Microsoft has essentially written off an everyone except the few firms that buy in huge bulk (via Software Assurance). Everyone else gets to talk to we VAR's and get to deliver the financial bad new. Thanks for nothing Microsoft.

I'm going to see about getting one of these combination devices. I can already do Android on any of my Windows boxen so that ain't new. And Windows 8 is the first desktop that I haven't immediately done a rip-&-replace desktop crap to something more reasonable, but I've been doing that for decades (Amigan here ;-). What I don't appreciate is throwing shekels Microsoft's way when they are the source of the problem, not the source of a (hell any!) solution. /rant My sincerest apologies.

Re:I would use Gnome 3 instead (3)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year ago | (#44117889)

As someone that uses KDE programs in Gnome, my view is that what in the end could matter are compatibility layers, the ability to run the apps you like in the environment you like. Maybe android is not the most comfortable environment for desktop, but i would not complain if i can run its apps in i.e. gnome 3, if that the environment you prefer. That is one of the strenghts of linux, one base OS, apps that runs on different environments and devices, and the ability to run in one environment apps from another. That way i had the possibility to run WebOS apps/games in Maemo [maemo.org] , or X apps on Mir [slashdot.org] .

So, maybe i would or not run android on desktop linux, but probably will want to run its apps.

Re:I would use Gnome 3 instead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44117925)

Disagree with your view, but I will up-mod you because someone down-modded you for no reason other than giving an oppinion. Uh uh. I don't play that.

Isn't this done already? (1, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | about a year ago | (#44117451)

I have been seeing and reading about Android computers the size of a USB flash drive which can clip on a LCD monitor, and gets power from a USB cable.

I think in China and a lot of other countries, Android is a desktop OS, but other than a few models winding up on this side of the pond, I've not seen that many of these Android devices.

Re:Isn't this done already? (3, Informative)

stonedcat (80201) | about a year ago | (#44117535)

My MK808 works perfectly as a media center for my TV. I have various nfs/samba shares mounted on it and run XBMC with a mirror of my desktop library database. Planning to upgrade to an MK908 quad core when the price comes down a bit and the bugs in the firmware are ironed out. As for a desktop system I could see it working for most folks, however the way that android manages apps would need to be reworked a bit to accommodate non-touch interfaces.. assuming these don't become desktop standard.

Re:Isn't this done already? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44117653)

You know what? Nobody cares.

Re:Isn't this done already? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#44117663)

Is that why you are trolling an article about Android based desktops?

"Nobody" is hyperbole for "too few people" (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44118089)

In a Slashdot comment, "nobody cares" is likely to mean "not enough people care to create economies of scale." Small budget laptops running GNU/Linux, for example, were a commercial failure because the supermajority of users turned out to expect Windows. (That and the fact that a lot of these netbooks shipped with launchers even more horrible than some people make Ubuntu Unity or GNOME Shell out to be.)

Re:"Nobody" is hyperbole for "too few people" (2)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year ago | (#44118171)

Nope, they were a failure because of Tablets, but very small PCs, like those USB android devices are actually a big success.

Re:"Nobody" is hyperbole for "too few people" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44118175)

Yogi Berra on why he no longer went to Ruggeri's, a St. Louis restaurant: "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded."

Re:Isn't this done already? (4, Interesting)

Paul Steffen (2947609) | about a year ago | (#44118049)

Android is a terrific desktop OS. I have all my tools within a few clicks, including Splashtop streaming to either my desktop or PC (even streaming at 2560x1400 resolution works beautifully to my nexus 10). I also have both the mk808 and (recently) the quad-core mk908 which does many things FAR faster than Windows or MacOS-X. Browsing, checking e-mail, tweaking photos (PS Mobile), listening to music, editing code, etc. IMHO, Android is the sleek, fast desktop Linux OS we've all wished would happen. All that needs to happen is a way to host chroot-like gnome/kde environments and HW-accelerated integrated X11 server. btw, anyone considering either the mk808 or mk908 - go with the mk908 - it's not just faster but includes bluetooth, a big convenience with low-power USB-powered device with limited USB ports - also, there's lots of cool bluetooth hardware supported on android like ELM327 interfaces that interact with your car.

Re:Isn't this done already? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#44117551)

I have been seeing and reading about Android computers the size of a USB flash drive which can clip on a LCD monitor, and gets power from a USB cable.

I think in China and a lot of other countries, Android is a desktop OS, but other than a few models winding up on this side of the pond, I've not seen that many of these Android devices.

It'll all depend upon how you define desktop I suppose. Mine is a big noisy thing with a lot of power to do things. Android seems geared to small, quiet things with small power needs.

Re:Isn't this done already? (5, Informative)

Hadlock (143607) | about a year ago | (#44117605)

Most people just need a thin client to access Facebook/Gmail/Amazon.com/Pintrest, Youtube and the 2-3 specialty sites, pay bills and let junior type up his book report. The needs of people who post here are vastly different from 95% of the population.
 
An Android device the size of a thumb drive that plugs in to the back of their living room TV and works with their bluetooth keyboard/mouse is more powerful than many people will ever need.

Re:Isn't this done already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44117811)

Agreed. I have a big honking desktop with gobs of mem and cpu because I do photo retouching/editing and actually need all the firepower. However, when I'm not working, a small tablet/phablet like device that connects to the living room TV and uses a bt keyboard/mouse would suit me just fine. Ideally it would replace my phone (galaxy note 2), so it could double as a home computer and everyday swiss-army-device.

Re:Isn't this done already? (1)

fauxjargon (2804219) | about a year ago | (#44118013)

With a docking station a Galaxy Note 2 is more than powerful enough for web browsing / MS Office / email type stuff. 95% of people don't do anything with their computer except for gaming that a modern smartphone isn't able to handle.

Microsoft Office on Android? (2)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44118123)

With a docking station a Galaxy Note 2 is more than powerful enough for web browsing / MS Office / email type stuff.

Since when is Microsoft Office ported to Android? I thought mobile Microsoft Office was exclusive to Windows Phone and Windows RT, just as Halo 3 is exclusive to Xbox 360. Even the port of LibreOffice can't be released yet because it's too big for Google Play Store [arstechnica.com] .

Re:Isn't this done already? (1)

Decker-Mage (782424) | about a year ago | (#44118411)

Actually most of the people that I know and support, i.e. not into consoles/PC-Gaming-Rig-From-Hell (should that be a new acronym?), do just fine with the games on their tablets/phones/etc under Android and iOS. I have yet another self-designed rig from hell here except it has nothing to do with gaming. I do complex analysis/simulations so the "gaming video-cards" are a bit of a super-computer here.

Just a random thought but since MS has introduced the concept of a portable work environment (Windows-To-Go, but only for Enterprise Software Assurance customers), I can definitely foresee just such a critter but that plugs into home entertainment systems, tablet-like devices, and so forth. I just wonder why no one has brought such a beast to market. Of if they already have, why haven't I seen some blurbage around it?

Re:Isn't this done already? (4, Insightful)

exomondo (1725132) | about a year ago | (#44117813)

Most people just need a thin client to access Facebook/Gmail/Amazon.com/Pintrest, Youtube and the 2-3 specialty sites, pay bills and let junior type up his book report.

That sounds more like what most people have in common rather than the only things most people need.

Re:Isn't this done already? (4, Insightful)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#44118319)

Yes, thats what many "end of the desktop" proponents dont seem to understand. Even if these mobile operating systems satisfied 95% of the things people often do with a computer, most people would still have their own 5% niche need that the mobile OS is completely inappropriate for and the device hardware itself completely under-powered for.

You have to wonder how tech-literate these "end-of-the-desktop" proponents really are, since clearly they are just consumers of data at most. of course they will challenge you to give them some reason for desktops and you will of course give them a specific answer, and they will of course say that only 5% of people do that.. an argument that ignores the fact that my 5% is different from your 5% is different from someone elses 5%.... but most people have a 5%.

Re:Isn't this done already? (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#44117703)

most desktop grunt is wasted... may be one of the biggest source of energy wastage on the planet (along with things like cars sitting at traffic lights)

there are certainly applications where a grunty desktop workstation is a must (such as 3D CAD) but by far most desktop users don't need the grunt that has been forced on them by the wintel upgrade cycles

Re:Isn't this done already? (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about a year ago | (#44117939)

Dwarf Fortress makes probably the most rigorous use of my desktop machine.

Re:Isn't this done already? (1)

mlts (1038732) | about a year ago | (#44118135)

If I had a beefy server with a bunch of GPUs in it, so I can stream video graphics (similar to OnLive except running on the LAN), then for everything else, use the server with something like Citrix XenApp. That way, the desktop computer does relatively little work while the server is the machine that gets secured. Since most infections come from compromised websites, having the Web browsing done under Android will help reduce [1] the incidences of infection.

[1]: Not eliminate completely -- I've seen rogue sites which try to get the user to install a sideloaded package.

Re:Isn't this done already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44117559)

I think in China and a lot of other countries, Android is a desktop OS

It's not. Just as most Chinese people do not use Red Flag Linux.

Various thin client applications (4, Interesting)

stox (131684) | about a year ago | (#44117471)

Android will be a good alternative for customer service call centers where you only want to use a browser and possibly one or two additional applications.

I can imagine a lot of thin client type applications that will have similar requirements.

It will save a fortune on licensing and hardware requirements.

Re:Various thin client applications (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44117767)

Perhaps, once somebody bodges together an actually-working set of management tools for Android.

Are Wintels brutally overpowered and needlessly complex for many purposes they are put to? Sure. Can I use off-the-shelf tools to take one out of the box, PXE boot it, dump a substantially system-agnostic image onto it, and get mostly-done-for-me centralized account management, configuration of virtually anything, etc, etc.? Also yes.

Android(and iOS, though Apple has been a bit more aggressive about building tools that kind of allow you to paper over its raging deficiencies in the area) is a total mess by comparison. It's intensely geared to the 'Well, everyone just has a Google Account, and they log in an install their Apps, easy, right?' model. Almost every different model has its own little port, remote management is comparatively weak and hacky, it's an ugly business.

I welcome this (4, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year ago | (#44117485)

I'd like to see Android on the PC become commercially available. We have a touchscreen laptop running Win8. Currently I'm planning to find a friend of my daughter's that needs a laptop and gift it. (Downgrading to Win7 is pointless because it has a touchscreen and Win7 touchscreen support is pretty much useless.) But I might reconsider if there were a native Android that would run on it. Assuming reasonable hardware support, and that there was a reasonable selection of Android apps that run on Intel architecture.

Re:I welcome this (2)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about a year ago | (#44117957)

Supposedly, my Asus eee PC 4G is supported hardware for Android-x86 [android-x86.org] , but I haven't tried it yet. It works quite well as a regular PC still.

Re:I welcome this (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year ago | (#44118037)

That's good news. This touchscreen laptop is an Asus also. Might be worth the experiment.

And off we go! (3, Insightful)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#44117489)

This is the final barrier to switching to it as a desktop, or laptop on the sofa. Major games. Which requires mainline hardware adoption.

When fps and mmos with big iron 3D run on this (sorry Pocket Legends, you're cool but it's the pockets bit that doesn't cut it long term!) then it's time to buy the moving van from Windows, as I did from Mac long ago. The trifecta will be on Android -- surfing, office apps, and big games. Then only price remains...and the Big Mo of cachet.

Re:And off we go! (3, Interesting)

Desler (1608317) | about a year ago | (#44117589)

Games have next to nothing to do with selling desktops. Even every single Steam combined user barely represents 3-4% of all PC users worldwide.

Re:And off we go! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44117717)

I bet games industry is bigger than OS industry by far. More money means it matters more than OS, desktops or whatever.

Does nobody Use Google (3, Informative)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#44117821)

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/6/prweb10796698.htm [prweb.com] Estimates that the Games Industry is worth....$66Billion Revenue, but only $20Billion of that was from the PC gaming...Microsoft earned that in just one quarter http://www.microsoft.com/Investor/EarningsAndFinancials/Earnings/FinancialStatements/FY13/Q3/IncomeStatements.aspx [microsoft.com] . If you want to know why computers cost so much compared to tablets...$16Billion of that $20Billion was Gross profits...Bill Gates the humanitarian says they shouldn't pay tax on it though.

Re:Does nobody Use Google (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#44118351)

Seems sort of disingenuous to compare on the terms that you have, since Microsoft is part of that games industry you compared them to...

No doubt Microsoft is making more money than ever, but I seem to recall one specific Microsoft employee leave to form a game company because he observed that Quake was the #1 selling software application... oh yeah.. that was Gabe Newell, who started Valve and now owns Steam.

Re:And off we go! (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about a year ago | (#44117797)

3-4% of PC users is a pretty large number. Enough for its own not-so-small niche.

Computing vs Client (2)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#44117539)

Android has basically become, like most tablets are, the modern equivalent of a thin client for the internet. And frankly, that's all a lot of users care about. It may not be the ideal of most people on /. for daily use, but I know a lot of teenage kids would be quite satisfied with that.

Windows 8 Competitor (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#44117683)

Android has basically become, like most tablets are, the modern equivalent of a thin client for the internet. And frankly, that's all a lot of users care about. It may not be the ideal of most people on /. for daily use, but I know a lot of teenage kids would be quite satisfied with that.

Ironically with Metro, and Secure boot, Microsoft Lets get in on the software Store, Windows look like a poor mobile device...with all the markup that comes with Intel and Microsoft walking home with a 70% Gross Margin. This is about helping to sell those failing to compete because of Price, by offering Android as an incentive...and its a good one, as Unlike Windows people want and Desire Android.

Re:Windows 8 Competitor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44117855)

Unlike Windows people want and Desire Android.

If your assertion were true then Android would have supplanted Windows a long time ago, it is available on such a broad and diverse range of devices that are generally a lot cheaper than the ones Windows is on. With its malware, security, inconsistency and performance problems it is no better than Windows, the OS most people desire is OSX.

If only Apple would licenece OS X (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#44117963)

If your assertion were true then Android would have supplanted Windows a long time ago, it is available on such a broad and diverse range of devices that are generally a lot cheaper than the ones Windows is on. With its malware, security, inconsistency and performance problems it is no better than Windows, the OS most people desire is OSX.

I know you like to think that people want OS X, but the fact is People are aware of OSX and are not just not buying it...they are in fact buying it less 22% last quarter 2% this, and well Windows has been dropping sales...is it 5 quarters now or 6 with more doom and gloom on the horizon...yet Ironically Android is set to eclipse Windows installation this year Yeah! For those who still care Linux has been grabbing a little market share too. high fives all around.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to post than information.

Dual boot mac (4, Insightful)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about a year ago | (#44117555)

When I first started to switch to mac I thought the dual boot would be a great introduction. Within a week I cleared out my windows partition and moved it to a VM. Months later I found I was only going to windows for to see that all was still working in IE and to run the occasional windows only application.

So having an Android/Windows combo may very well have the same results for many. They will think that they can have the best of both worlds and find that Android serves many of their needs quite nicely and instead of "rejecting" windows discover they just aren't using it. So instead of it being a religious conversion it will be more of a migration.

This has got to be a nightmare scenario for MS in that they know that for most people almost any OS will do. Does it have a browser, check (that will be the limit of most people's lists) does it have an easy way to watch Youtube, does it have any good games, does it boot really fast, does it have a good battery life.

You will notice I didn't put office applications in that list as most people only use those at work.

Plus the needs of us techie types are way way off most people's lists.

Re:Dual boot mac (1)

Hadlock (143607) | about a year ago | (#44117695)

A lot of people remote desktop in from home to their work machine. It's not commonplace now, but about 1 in 10 people I know (friends, parents etc) have had that capability in at least one previous job, generally larger corporations.
 
Why install office when you can just access it from your work machine at home? My job gave me a full copy of Office, but I've never installed it because it's faster to just RDP in to work rather than clutter up my PC with 12GB of office crap just to be able to use Word and Excel three times a year.

Re:Dual boot mac (1)

farble1670 (803356) | about a year ago | (#44117887)

Why install office when you can just access it from your work machine at home? My job gave me a full copy of Office, but I've never installed it because it's faster to just RDP in to work rather than clutter up my PC with 12GB of office crap just to be able to use Word and Excel three times a year.

1. because it's a bad idea to mix your work and personal documents?
2. because you have to spend time transferring the docs from work to your personal account
3. because if you lose your job, you won't be able to open any of your documents
4. because using a remote display introduces lag

if you use it 3x, you should just pick an online free solution (such as google docs).

Re: Dual boot mac (1)

Hadlock (143607) | about a year ago | (#44117973)

I use google docs for all my personal documents, and save local copies for anything important. RDPing in to my work machine is easier than maintaining two sets of work documents on two machines. If you work in a regulated industry or for the government any files stored on the machine are cannidates for auditing by the government, I don't reccomend mixing work and home documents.

Scorched Earth (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#44117725)

When I first started to switch to mac

I reinstalled it with a friendly open Linux Distribution, I still cry in shower holding my knees tight and rocking trying to forget OS X. Fortunately they have managed to make their quality computing if overpriced computer products into glorified electronics devices, causing a drop in sales of 22% and 2%(more sane) higher than the rest of the PC market, fortunately there is devices like Pixel from Google to replace Apples offerings.

Bottom up victory (5, Insightful)

countach (534280) | about a year ago | (#44117585)

The history of computing is that winners emerge from the bottom up. DOS was a toy that came to destroy the mighty mainframe. Sun despised consumer level hardware, and now it has vanished, consumed by cheaper Linux and Windows boxes. Android isn't exactly ready as a desktop OS, but its mad ascent in cheap mobile devices means it should be feared.

Already happening (4, Interesting)

mcrbids (148650) | about a year ago | (#44117751)

I still use my laptop for "srs bizness" but recently, when I did some server upgrades where I would normally log in via the laptop intermittently to perform admin functions, I found myself using my folding bluetooth keyboard and my Android phone instead.

It was surprisingly productive and, being much smaller, was actually far more convenient than pulling out what felt like "big iron" to do a simple shell task.

My Android 4.1 phone (Moto Razr Maxx HD and I love it!) is already my go-to device for casual browsing.

Re:Bottom up victory (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44117757)

unfortunately much like DOS, Android has been built completely devoid of a solid multi user security and management system. Android has a long LONG way to go and is likely to go through the same security nightmares in this scenario that were enjoyed by win 9x and early XP. It would have to survive that to be successful and I am not sure it can as windows at the time had no real desktop viable alternatives that didn't see you sacrifise major apps or features to use, android does not enjoy that situation.

Seriously (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#44118139)

unfortunately much like DOS, Android has been built completely devoid of a solid multi user security and management system.

...on a phone.

Re:Seriously (1)

AF_Cheddar_Head (1186601) | about a year ago | (#44118313)

No, on a tablet.

My pet peeve is when one of my kids borrows my tablet and it comes back cluttered with all his/her stuff.

Pet Peeve No More (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#44118335)

No, on a tablet.

My pet peeve is when one of my kids borrows my tablet and it comes back cluttered with all his/her stuff.

http://developer.android.com/about/versions/android-4.2.html [android.com] "Multiple Users

Android now allows multiple user spaces on shareable devices such as tablets. Each user on a device has his or her own set of accounts, apps, system settings, files, and any other user-associated data.

As an app developer, there’s nothing different you need to do in order for your app to work properly with multiple users on a single device. Regardless of how many users may exist on a device, the data your app saves for a given user is kept separate from the data your app saves for other users. The system keeps track of which user data belongs to the user process in which your app is running and provides your app access to only that user’s data and does not allow access to other users’ data."

Although you can get similar functionality from running any number of Apps/Third Party Roms :). My pet peeve is people too last to Google :).

Re:Seriously (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#44118371)

...on a phone.

They said the same about the desktop.

"Desktops arent workstations.. they dont need multiple users."

Re:Bottom up victory (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about a year ago | (#44118185)

OTOH, Android apps run non-root which is a large part of what it took so long for Microsoft to get around to. In fact, applications run with different UIDs depending on the developer but otherwise standard Unix type permissions apply. It's far from perfect but it's not as awful as you would think.

Re:Bottom up victory (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44117779)

Mainframes are still around. Worldwide production is remarkably like the small numbers that were typically projected for them. What cheap desktops killed was the Minicomputer business of the 60s-70s.

Re:Bottom up victory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44117799)

DOS was a toy that came to destroy the mighty mainframe.

News to me.

Excellent (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44117613)

I for one welcome our new Desktop Droid Overlords!

It's a step in the right direction (4, Interesting)

ikhider (2837593) | about a year ago | (#44117643)

For those who say 'I can't run GNU/Linux, I don't know anything about computers', I reply, 'If you use Android, or any embedded devices, you already have. It's not that difficult.' Android as an OS will hopefully lead the migration to GNU/Linux OS where the user has control. Right now, if you have an Android based device, you cannot even upgrade your version without the blessing of the service provider. Giving control back to the user is key. Rooting your Android device ought to be a right, not some massive struggle where you potentially void your device warranty. PC manufacturers like HP used to void warranties when clients installed GNU/LInux, not anymore. Because HP (and the like) are freaking HARDWARE manufacturers, not software, unless we're talking bios. Power to the user.

Re:It's a step in the right direction (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about a year ago | (#44117875)

Giving control back to the user is key.

I don't think it is, to people here absolutely, but the vast majority of people don't need or want that level of control. The choice has always been there though and continues to be there but adoption of those solutions has never taken off in the mainstream environment because users simply do not care.

Re:It's a step in the right direction (1)

ikhider (2837593) | about a year ago | (#44117943)

So you are saying that wheaeras we would want someone qualified for president, most prefer the Republican/Democrat binary and don't need/care for better solutions. We need to change that.

Re:It's a step in the right direction (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about a year ago | (#44118365)

No, i'm not saying that at all.

Re:It's a step in the right direction (2)

scottbomb (1290580) | about a year ago | (#44117995)

I'd like to see some real, hard facts to back up these assertions. The constant rhetoric from the "I'm the real geek" crowd on /. is that "most people" (grandma, sister, uncle Jim...) only care about looking at Facebook and YouTube and other than the occasional Word document, they can barely operate a computer. I think this meme is condescending and inaccurate. Sure, there are such folks, but I highly doubt they constitute the majority of PC users.

Re:It's a step in the right direction (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44118161)

The constant rhetoric from the "I'm the real geek" crowd on /. is that "most people" (grandma, sister, uncle Jim...) only care about looking at Facebook and YouTube and other than the occasional Word document, they can barely operate a computer. I think this meme is condescending and inaccurate.

I'd be willing to consider evidence otherwise. But the sale of PCs that include Intel integrated graphics and no discrete graphics card, combined with the success of video game consoles, shows that people are in fact satisfied with PCs that can't do much more than homework and Facebook. In fact, one householder in my survey sample told me that in a cash crunch, he would cut off Internet to his household before cutting off pay TV.

Re:It's a step in the right direction (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about a year ago | (#44118359)

I'd like to see some real, hard facts to back up these assertions.

The real hard facts are that while devices that provide this control are easily available and have been for many many years they are still not the device of choice for most people.

The constant rhetoric from the "I'm the real geek" crowd on /. is that "most people" (grandma, sister, uncle Jim...) only care about looking at Facebook and YouTube and other than the occasional Word document, they can barely operate a computer. I think this meme is condescending and inaccurate.

I agree, but that's not contrary to my original statement.

Why not ChromeOS (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#44117951)

In what way is Android on a laptop any preferable to ChromeOS?

Because not all apps are ported (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44118173)

In what way is Android on a laptop any preferable to ChromeOS?

For running applications that are ported to Android but not ported to Chrome Web Store. Or is there an automated way to make such ports by now?

When did HP change? (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about a year ago | (#44118333)

PC manufacturers like HP used to void warranties when clients installed GNU/LInux, not anymore.

Just a year or so ago I bought my wife an HP laptop specifically for a sysadmin class where she'd be installing Linux on it. Got it home, had a question for HP about it, and discovered in the process (from the phone support) that installing Linux would void their warranty. Checked the paperwork: Yep! So we returned it to Staples for a full refund and went with something else.

When did HP change this policy?

Re:It's a step in the right direction (4, Insightful)

_merlin (160982) | about a year ago | (#44118381)

I call bullshit on your whole line of thinking. No-one who professes lack of computer knowledge would ever say they can't run "GNU/Linux" - the only people who actually say "GNU/Linux" are RMS-worshippers.

Anyway if you want to go down the path of calling distributions with GNU userland tools "GNU/Linux" Android doesn't qualify, because it doesn't give the user GNU userland anyway. It uses the Linux kernel, but that's irrelevant to a non-technical user. They could swap the kernel out for anything without users even noticing as long as the Android userland is moved across.

I've been using Android on one for a while (-1, Flamebait)

carlhaagen (1021273) | about a year ago | (#44117657)

I bought an MK808B "Android stick" a few months ago. It's a dual-core ARM A9 running by default at 1 GHz - up to 1.6 GHz technically, but they're not stable up there - which I have overclocked to 1.2 GHz without it crashing on me. It has 1GB of RAM and 8GB of flash memory shared between OS and user-installed apps etc. and comes with Bluetooth, 802.11 b/g/n, two USB ports and a microSD slot that can handle cards up to 32GB. I run Android 4.2.2 on it, and while I'm at one hand amazed at how sluggish, jerky, freezing, ungainly and wonky Android is in many regards compared to iOS (which is the smoothest, snappiest mobile experience I've ever seen), I'm equally amazed and thoroughly pleased at how very versatile it is due to that "tiny" difference of allowing users somewhat free hands in using the internal storage for their own use. I keep it hooked up to my flat screen TV, and I use it for web browsing, for chatting on IRC and Jabber, for playing games, for watching YouTube, for video playback, for playing music, and even for torrenting - directly to a USB drive I keep next to it - and all of it on a tiny little device that consumes no more than 6 watts of energy when I push it to its limits. If there's one point worth underlining with Android in contrast to iOS, it's that extra freedom the users get that allows Android to be so versatile. Wouldn't ever dream of running Android on my smartphone, though :)

Re:I've been using Android on one for a while (4, Insightful)

SirJorgelOfBorgel (897488) | about a year ago | (#44117979)

I think it's awesome that you're using a highly customized $47 Android device to base your opinion about Android on, comparing it's performance and use to $600 iOS devices. Guess what - they aren't equals. This says a lot less about Android than it says about your reasoning capabilities.

Actual Window Manager (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44117671)

If it had an actual window manager, maybe.

Samsung made attempts to add windowing support which is quite neat, but it is still only for supported apps, aka, theirs.
Why they haven't added an option to try force it on an app is another question. Possibly tried it and it was too messy so never pushed it through that update.

Without windowing, it is still pretty much a toy OS on desktops. Or to develop on, or instant-boot OS for doing light crap on instead of booting full OS to play games and not do work on.

You need to install Linux (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#44117733)

Without windowing, it is still pretty much a toy OS on desktops

Ironically your describing Windows 8

Re:Actual Window Manager (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44118401)

Why [Samsung] haven't added an option to try force [multi-window mode] on an app is another question.

Probably because Samsung doesn't want to lose the license to include Google Play Store and the rest of the Gapps. Please see the replies from Google engineers in a Google+ thread linked from Andy Dodd's comment [slashdot.org] .

What about PCI system support? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44117679)

Seems like a stumbling block right there for desktops.

Android on the desktop would be fine (2)

technomom (444378) | about a year ago | (#44117713)

For the right price ( $500), I'd be more than happy with a lightweight Android "netbook" sans Windows. I can keep my Windows and Linux systems at the office in our VMWare cloud for software development and use an Android based VNC/RDP or Chrome Remote Desktop to access them. For everything else I typically do, "there's an app for that". To me, having a keyboard on Android would be big plus.

As a developer... (2)

Picass0 (147474) | about a year ago | (#44117763)

... I would like to have a version of Eclipse or Netbeans that I can run ON AN ANDROID. I have an Asus Transformer tablet and keyboard. I'd like the option of writing code for the Android on an Android.

Re:As a developer... (1)

ninlilizi (2759613) | about a year ago | (#44118103)

This is why I installed Debian on my Galaxy S3 as its primary OS.

Sure, it took a whie to sourcebuild a local repo. Compiled to take full advantage of the S3 hardware.... Looking at a 200-300% performance boost vs the standard packages in the Deb7 armhf repo... So worth the trouble is looking to do serious work without eating the battery.

This resulted from trying to use the device for serious computing tasks. And spending more time being driven insane by figuring how to work round android limitations than actually achiving a thing, Cyanogens installed in a chroot. Incase of the odd chance I may one day have to make a phone call (never happened yet)

Just add a bluetooth keyboard and your rolling

Double standard (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about a year ago | (#44117785)

To have Android as a desktop OS only proves Microsoft right about many of Windows 8's design choices. I'm not saying it does not have its niche, but Android is not going to replace Windows, OS X or your favorite Linux distro.

Android, as is, has the reputation of being a resource hog. I do not have enough experience to wholeheartedly agree, but I understand the reputation (Emphasis on interpreted code over natively compiled executables, some experiences with high-end phone hardware lagging - even my very short use of a GS4 in a store display left me unimpressed, etc.). If it's going to acquire fundamental desktop OS traits (satisfactory driver support comes to mind), it'll just get worse.

Android's reputation security-wise also leaves much to be desired. A (reputed) poor evaluation of Google Play apps is unacceptable for most traditional desktop environments. The OS' resistance to attacks is also unproven at best, broken at worst, depending on whom you ask. Sure, some environments won't need this, but I don't see Android gaining any traction there, which leads me back to the beginning - design choices.

Android's interface is tailored for mobile devices. It does not work with a keyboard and mouse, at least not nearly as well as it has to. Windows 8 gets a lot of flak for Metro, despite having the desktop available, even on crippled RT (which still allows IE and Office, and possibly select third-party software in the future, besides all native OS functions).

Sure, Android can get a desktop-oriented interface - but why should it? There are plenty of alternatives (Windows, OS X to a lesser extent, Ubuntu and co., Debian, BSD stuff...) that are already more capable than Android will be in the next few years, if ever. They are ready to be deployed now, on existing or easily acquired hardware, with varying degrees of familiar interfaces.

Android's sole theoretical advantage is its app store(s) - nearly endless apps ranging from "absolutely useless" to "decent enough", with a detour through "potentially dangerous". This is a good as useless, as most (I won't say all) apps are designed exclusively for touchscreens, with, at most, imporvised keyboard and mouse controls.

What's my point, you might be asking yourself. Windows 8 has been nearly universally criticized for trying to move to mobile neglecting desktop users. Android is even more oriented towards mobile than Windows 8. Windows 8 seems to be improving, and there are many free, open source, even, alternatives to Windows.
A broad move to Android would just serve to worsen the trend Windows 8 may have started without any benefits for the vast majority of users. As such, I believe such a move would be widely rejected.

Besides Android's merits (or lack thereof), there's the issue of a certain company named Google, who has been occasionally showing signs of, ironically, being evil, at least according to some interpretations. I wouldn't go that far, but I see it as likely enough to cause fear, uncertainty and doubt. Not good traits for a product to have, like Microsoft has been showing us lately, between the mess that is Windows 8, their slowness in dealing with certain aspects of Windows Phone (notably the merger of Windows Phone and regular Windows, at least from a developer's viewpoint) and the Xbox One unveiling.

tl;dr Look at what happened to Windows 8. Android on desktop is not happening.

Your Killing Me (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#44117911)

>Android, as is, has the reputation of being a resource hog

No it kind of doesn't it runs on on very basic hardware..the first phone it sold on was the HTC dream. it 528 MHz Qualcomm MSM7201A ARM11 processor, 256 MB ROM, 192 MB RAM and 320 x 480 px, 3.2 in (81 mm). Lets face it it will run well on these Windows 8 hybrid devices, Which are vastly overpowered for Android.

I was going to refute every (lie) point but this is my favourite "To have Android as a desktop OS only proves Microsoft right about many of Windows 8's design choices", and can't help but find it hilarious that your advocating turning that $600 Desktop machine into A Poor Low Resolution Tablet $100 Tablet for $160.

Re:Double standard (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#44118005)

To have Android as a desktop OS only proves Microsoft right about many of Windows 8's design choices.

No, no it does not. The things which Android has in common with Windows 8 are things which make it a poor desktop OS.

Sure, Android can get a desktop-oriented interface - but why should it?

Because I want to run Android apps on my desktop, and I want Android's lack of PITA factor there too.

Re:Double standard (1)

fauxjargon (2804219) | about a year ago | (#44118101)

I think it would be cool if somebody made a full-size laptop (Windows or Linux) that could also work as a phone dock/screen. The battery would last a long time powering the phone and the laptop's screen and it shouldn't cost much more than a normal laptop.

What about the UI (1)

yathaid (2106468) | about a year ago | (#44117835)

One of my most needed feature is quick multi-tasking ala alt-tab.
Are these versions of android having some support for that? Do they have a custom launcher that shows something like a taskbar? Or is it more like the gnome shell mess?

Re:What about the UI (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about a year ago | (#44118207)

Tap and hold the home button. Terrible that this is not documented really.

does it have to make sense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44117861)

I was thinking about swapping out my civic engine and replacing it with a V6 Evenrude.
'Cuase it's like, more portable.
oh and way cool.
I think MS has a better chance of killing android than the other way around. But why should they? They make a killing off it.

Learn From History. (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#44118125)

I think MS has a better chance of killing android than the other way around. But why should they? They make a killing off it.

"Think" is not good enough, Android right now is the most dominant OS for both Tablet and Smartphone, Markets that Microsoft(and Apple) have been in for forever (Androids first device was in 2008). Right now the chances are your Android devices outnumber your Windows Devices...and this year Android is set to overtake windows as the Dominant OS.

Before Windows 8 (And Surface) I too may have scoffed at the idea of Microsofts Desktop Monopoly been threatened by lets face it a phone OS. Ironically now PC's come with Windows 8 a Phone OS as standard the fact that it includes a better (more popular) Phone OS and massive Application Library...and Apparently its being put on Windows devices to help sell them!? If only GNU/Linux had the same advantages.

As for your comment of Microsoft making money of Android....it makes money (in reality for windows licenses we suspect) of Windows companies now making Android devices for patents to interact with...windows using fat32 and exchange. The things stripped from stock android(into the cloud), its looking short term...and it looks like Microsoft has lost control.

Re:Learn From History. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44118369)

So you like the whole outboard in a car idea?

Please no. (1)

SirJorgelOfBorgel (897488) | about a year ago | (#44118007)

At 1 AM, "please, nooooooo" is all you're going to get out of me. But I do make my living developing for my Android ... :)

Android for Desktop is coming... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44118023)

Google will stand behind a desktop version of Android soon, but exactly when isn't clear. Of course, current Android can function as a desktop OS, with third party shells and 'windows' library systems, bur developers need a 'standard' desktop environment to allow Android to (gradually) replace all versions of Microsoft Windows from XP onwards.

What is Google waiting for?

A cost point- unlikely given how cheap extremely powerful ARM devices can be had from Chinese suppliers like Rockchip, Allwinner and Amlogic.

Mains powered ARM chips- possible, but there is little (of importance to most customers) that a mains part will do versus the current mobile parts designed for battery powered use.

Better graphics? Unlikely, given that the best ARM SoC parts have inbuilt GPUs that thrash graphics solutions that were available with early versions of Windows XP.

ARM's new 64-bit architecture? Now this is a likely factor. ARM's current parts can be (somewhat unfairly) compared to the 8086/186/286 from the early days of the PC. ARM's coming v8 architecture would be the leap represented by the 386/486. And yes, I'm aware the PC side of this comparison represented a move from 16-bit to 32-bit, whereas the ARM side is the rather different 32-bit to 64-bit, but in both cases the new architecture is a much better base for full strength desktop OS use.

Of course, Google may be simply sitting back allowing Microsoft to ruin its own desktop market, before stepping in an offering customers the 'original coke' they crave. The world needs an ongoing standard for straightforward multi-window desktop computing. Gimmicks that make a desktop 'whizzy' should be applications sitting on the OS, and never hard-hacks in the OS itself. The high fashion junk that is here today and gone tomorrow belongs in the browser pane.

If Google gives Android for desktops a modern clean practical layer handling the multi-windows stuff, it should be able to take most of Microsoft's traditional market in a very short period of time.

Android X86 (1)

dragon-file (2241656) | about a year ago | (#44118249)

'nuf said.
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