New Android OS For PCs Could Be More Popular Than Chrome OS, If Google Does It Right (Opinion)

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sykozis

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ChromeOS is a "full blown OS" as it's based on Linux. Google didn't build ChromeOS "from the ground up".... They did exactly what was done to create SteamOS. They took an already existing OS (Ubuntu) and gimped the living <mod edit> out of it, making it essentially useless for most people.

Windows has been the only option? Did we forget about OSX? It's been a very viable alternative to Windows since it's release. Linux has been around for quite a few years as well. Windows was never the only option. It's just the only one most people realize exists.

Oh yeah, and since when has Windows been losing market share? Or are we ignorant enough to believe that sales = actual market share?

For Google to stand a chance at overtaking Microsoft in the PC market, they need an OS that works for productivity. This is where ChromeOS has failed. It's also where Android has failed. Android is a perfectly capable mobile OS. The idea that it's UI was the failing point on laptops is laughable. The failing point is the lack of adequate productivity software. Most of the professional world uses Microsoft and Corel office suites. Most educational institutions use Microsoft and Corel office suites. Apple tried to change that in the early-mid 90's by giving computers to schools. As long as the professional world and educational institutions are pushing Microsoft and Corel office suites, Google is going to struggle to get any real traction in the PC market.

Oh yeah, the requirement of ChromeOS to have an internet connection to do just about anything, was a major drawback as well.

<Let's be watching our language in these forums>
 

jimmysmitty

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With your analogy then Android is also a "full blown OS" because it is also based on a Linux core. But I wouldn't pit it against Windows in terms of being full blown, it much like iOS is just a very watered down and basic OS. Chrome OS is the same.

And he didn't forget about Mac OSX or Linux but neither are fully viable. Mac OSX is attached to proprietary hardware that is expensive and Linux still has poor driver support from most major hardware developers.

All I can say is that Android will still hit the same wall Linux is hitting and that is hardware. I would never replace my desktop with a ARM based setup, even for basic uses. Until they get the same level of hardware support as Windows has and provide the same level of support it will never overtake Windows. Linux has these two major challenges to face and after 30 years has yet to fully overcome them. As I said driver support is not as strong in Linux and there is major OS fragmentation in Linux with very few offering the same support level as Windows and those that do are typically considered the watered down versions of Linux (i.e. Ubuntu) and not used by the major Linux fans.

Unless Google shells out a lot of money and support to hardware vendors they will just play second or third fiddle on the desktop market.
 

InvalidError

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Google is not going to need to give manufacturer any money for drivers: hardware manufacturers who want a share of the Android and ChromeOS pie already need to provide drivers.

The vibe I get from Google going into "desktop OS" is that it will be primarily aimed at prebuilt integrated systems just like Android and ChromeOS.
 

targetdrone

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Given how horrible the OS update process is for Android tablets and smartphones I cringe at the thought of having to buy a new PC every year to get the latest OS and security updates because either the manufacture won't release a new firmware for a given model or because the ISP won't make a new firmware for their version of that device.

I could upgrade my 3 year old computer to Win10 if I wanted to. I can't upgrade my 3 year old smartphone to Lollipop.
 

Robert_58

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>seamless desktop/mobile hybrid operating system

The cringe is so hard on this one - the stupid almost makes my blood boil. Google really is the new Microsoft, aren't they? Unfortunately, they can't seem to take a hint from the abomination that was Windows 8. I DO NOT need or want tablet features tailored for content consumption, on my production rig. All tablet features do is dumb down both devices to the tablet level.
 

MU_Engineer

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And he didn't forget about Mac OSX or Linux but neither are fully viable. Mac OSX is attached to proprietary hardware that is expensive and Linux still has poor driver support from most major hardware developers.

All I can say is that Android will still hit the same wall Linux is hitting and that is hardware. I would never replace my desktop with a ARM based setup, even for basic uses. Until they get the same level of hardware support as Windows has and provide the same level of support it will never overtake Windows. Linux has these two major challenges to face and after 30 years has yet to fully overcome them. As I said driver support is not as strong in Linux and there is major OS fragmentation in Linux with very few offering the same support level as Windows and those that do are typically considered the watered down versions of Linux (i.e. Ubuntu) and not used by the major Linux fans.

Unless Google shells out a lot of money and support to hardware vendors they will just play second or third fiddle on the desktop market.
The major issue with Linux on PCs is that everybody expects a PC to run applications written for a Microsoft OS, because this is what they have done for the last 30 years. If it doesn't do so, that's fine, but then it isn't a PC, even if it really is. Slap MacOS on that same hardware and it isn't a PC, it's a Macintosh. Tablets and smartphones are essentially PCs, but it's fine as they are smartphones and tablets and not PCs. A PC that is not a PC is not a PC.

BTW, Linux driver support is actually much better than Windows driver support. I know, I've run it for well over a decade. Windows relies on the device manufacturers to provide nearly all drivers the OS uses. This means new Windows OSes typically have poor support for hardware on initial release. Hardware more than a few years older than the OS is also rarely supported as the manufacturer isn't going to go through the time and effort to make a new driver for an EOLed piece of equipment. You get drivers for currently sold HW, maybe the previous generation, and that's about it. Linux on the other hand has its drivers developed mainly by the kernel developers, and they DO get updated to keep running with newer kernels. The OS thus supports more and more hardware as time goes on without losing support for older hardware. The one thing that Linux tends to lack with driver support that Windows generally has is support for brand-new-generation hardware on launch day. It takes a little time for the kernel developers to develop (often, reverse-engineer) a driver for a brand-new piece of hardware. But once it's been done, it's available forever for future kernels unlike with Windows.

And another BTW, Ubuntu is actually one of the most popular Linux distributions. It's not "watered down." Once you really know Linux, it's all the same under the hood regardless if it's Debian-based like Ubuntu, Red Hat-based like CentOS or SUSE, or something else like Arch or Gentoo.
 

Turb0Yoda

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Agreed. Linux Mint and Ubuntu, arguably the most popular distros of Linux, are both based off of Debian, with the main difference being the GUI used Unity vs Cinnamon vs GNOME(If I did not get those mixed up) Even Kali Linux, the successor to backtrack, is based off of Debian. I digress though.

Although, I have to partially disagree with the MacOS statement. They use proprietary BiOS, and Hackintoshes aren't "true" Mac OS. It's a heavily modified version that retains the same skin. Granted, 99% won't notice the difference...


That said, as far as my experience has gone with updates on android, I find them a hell of a lot easier than say, Windows 7 to Windows 10. Granted, older devices are closed out, but if you know how to do ROMs, the possibilities are endless.

I make a huge digression now.
 

Darkk

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I've been using Linux Mint for close to three years now and love it. The initial install of 17 64bit with few bumps along the way such as ATI video drivers. Had to use the ATI's proprietary drivers which is fine to make the most use of the video card. Later when 17.1 came out all those weird video problems I was having went away. Videos now play smoothly and just works.

I didn't give up as I know it takes time to work out the kinks in any piece of hardware. I too agree driver support for Linux has gotten alot better over the years. Even cutting edge hardware. The rewards I benefit now no more dealing with Microsoft's nonsense of their software and licensing model. Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon is my personal choice now.
 

MyUniqueUsername

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ChomeOS is actually growing much faster than Android. YoY for ChromeOS is over 35% and Android is closer to 10%.

You also have to consider that ChromeOS is going against the trend and growing while Windows is declining and Mac is flat.

 

MasterMace

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The #1 thing that drove people away from ChromeOS was that it was an internet based OS. There are plenty of places in the US where the consumer does not have access to the internet. It's a deal nonstarter.

Google is a curious company, they had Android and refused to put Chrome on it; Then they put Chrome on Android, refused to allow the main reason people liked Chrome (addons/mods) and refused to put Android on the desktop; then they put an OS on the desktop, but made it Chrome and demanded it be online, just like XBox One requiring an internet connection. As a consumer, I've turned around and always stated: why? why voluntarily and willingly shoot yourself in the foot, over and over?
 

InvalidError

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It becomes a little difficult to grow market share when you already have nearly as many devices in the field running your OS as everything else combined - nearly everyone who can be bothered to own an Android phone or tablet already has one, much like how nearly everyone who can be bothered to own a PC already has one.
 

jimmysmitty

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I think Apple did the "Its a Mac, not a PC" thing to themselves. After all they were the ones who made the "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" commercial which helped to define that. Personally I consider a PC a desktop with Windows or Linux since they are what a PC was to be, a Personal Computer you can customize. Apple is very limited that way.

And I don't mean that Linux is bad. I think it is a fine OS. I personally don't use it because I game mainly on my PC which is mainly a Windows thing, even with VALVe pushing SteamOS.

As for driver support, you said what I was saying. The hardware manufacture. While having someone else write them is great for support I have always preferred the hardware manufactures drivers over a third party (except the old Omega Radeon drivers back in the day that were fantastic compared to ATIs).

And I know Ubuntu is one of the most popular distros out there. It is the go to for most newbies to Linux due to its ease of use. I was talking more about the Linux fans that prefer a distro that is more a la cart, where you set it up how you want.

Again it is more about the fact that after 30 years Linux and Apple have barely made a dent in Windows and that is, as you said, due to the software support that Windows has had for 30 years. The majority of people are stubborn and don't want to "learn" anything new but want to keep using what "works" per say. Trying to move them to a new OS with a lack of support for the software they use is one of he biggest hurdles that any new OS will have to take on.

Hell at work I have one person who wont move beyond Adobe Acrobat 9 because from X and on they moved where the tools menu was. Even though they know how to use it they want to use the same layout as in 9.
 

DbD2

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The #1 thing that drove people away from ChromeOS was that it was an internet based OS. There are plenty of places in the US where the consumer does not have access to the internet. It's a deal nonstarter.
That's also it's greatest strength. You can log into any machine and it's your machine with all your apps, your desktop, your documents, etc. No maintenance required, you can break your chrome box go buy another one and be instantly good to go having lost nothing. Windows in comparison is terrible requiring days of installing stuff, if you loose your machine better have a backup or you're screwed.

That would be the worry with a switch to Android which is much more stand alone.
 

MU_Engineer

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Apple's entire selling point was that their units were different from the "IBM compatibles," since IBM and clones had the vast majority of market share, were better values, used industry standard parts, and were easily upgradeable. They'd been doing that ever since they came up with the first Macintosh. Remember the "hammer through the screen" ad in the 1980s or the "Think Different" ads from the 1990s? The "I'm a Mac and I'm a PC" ads only came after Apple switched to using the exact same x86 hardware as the "IBM compatibles" and wanted to try to market themselves out of the "hey, it's the same thing but just with a giant markup" box.

As for driver support, you said what I was saying. The hardware manufacture. While having someone else write them is great for support I have always preferred the hardware manufactures drivers over a third party (except the old Omega Radeon drivers back in the day that were fantastic compared to ATIs).
I personally feel the other way. Drivers made by or at least able to be modified by the kernel devs (e.g. ones open-sourced by the manufacturers) are far more reliable than black-box proprietary binary drivers from the manufacturers. Use the Broadcom STA WLAN drivers and you will absolutely agree with me. The kernel dev-developed drivers certainly "age" better as the kernel devs can keep updating the drivers to work with the current kernel ABI, whereas a precompiled proprietary binary driver ages about as well as mayonnaise on a hot summer day in Texas.

And I know Ubuntu is one of the most popular distros out there. It is the go to for most newbies to Linux due to its ease of use. I was talking more about the Linux fans that prefer a distro that is more a la cart, where you set it up how you want.
The easy way to do that is to install the GUI-less Ubuntu Server and then apt-get install whatever you want. The big advantage of using a non-rolling-release distro is that you don't end up having to figure out how to get out of dephell like with something like Gentoo ("blockers.")

Again it is more about the fact that after 30 years Linux and Apple have barely made a dent in Windows and that is, as you said, due to the software support that Windows has had for 30 years. The majority of people are stubborn and don't want to "learn" anything new but want to keep using what "works" per say. Trying to move them to a new OS with a lack of support for the software they use is one of he biggest hurdles that any new OS will have to take on.
Actually, Apple and Linux have pretty well relegated Windows to a minor role for computing. Computing has moved from being the sole province of beige boxes and now most computer usage is done with phones and tablets- nearly none of which run any kind of Windows. They run Apple iOS (a bastardized BSD variant) or Linux (Android.)

The argument that you give about trying to use a new OS with a lack of support for software and hardware, plus looks and acts grossly different is why any Windows past Windows 7 has absolutely zero take-up in industry. It's also why many businesses STILL run a lot of Windows XP machines. The new versions break compatibility with still usable, still workable, and bought-and-paid-for hardware and software, so they are skipped over. Not irritating Dottie the HR manager who insists on running her 20" monitor at 640x480 "so the words are bigger" is a minor plus.
 

stancilmor

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The PC is being redefined and the OSes need to adapt. I upgraded my previous WinXP tower because, my phone was more powerful. We are quickly approaching point where a personal computer will be a portable always connected interchangeable device. Any peripherals that you need (multiple large monitors, multiple graphics cards, keyboard, mouse, other input devices, printers, extra storage, etc.) will all wirelessly connect to your PC. Today's OSes are woeful inept at handling both mobile and tradition use cases, but they are being adapted. I don't know the final form factor, but here's to hoping it's not bogged down with advertising.
 

jimmysmitty

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MU you know I respect your opinion and I agree with a lot of your points. I was focusing on desktops though as that is what this Android OS is targeting more.

Personally I am eyeing a Windows Phone 10 next after my wife got a HTC One M8 with 8.1 on it. After 2 years her phone is still as smooth and fluid as day one, she never charges it consistently (maybe every other day) and short of apps it does the same thing as my Android which after about a year (every one I have had) slows down or has random issues. Still not the same as a desktop OS though.

I still think pulling away from Windows will take a lot more work than just throwing an existing mobile OS out there with a few tweaks for desktop functionality. There is just too much history about this that shows it is not that easy. If it was then Linux and Apple should have been able to pull a lot more market share from the consumer desktop market.
 

Odyssey42

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One important point is the possible use of the hundreds of millions of existing TV's. This seems to have been mostly unaddressed previously by equipment sellers simply because there was not an OS that could be EASILY displayed on a TV by an inexpensive, simple-to-setup-and-use piece of hardware. What a boon for travelers, including businessfolk assuming that a modicum of desktop functionality was provided, to carry only a little stick, P/S, keyboard and mouse instead of a heavy and much larger portable. Remix Mini? (Waiting on reviews on this)

Also when away from home, It would be great to watch my recorded programs over Dish Anywhere playing on the TV that is otherwise turned off. Yes I know it can be Chromecasted from my phone (or tablet), but what a hassle compared to just turning the TV on, especially when the phone needs to be used.

If you doubt the appeal, just look at Apple TV, Roku, Amazon stick, Chromecast, etc that people buy to get the desired content on to their TV. Add desktop functionality and that will be a winner.
 

sykozis

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MacOS is just as capable as Windows, without all the security holes. The underlying hardware is the same, with the exception of the proprietary EFI.

Linux has only existed since 1991....so it's hardly 30 years old. Linux itself, regardless of the distribution chosen, is a fully featured OS. The developers of each distribution pick and choose which features they expose to the user through the GUI.

Linux is a free OS. Most of the Linux distributions are done as hobby or community projects.

There is an x86 version of Android....there are even Intel Atom based smartphones....running Android....
 
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