If you combine a few news articles, things get interesting:
"Gartner forecasts that worldwide PC shipments for 2011 will reach 409m units" = 1.1 million per day. It is fair to expect less than 40% of these sales to be for consumers. This is an 18% growth, meaning that in 2010, we can expect PC sales to reach 138 million for consumers, or 379.000 per day. Worldwide.
"Google says 300,000 Android devices activated daily"
My guess is, that in many countries, Android is already selling more than Windows PCs to consumers, and the number of countries where this happens, is increasing. Overall, we can expect smartphones as a category to outdo PC as an entire category, in 2011:
"Smartphone Sales To Beat PC Sales By 2011"
I just bought an HTC Tattoo for the sole purpose of using it as a server (small batch jobs, surveillance, remote control via SMS) in my home, and I wouldn't wonder if we would see more home servers running Android. It is very easy to set up and configure.
People like you are the perfect target for advertising. PC have already filled their market. Most PC sales are replacement for older PCs. The average life of a PC has lengthened, most PCs sold in the past three-four years outperform most user needs (but gamers and some power users), slowing down replacements.
Pads and smartphones are the new cool toys (although people took a loooooong time to discover smartphones, which are around since at last 2001-2002, but they were not pumped by the press then), and they got a lot of press attention (there's very little new you can put in a PC today). Those markets who can't afford a PC can't afford a pad either.
Surely pads will perform better than NetPCs which got a lot of hype too some years ago, and went nowhere.
Let's see how many will ditch their PC for a pad and how many will use a pad along a PC - as they do with smartphones, for all those tasks that doesn't need a real keyboard and can be done with a only a pointing device big as a finger.
Kent, I basically agree, but when Android becomes much larger than consumer-Windows in 2011, and continues to do that for several years, we will have a LOT of recent Android devices in 2014, but much fewer Windows PCs.
Note, that Google's numbers does not include HP printers with Android, specialized devices and similar devices because they are not activated.
I know people with Android smartphones that never heard the word "Android" (at least applied to computing industry). They have an Android Smartphone because the cell phone company gave one to them. Do you consider this a "Android device SOLD"? I don't.
The same applies to Windows - most consumers cannot distinguish between Windows, Office and Internet Explorer. They don't care and it does not have any importance in their life.
Oh well, should we count as well how many phones running one of the Nokia OSes are out there? Should have Nokia claimed "our phones are replacing PCs and Windows"?? And how many other phone OSes are Android ones replacing? You are comparing apples with oranges, people buying phones with people buying PCs. Many replace phones faster than they replace PCs, especially those heavily subsidized (PCs are not). How do you forecast Android will keep the current growth rate "for several years"? Or will it flatten soon when smartphones will have replaced enough "dumbphones"? The only real new market is the pad one. It can steal PC sales because user could postpone a new PC to get a pad. Most pad buyers are IMHO PC owners. And IMHO it is yet to bee seen if pads can replace enough PCs, or will work as a PC extension when a full PC is uncomfortable.
Considering than Android itself can be added to a product for less than $100, I think there will be a huge demand for home servers, intelligent TV boxes, pads/tablets, surveillance systems, home automation systems etc. with Android built-in. Which reminds me - note to self: I need to get an Android for my refridgerator, for a "We're soon out of XYZ" application.
Ok, so you're telling that Android sales will be higher than those of Windows CE. Probably, although AFAIK WinCE prices for embedded devices were not much different. Let's see if it can work well in all the different environments you wrote about - in a surveillance system, for example, or in a home automation system, you need a very reliable OS, much more than one used in a pad or smartphone. And in Intel-based home server competition from Linux itself without the Java burden will be much higher.
But again, why are you comparing Android targets to Windows ones? Of course Windows is not an OS for embedded devices, but for some high-end ones having Intel processors and more resources.
Also, did you read about Oracle working to kill Apache Harmony? That casts a shadow upon Android's future. Now Java is an Oracle property. Let's see the impact on the development of Android.
Ungry birds for Android:
one million downloads in the first day.
I think Android market is really hot.
@Kent: I did not refer to WIndows CE. Android sales are currently larger than the consumer sales of PCs with Microsoft Windows XP+Vista+Windows 7, in several countries. I did not say that Android replaces Windows PCs, but some news do report that tablets make impacts on PC sales, and we already know that there are many types of devices out there that compete with PC sales, like game consoles and tv sets, simply because consumers don't have unlimited money.
You're still comparing apples to oranges. You say phone sales are larger than PC sales. So what? Probably they always were and will be. There are much more phones than PCs, that means phones are replacing computers? Android is just becoming a standard phone OS on devices that often used proprietary systems.
As I already wrote what you say about Android probably happened already with Nokia. Just the media didn't scream about that like they are doing now just because those stories are fashionable now and weren't a few years ago.
Surely pads in the near future will impact PC sales. As I said most PC are enough powerful that don't need to be replaced asap for most tasks, allowing people to get the new toys, and they will.
Will pads replace a large number of PCs wholly? That's yet to be seen, despite the hype from the press, paid or unpaid.
Otherwise we would all using NetPCs and Java applications running on Java OS upon Java processors, and using UMTS to make video calls. That never happened, despite the hype in the past years. It's always instructive to read old articles and see how many "predictions" failed.
@Kent: Remember these two:
1) Consumers don't need a PC. A PC is a nice-to-have product, not a need-to-have product. Many consumers don't own a PC, and don't want a PC.
2) When the consumer's PC breaks, the question is, should he/she buy a new PC or a bigger TV, or a dog or something else. And sometimes the choice is to buy a dog. I know many consumers who have had a PC, but not any more, they don't want to spend their time on it.
Yes, "consumers" do not need a PC, while "citizens" more and more really need one. More and more tasks are moving to IT-based applications, be it paying your taxes, sending/receiving an invoice, check your bank account and much more. PCs are no longer "nice-to-have" devices, or you have one or you risk to be left behind, and you need to look for someone having one performing one of the tasks above for you. Also it is nice to leave your children as the new IT illiterate. Yes, there are attempts to allow people to perform the same tasks using TVs and set top box, but most of them have clumsy interfaces even more difficult to use. Sure, maybe TVs running Android with a touch screen could help. But how much different from a PC would they be? Sure, when your PC breaks or you are so lucky to be rich enough to have someone performing a lot of tasks for you, or your choice is to get back to the cave with your new dog, unless you get a new one. But wasn't all the people buying Android devices instead of PC or dogs? Or are they buying Android-based dogs?
Well, I don't know anyone that owns a PC that was a gift from the TV company, or the Internet company. He bought that PC, it was not a gift because you are my internet customer....
And sorry, but I don't know a single person using a Windows based computer that have never heard the word "Windows" or "Explorer" or "Excel". Like someone said, you are comparing apples and oranges.
If you have to send an email with, lets say, 50 words, and you have in front of you a PC and an Android mobile device, which will you use? I guess it is obvious. You know why? My old teacher explained it to me, twenty years ago when we were discussing the minimization of eletronic devices: "The human finger cannot be minimized". You just CAN'T replace a PC with a Android/iPhone/Whatever mobile device today and not in a foreseeable future. And please don't mention "voice recognition"... ;-)
I'm not sure I understand all this agruing over details. I can't see where the damage smart phones and tablets (I'm refering to future competition to the iPad category) aren't going to seriously damage future PC sales. I'm an I/T guy, I have my own I/T Services business, and I almost never use a PC at home any longer. I use the iPad and my iPhone. We also use our Wii for a lot of our entertainment. My wife uses an old iMac in the living room when she's watchig the kids, that's about it. She only uses her 27" iMac in the bedroom when she's doing geneology research. Heck, if I knew how little it would get used I wouldn't have purchased it... When extended family asks me about computers, and I ask them about what they use things for, I recommend an iPad instead. None of them, NOT A ONE, uses a home PC for anything that they can't use an iPad for. And if my wife wasn't tied to the particular geneology application she uses she wouldn't be either. I see people buying them as well as Office so they can work at home. Then I ask them the last time they did that and they can't even remember.
I don't understand the consumer vs citizen thing at all. I'm dead serious when I say that once the iPad competition really heats up and we have a wider range of choices, full PC's in the house will become more and more rare unless you have kids who need full Office suites. Even then, the transition to portable devices hooking up to a monitor and using wireless mouse and keyboard is going to happen quickly.
@Ron: I have exactly the same experience. Android has all the potential to do everything a consumer needs to do with computers, for an extremely low price and at a very high level of convenience.
"devices hooking up to a monitor and using wireless mouse and keyboard is going to happen quickly."
And what is this? A PC. But why iOS and Android are right now used on those devices? Because they are designed for devices with little power and RAM. In turn they can't run complex applications. But those devices will become more powerful. And as soon as you are going to add a keyboard and a mouse you will ask them to do more. And then they will need more complex OSes. Then you will start to need to dock more devices, printers, cameras, etc. etc. And what will be the difference from Windows then? Nothing. What OS will run such devices? Is yet to be seen. Can iOS and Android grow enough? Or will they be abandoned to use the same OS now running on PCs? MacOSX, ChromeOS or Windows?
And if my family would do only what could be done with an iPad I would be very worried. It would mean they just become "consumer" of material produced elsewhere and no longer able to produce themselves. While I encourage them a lot to use a computer as a creative device, not an advanced TV set.
Kent, Android is Linux+Java with GUI features that will soon work well on large screens. Why do you think that this cannot run complex apps?
Because of the Java part. If Java in more than ten years never went far on the desktop side, do you believe it will do just because of Android? Also as long as you let people connect devices to the system, you enter the "is a driver available?" issue. What works well for a limited device like a smartphone or tablet may not work well for a device that need to be more versatile.
@Kent - I suppose we'll have to have different ideas on what people are doing at home. These devices can run applications with all the complexity the vast majority of the public needs right now. Most PC's are overkill. Wasted horsepower plain and simple. The success of virtualization in the corporate sector confirms to me that people are looking at the modern hardware and seeing it's massively under utilized.
I'm not sure why we'd be docking anything. I see a wireless future myself. Perhaps a dock to a larger screen for home use, but why not use bluetooth and TCP/IP wireless for everything else? iOS has introduced a wireless printing protocol in iOS 4.2, we'll see what happens, but I'm not concerned about the future of printing. Too many printing companies with a vested interest in making sure people can print just fine. :-)
I'm also not basing the future on these tablet devices solely based on what the iPad or HP Slate have right now. I look at them and see almost unlimited opportunity. I wasn't kidding when I said I'm impatiently waiting to see what the competition starts bringing to the table in 2011. I think the success of the iPad caught a lot of companies off guard, but that doesn't last long in this business... I look forward to Windows based, Android based and regular Linux based competition. Major changes are coming. That's my opinion and really, nothing can change it at this point.
Kent, I agter on your point on Java, but you can use assembler or natively compiled C++ on Android. That is how the Commodore 64 emulator works, and I assume, also the Opera browser.
...and Quake, the game, of course. It runs really well on Android and can be installed directly from the market (quake2droid).
I just bought an HTC Tattoo for the sole purpose of using it as a server
And don't forget small Linux boxes such as the Alix series from PC engines. I have one set up as a music server in my home entertainment system, running voyage Linux.
"vast majority of the public"? Do you believe you know what "the vast majority"? People use PCs in more creative ways than the media made silly by Facebook and other "Internet for dummies" tools think.
My daughter uses the PC with a Wacom Intuos 4 tablet to draw and paint - pressure and inclination sensitive. Can you do that on an iPad/Android or you can just smear some paint with your finger as a four years old? My son processes images we take with our telescope CCD camera. He needs storage, processing power and precise pointing devices - what you're looking for can be only some pixels in a large image. Both are learning the basics of flight with Flight Simulator - the PC has a yoke, throttle, pedals and a TrackIR attached. Again can you reach that level of simulation with an iPad/Android? That are examples that are a lot of people who do more than posting on Facebook or "consuming" media. They are a larger market than the media think, just they don't go like lemmings to the same site all at once.
Sure, the PC could morph into a more portable device that can dock or connect to other devices. But what OS will it be running? One born for smaller devices, or one derived from the actual PC OSes?
People talking about Android native code should try to download and read the SDK documentation: http://developer.android.com/sdk/ndk/overview.htmlNDK
@Kent: It is absolutely technically possible to deliver a Flight Simulator experience using an Android OS on a 50" TV, that beats the experience of a Windows PC, and there is also nothing that prevents a Wacom tablet to work with Android. Some of the Quake games for Android can even be controlled using Wii remote controls... (actually, many Android games are Wii controller compatible) I haven't seen any Windows games support Wii controls, yet. They probably exist, but who knows?
There are many workflows that I do, that Android supports much better than Windows, and where Windows's way of doing things is so complicated, that most users would not be able to do it on Windows, but would be able to do it on Android. For instance, if you read something on a website and want to share it with another person via e-mail using gmail or hotmail. It takes 8 presses on the screen for me to complete this 100% on Android in a great way, but on Windows it takes many more clicks and much more typing, and an understanding of copy & paste with URLs. If you look at how many people that search for "google" on google, you will realize that URLs are not understood by all.
Anyway, most specialized software is not available in most languages, and English is a language that is unknown to the majority of almost all countries on this planet. This problem applies to all computer systems, but Windows is one of the worst operating systems to pick if you are not good in specific foreign languages, like English. There are two reasons for that: 1) Many apps are not localized, and 2) If you need to use an application in a foreign language, increased complexity can ruin usability.
For instance, In order to install and run Quake on Android, there is only one screen that is not localized, and that screen has 2 buttons. Click the first, and you start playing. However, in order to install and run Quake on Windows, you need at least to navigate one webside in a foreign language. That's a roadblock for most people.
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