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Is Android the answer to falling PC sales?

business Updated: Apr 23, 2013 10:46 IST
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Intel is reportedly promoting use of the Android operating system, which is more at home on small touchscreen devices, as an alternative to Windows to a number of PC manufacturers.

So says Digitimes. The southeast Asian tech news service claims that Lenovo has already seized the initiative and will be launching its first convertible devices -- ie notebooks with detachable keypads -- that run the mobile OS in May in the form of the Yoga 11-inch display notebook.

Sources who spoke to the publication claim that HP, Toshiba, Acer and Asusteck will also be launching similar devices before the end of 2013.

Replacing Microsoft's latest operating system, which IDC suggested is in part responsible for falling PC sales -- its complexity and price are said to have actively deterred many consumers from upgrading their existing PCs over the last quarter -- would have a two-fold advantage. Firstly, Android is already installed on over 1 billion mobile devices, so consumers are more than comfortable with it. And secondly, it is open source, which means that PC makers don't have to pay large license fees in order to install it on their devices.

As a result, Intel believes that Android-based notebooks could retail for as little as $500. This would not only make them more attractive to a larger consumer base, it would also put them in direct competition with devices that run Windows RT, the stripped down version of Windows that Microsoft has developed to run on tablets.

However, while the response to Windows 8 and to Windows RT has been mixed, Microsoft-powered devices still have one advantage over all other similar devices -- access to Office, the premier business and home use productivity suite of applications. And while word processing and spreadsheet applications are available within the Android ecosystem, nothing, as of yet, comes close to the comprehensive features of Word, Excel or PowerPoint.