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PC makers' revolt against Windows continues as Acer preps all-in-one Android desktop

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
It's no secret that the makers of traditional computing devices are less than pleased with some of Microsoft's more recent moves, and a new announcement from Acer marks the continuation of a trend that may give the software giant pause: PC giants increasingly releasing regular PC form factors and other devices running not Windows, but Google's Android operating system.

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Acer's new Android-powered all-in-one desktop.


Acer next week will announce a new all-in-one (AIO) PC that runs Android 4.0, CNet reported late this week. Slashgear reports that the Acer DA220HQL AIO will pack a dual-core TI OMAP processor under its 21.5-inch multi-touch screen. It will also come in at a price point hundreds of dollars lower than a typical Windows computer.

Google's free licensing for its Android operating system makes the expected $400 to $425 price tag on the new AIO possible, as does a notable amount of enmity between Acer and Microsoft. While the Taiwanese manufacturer still makes hardware that runs Windows, CEO JT Wang has had no qualms voicing his displeasure with a number of Microsoft's decisions over the past year.

Chief among Wang's concerns was Microsoft's decision to enter the hardware sector with its Surface Pro and Surface RT models. After the revelation of the Surface units, Wang said publicly that he'd told Microsoft to "think twice" about entering the hardware business.

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Microsoft entered the computing hardware segment with its Surface tablets.


Microsoft billed the Surface project as a "reference design," meant to inspire its partners to do more with the PC form factor, but the software giant kept the Surface tablets secret from its hardware partners ? developing the tablets in a literal underground bunker ? until just before the devices' unveiling. That put PC makers in the uncomfortable position of having to compete with the very company that supplies the operating system their products run on.

"If Microsoft is going to do hardware business," Wang said in August, "what should we do? Should we still rely on Microsoft, or should we find other alternatives?"

Acer has since proceeded to find alternatives, turning readily to software offerings from Google. In addition to the forthcoming Android all-in-one, the firm has also released a notebook PC running Google's browser-based Chrome OS. Both units cost significantly less than Windows PCs, thanks in no small part to much lower specs than traditional computers.

It isn't just Microsoft's move toward becoming a hardware, software, and services company that has PC makers looking to possibly greener pastures. Their actions also reflect the reality of a PC market that has been hemorrhaging sales due to a combination of factors.

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Dell's Android-powered mini computer, Project Ophelia.


In the midst of a soft global economy, PC makers must now compete with smartphones and tablets, mobile devices that accomplish most of what many traditional PC users needed from notebooks and desktops, as well as some things PCs can't typically do. Thanks to the iPad, Apple has been able to weather the generational computing shift, but others haven't fared as well.

PC makers must also deal with the fact that innovation in traditional computing form factors has largely plateaued. While processor speeds continue to increase, many users are not finding that new models are different enough from their current setups to justify a purchase.

Windows 8, with its touch-centric interface, was supposed to reverse this trend by combining the best of the last generation of computing with the best of the current generation. Many PC makers waited patiently through quarter after quarter of disappointing results, hoping that Microsoft's newest OS would turn their fortunes around. Instead, Windows 8 was panned as confusing by many, and PC sales continued their downward spiral.

Compounding the problem was Windows RT, a version of Windows meant to run on lower-powered ARM processors. Microsoft hoped that the alternative Windows would give it a foothold in both the mobile and traditional computing segments, but a number of manufacturers have said the two systems confused buyers, and Windows RT is regarded as a failed effort.

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Apple's iPad, along with other smartphones and tablets, has drastically reshaped the face of computing.


In addition to Acer, other PC manufacturers have been testing the Android waters. Later this year, PC mainstay Dell ? despite Microsoft's $2 billion involvement in its privatization bid ? will ship a thumbdrive-sized PC that turns any HDTV into a smart device.

Another PC giant, HP, has released a $169 Android-based tablet, even as Microsoft struggles to get Windows 8 off the ground.

Samsung, meanwhile, continues to make both Android and Windows devices. The South Korean giant, though, has continually touted its Android line of devices much more than any units running Windows 8, Windows RT, or Windows Phone 8. Samsung's profits grew 42 percent last quarter, and that growth was largely on the strength of its highly profitable smartphone division.

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Samsung has been more concerned with touting its Android-powered Galaxy line than shoring up the ailing Windows platform. (image via Fox6Now.com)


Microsoft has tried to combat all of these factors, even as the PC market continues to transform. In March, the Redmond giant began reducing licensing prices on Windows 8 in the hopes that lower-priced devices would spur consumer interest. The company has also been looking into cheaper touchscreen technology to help its manufacturing partners produce devices that might undercut Apple's bestselling iPad and other Android devices.

Finally, in a considerable reversal, Microsoft has revealed that it plans to alter Windows 8's interface to bring back familiar items like the Start button, lost in the transition from the last generation of Windows to the current. The company will also give users the option to bypass the touch-centric Modern UI ? the multi-paned face of Windows 8 ? and instead boot to the more familiar desktop seen in those versions of the operating system that ruled computing before the landscape began to change.
post #2 of 12
The mass-exodus from Windows continues. Microsoft is in in trouble as Apple & Google have passed Microsoft years ago and consumers, even longer.

It would seem the X-Box is their only saving grace at this point.
post #3 of 12

"When you see a vertical touchscreen, they did it wrong."

 

—Steve Jobs, were he still alive today.

post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

"When you see a vertical touchscreen, they did it wrong."

—Steve Jobs, were he still alive today.
I just don't see the appeal in touchscreen desktops or why anybody would want one. My arms would be extremely sore after about 5-10 minutes with one of these things.

Touchscreen pc desktops imo are more gimmicky than useful.
post #5 of 12
An all-in-one Android desktop is about as much of a threat to Windows PCs as it is to Apple PCs. None whatsoever.

On the subject of 'vertical touchscreens' old Steve clearly didn't have a heads-up on the LeapMotion, which truly can be described as indiscernible from magic. It's 'Minority Report' 3D navigation and control coming to any screen near you in July 2013.

Imagine an application that can translate sign language...
post #6 of 12
They have even dropped the ball on the x box. If you read the gamers forum they hate it.
post #7 of 12
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Microsoft has tried to combat all of these factors, even as the PC market continues to transform.

 

And Apple could still drop the bomb on Microsoft.  By licensing OS X to all PC vendors.

 

Yes, Apple almost killed their Macintosh business (and the entire company) by licensing Mac OS in the late '90s.

But that was then and this is now.  Apple doesn't live or die by Mac sales any more.  And eventually Mac sales

will be such a small slice of Apple's massive profit pie that they could give some of it up in order to transform the

legacy PC industry one last time.  Apple would still sell Macs, and Macs would still run OS X (and Windows) better

than any Wintel PC.  But they'd sell fewer Macs overall.

 

And why would Apple want to do that?  Why would they give up the Mac?

 

Because eventually Apple might need to migrate their business model from hardware margin revenue to

software-and-services revenue.  Because eventually Mac / PC hardware retail prices and margins will be

relentlessly driven down.  

 

Apple has already taken the first giant steps toward that software-and-services profit future with massive iCloud

server farms, the iTunes Store, the App Store, and eventually their television solution.  And that's the real key.  

Apple will eventually use iAd to generate revenue from their potentially industry-disrupting television solution, whether

or not that solution includes an actual big-screen Apple TV set.

 

So exactly when could Apple give up the Mac?

 

When the iCloud + TV tipping point happens.  The inflection point when long term iCloud + TV revenue per

non-Mac OS X license exceeds the opportunity cost of lost hardware margins when users buy non-Mac PCs running OS X.

In other words, when the rental + sales + ad revenue generated by iCloud content more than pays for all Macs

that aren't bought because users bought non-Mac PCs.

 

And how would that disrupt the legacy PC industry again?

 

By transforming the legacy desktop and laptop PC into an entertainment device.  No, a legacy PC could never replace the

big 1080p HDTV / 4K UHDTV in the living room.  But it could replace the TV in the kids' room and bedroom and home office.

And it would hit Microsoft where it hurts.  By cutting into their Windows license revenue.  Because the Apple solution

will be easier, more reliable, and will have mindshare that Microsoft could never achieve.  Not even by blatant copying.

 

Of course, this might take 10 or 20 years.  It all depends on how fast Apple can ramp up iCloud + TV revenue and how

fast the revenue per Mac declines due to various factors.  It's just a matter of time.

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post #8 of 12
Originally Posted by andrewb123 View Post

An all-in-one Android desktop is about as much of a threat to Windows PCs as it is to Apple PCs. None whatsoever.

 

Frank X. Shaw, "Corporate Vice President of Corporate Communications" at Microsoft,

disagrees with that particular viewpoint:

 

Quote: Frank X. Shaw, at the AllThingsD D11 conference

On one hand, looking around the conference, there were iPads and other tablets as far as the eye could see. On the other hand, (as I noted in a tweet), most of the people around me were using their iPads exactly as they would a laptop – physical keyboard attached, typing away, connected to a network of some kind, creating a document or tweet or blog or article. In that context, it’s hard to distinguish between a tablet and a notebook or laptop. The form factors are different, but let’s be clear, each is a PC.

 

The key phrase being: "...but let's be clear, each is a PC."

The ramification being: iPads and other tablets "as far as the eye could see" are displacing Windows PCs.

In large numbers. 

 

Full text of Shaw's comments in "The Official Microsoft Blog":

 

http://blogs.technet.com/b/microsoft_blog/archive/2013/05/29/the-future-is-killer-devices-connected-to-amazing-cloud-services.aspx

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post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

new announcement from Acer marks the continuation of a trend that may give the software giant pause: PC giants increasingly releasing regular PC form factors and other devices running not Windows, but Google's Android operating system.

Acer next week will announce a new all-in-one (AIO) PC that runs Android 4.0, CNet reported late this week. Slashgear reports that the Acer DA220HQL AIO will pack a dual-core TI OMAP processor under its 21.5-inch multi-touch screen. It will also come in at a price point hundreds of dollars lower than a typical Windows computer.

Microsoft still technically gets paid as they get a license from every Android sale even if it's nowhere near as much as they get for Windows:

http://bgr.com/2013/05/01/microsofts-android-licensing-agreements-earnings/

I also notice Acer went for Android and not Chrome OS.

http://hothardware.com/News/Chrome-OS-and-Windows-RT-Only-Nibbling-at-Market-Share-Currently/

Chrome OS usage was about 0.02%. So more than 130x more people use Mountain Lion alone. ML must have at least 20 million users by now so that would put Chrome OS at about 150k people in a couple of years. That's a wakeup call Google. They should make Chrome OS a subset of Android (like a safe mode that can be locked down by the user but defaults to Android). That way they can target two types of users with Chromebooks with the same product and it should backup and sync other Android devices.
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

 

Frank X. Shaw, "Corporate Vice President of Corporate Communications" at Microsoft,

disagrees with that particular viewpoint:

 

 

The key phrase being: "...but let's be clear, each is a PC."

The ramification being: iPads and other tablets "as far as the eye could see" are displacing Windows PCs.

In large numbers. 

 

Full text of Shaw's comments in "The Official Microsoft Blog":

 

http://blogs.technet.com/b/microsoft_blog/archive/2013/05/29/the-future-is-killer-devices-connected-to-amazing-cloud-services.aspx

 

 

I have been to the site, and read this guy's comments. I think he is the kind of guy who will say, after Microsoft is shrinked down to a niche player : "you see, I told you, the world is now a PC world !

post #11 of 12
Frank X. Shaw isn't saying that Android all-in-one desktop devices or tablets represent a revolt against Windows PCs or that they will destroy the Windows PC market. He's trying to pimp Office365 cloud services to his target corporate sector by saying that any device can do rudimentary PC computing with MS cloud based services.

This AI article is trying to make a case that these slightly better than useless Android systems are a nail in the coffin for Windows, when they are not and will never be. A tablet without the portability? Seriously? The disadvantages of a system with severely restricted performance and capability chained to a desk. Big fail.

Think about Windows netbooks and tablets. Initially, people bought netbooks even though they were less capable because they were more portable. It was a reasonable compromise for some users. Then the tablet came along. The advantage of further increased portability outweighed the drop in performance and functionality; netbook sales crashed. In a way, netbooks (and smartphones) paved the way for the success of the tablet by building a craze for portability.

An Android all-in-one system has nothing to offer here, not even a significant price advantage, it would seem. Anyone who wants this kind of hobbyist setup will continue to buy Android-on-a-stick for a fraction of the cost.
post #12 of 12

I hate to say this, but its about time.  It's been going on for about 3-4 year tho, but hopefully the trend continues.  I feel sorry for all of the casualties from Cyber War I, (Mac vs Windows).  I mean in this day and age we still have probably 50% (half) of the people that use PC's use Windows AND don't know what the hell's going on and are going to always be 5 to 10 years behind in speed and operations.  They won't know how to use a computer to it's fullest, they will always be crashing they will be slow, they'll will pay extortion fees to malware and viruses.  It's horrible, it's really sad.  This includes business too.  They are just victims of some business men's choices from 1983.  Saying "Let's go with this Bill Gates guy" and the next company and so on. Yes there are power users 10% who use Windows leaving about 40% Mac and Linux people.  I mean can you believe that? Half of the people who use computers are going to be behind in overall OPERATIONS by at least 5 years, ease of use, security, reliability, speed, etc.

 

http://www.netmarketshare.com/browser-market-share.aspx?qprid=0&qpcustomd=0

 

I mean yeah there were ups and downs in who had the better OS and Chips, but in the end what do you have?

 

Microsoft sitting back with:

 

Windows / Explorer

Office

Visual Studio

And back end duplicate server system installs

no hardware of their own no nothing, sure now they are scrambling trying to make hardware.  Child Please -OC

 

Over and over they just kept milking and milking those product lines (30 years!) with nothing new or special?

Not to mention just piling on and never really going back cleaning out and redoing everything and starting from scratch.

 

Sad.


Edited by rezwits - 6/13/13 at 1:29pm
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