Tag Archives: acer

Android becomes the Windows of opportunity

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It goes both ways. But maybe not much longer.

Microsoft continues to slide toward the back of the mass computing market pack. Three more signs it’s losing its grip on consumer-grade devices:

  • Acer is coming out with an ARM-based desktop PC that runs the Android operating system. Earlier this year, Acer was the first major manufacturer to report that Linux-based Chromebooks were trending better than Windows PCs.
  • Asus just announced a hybrid tablet/desktop product with two Intel processors that runs Android in tablet mode and Windows when it’s docked. Apparently, Asus thinks any clunkiness caused by having two OSes onboard will be outweighed by the superior user experience Android delivers on mobile devices.
  • Microsoft is slashing the price manufacturers pay to install Windows RT on small tablets. It seems particularly desperate because RT was the first Windows version released for ARM processors, which dominate in mobile devices.

Windows simply doesn’t add enough value to a device to justify its cost. Arguably, it doesn’t add any value at all compared to Android, which is free.

Cutting the price for RT isn’t an exception. It’s the first step onto the slippery slope of competing on price rather than relying on the power and user experience of Windows to make the sale. Such as it is.

Keep a close eye on how Acer and Asus fare with their new products. If Acer starts to expand its desktop Android line – particularly into Intel-powered devices – and Asus stays the course with a dual OS strategy, it’ll be a clear sign that Microsoft will eventually have to cut its margin on Windows across the board.

Android is just a consumerised version of Linux developed for mobile devices. If it “just works” with consumers, there’s no reason full scale distros, like Ubuntu, can’t do the same. Microsoft is learning it’s hard to compete with free.

A little something for Android, a little something for Windows from Intel today

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Intel is aiming for the low and high ends of the mobile processor market, seemingly leaving the big middle to ARM competitors and edging even closer to Google's Android operating system.

“We've built this device targeting emerging markets,” said Mike Bell, vice president and general manager of Intel's mobile and communications group, as he showed a smart phone built on top of the new mobile chip announced today. “It's a no-compromises smart phone.”


India's Lava supporting Intel's Lexington chip.

The Atom Z2420 is code named “Lexington”, boasts a 1.2 GHz clock rate and, interestingly enough, is optimized for Android.

The reference designs on display support dual SIMs – important for the developing world, where any one single carrier can't always deliver. It has an FM radio and is designed to fully support multimedia applications with 1080p and wireless display capabilities.

Two prototype phones were on hand, a Xolo from India's Lava International and a no-name product from Acer. Safaricom, a leading mobile carrier in Kenya, was the third Lexington partner announced, with Intel saying it's working with an OEM company to produce the phones. No shipment dates have been set for any of the three.

Bell talked about the big middle of the mobile market – performance oriented smart phones – and emphasized that they've worked with Google to produce an Android version that's optimized for Intel chips. He didn't cede any ground to the ARM-based competitors that dominate that segment, but he didn't have anything new for it, either.

At the high end, Intel continues to push for better performance from the chips that support its Ultrabook initiative, which it's positioning as a high end product in the mobile space. The newest generation, announced today, supports what Kirk Skaugen, VP/GM for PCs, calls “the full Windows 8 experience” and consumes only 7 watts of power.