Sunday, June 6, 2010

Android and Iphone/Ipad/Itouch - the future consumer OS?

I was reading Steve Ballmers comments at the D8 Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, recently in which he said that Microsoft will win the tablet race and beat Ipad and Android tablets. He also said the desktop PC/Notebook is here to stay claiming that tablets will be purchased in addition to your notebook or desktop. I’d disagree.

As Android and the Iphone/Itouch/Ipad OS become more and more powerful, many households will require less notebooks/desktops with Windows and at some point maybe none at all. In my house we have several notebooks, but with the advent of the Ipad/Itouch, they have become less and less used. You can easily check your email, read a webpage or watch a video on an Itouch /Ipad and its faster, easier to navigate and starts up immediately.

These devices are unlikely to replace the corporate desktop. However, isn’t home use how Windows conquered the corporate desktop? In the early nineties, Windows was used at home first and people simply demanded to have Windows at work since they knew how to use it. So with home users switching to Ipad/Itouch/Iphone and Android powered devices at home, the long term “attack” on Microsoft's cash cow - the corporate desktop - has started.

Which is why it is so important that Microsoft makes an impact with Windows Phone 7.

And things are not looking good. Windows mobile was a disaster. A terrible OS, that has been steadily loosing market share in recent years. So Windows Phone 7 enters the market with a history of failures in its name. And it gets to compete with the cult like Iphone & Ipad, and with the booming market for Android based phone and tablet devices.

Microsoft versus Apple in tablets pretty much looks set to be a repeat of the Ipod versus the Zune. Microsoft enters the market a couple of years later with a “me too” , with little or no innovations and zero “coollness”.

So beating Android is Microsoft's best hope. Problem is, Android is pretty good, improving fast and is free. Its available in numerous form factors, from numerous vendors and there are lots of applications for it. I am running a Google Nexus, and apart from Battery life this is a pretty cool device.

So whoever heads up the Windows Phone 7 division is going to have his work cut out for him. He will face an uphill battle against formidable opponents. Its going to need an innovator, a visionary. And guess who appointed himself head of the Windows Phone 7 division last week. None other then Mr Steve “We have a good mobile phone strategy, apple sells no mobile phones today” Ballmer himself.

Place your bets ladies and Gentlemen....


Mark Cilia Vincenti said...

Good point about the home consumers making demands at work. Going forward, consumers are starting to use more and more different OSes. When they manage to grow free of the "I only know how to use Windows" ideology, the hit will be on Windows per se not on the desktop PC, at least in the foreseeable future. Desktop PCs are still more comfortable to use (ask any doctor/physio) than any laptop/tablet/mobile phone. These devices offer absolutely nothing more than portability and desk space usage. With more and more web services (especially so once Chrome OS is launched) such as Google Docs for example, and other services "on the cloud", portability in hardware becomes less and less of an issue.

I personally see it more as a benefit for Linux and Chrome OS rather than the choice of hardware.

Nick Galea said...

Thanks for the feedback mutu. I personally am not a fan of Linux on the desktop, but Android and maybe Chrome OS are hiding it quite effectively. I think a desktop is more comfortable largely because of the keyboard, and the Ipad has a rather cool keyboard/docking station and Android devices will follow soon.

In any case, Windows Phone 7 and its tablet version better be good - this is a strategic battle for Microsoft.

Mark Cilia Vincenti said...

You're welcome :)

I'm not such a fan of Linux on the desktop yet, either, but that could quickly change if more and more people start adopting it and ironing out the difficulties.

Yes the keyboard is important, but so is the mouse and having the screen a bit higher than the keyboard (so that you don't end up arching forward as one would tend do with a laptop). But yes a docking station could work if done properly. It would be kind of like taking the screen part of your monitor off with you and leaving the monitor base, keyboard and mouse on your desk.

I'm still not completely convinced though. You can't have a big screen (because otherwise carrying it around with you is unpractical -- until they manage to create a flexible screen you could roll or fold) and you're limited in the one thing PCs have benefited from: upgradeability.

Nick Galea said...

This is the Ipad docking station:
Not bad i think, good enough for occasional home use...

Unknown said...

Interesting post! Let me explain my point of view.
Users, I mean, professional users, working with applications, but not with operating system. So, for this user the "cool Iphone interface" is not so important. First of all, I need that my everyday applications will work on my tablet.
Another issue here - I don't want to "spread" my user data and settings among lot of "cool gadgets". I need ONLY ONE universal lightweight PC at home, at work, and on the road.
So, personally I seeing the Iphone, Ipad and all this Android stuff simply useless. It simply one more gadget that I need to administer, upgrade and so on.
My wife (housewife) maybe not need a full fledged PC for web browsing and email. But when I compared a cost of IPAD and good Windows Netbook, I choose Netbook :-)
Conclusion: currently my "dream gadget" is Asus Eee Pad EP121
An all my apps will run!

Nick Galea said...

Hi Igor, Thanks for your feedback. But then these devices do a number of things better then the current Windows version. I.e how they boot up, portability and so on. Windows Phone 7 & or some tablet version of Windows 7 would have to master these things as well.

Anonymous said...

Lol, that are all nice devices but useless for the business market since the business features are missing. Its kind of like the dutch soccer team. All looks nice but for the championship they are just not good enough

Nick Galea said...

@anonymous?. My post was about consumer OS, but in any case Android and Iphone phones most definitely have a use in the business and both companies are adding controls to allow companies to roll out smartphones. Re Dutch football team,they perform quite well at each tournament and lets wait and see how they do at this worldcup!

Anonymous said...

Yeah. Like 2008 and 2006 they will follow Italy and England. Like chicken. The louder the noise the less eggs they produce.

Nick Galea said...

The only thing thats like a chicken here is you posting anonymously scared to say your name :-)

Anonymous said...

lol, wasn't it a weak game against an even weaker slowakia today?

P.S. Dont have an account to post and since I am not generation facebook I will never have one

Wayne Hewitt said...

HP Completes Palm Acquisition

Anonymous said...

As I said. The dutch team proved to be the IPhone - good in marketing, champion in foul play but not good enough for the top!