Why Android is the New Windows

Why Android is the New Windows

In the same week that Samsung came out with the most advanced Android smartphone ever, we heard that Intel and its partners were working on $200 Android laptops with Atom processors. Though it started as a phone OS and slowly moved to tablets, Android is ready to take on Windows as the desktop OS of choice. With its extensive ecosystem of apps, its highly customizable interface and multitasking prowess, Google’s open-source operating system provides a better PC user experience than Windows 8′s Modern UI.

Today, Android is the OS that provides vendors with the greatest opportunity to innovate and users with the best opportunity to get things done on a mobile device. Everyone from HP and Lenovo to the world’s tiniest Chinese vendors sells Android devices today in a wide variety of form factors with custom software and all kinds of hardware inside.

These days, we’re seeing fewer noteworthy Windows PCs, but in the Android world, we have everything from a 13-inch tablet to a 22-inch all-in-one and a 1-ounce mini PC. There are even a few really low-end Android netbooks already from such unheard of brands as Kocaso and iView.

MORE: 7 Ways to Reboot the Crashing PC Market

While you can download more than a million apps from Google’s Play, search half a dozen other markets or sideload an apk on your own, you can only install Windows 8 apps if Microsoft has agreed to put them in its store. Android apps have deep access to many functions of the OS, but Windows 8 “Modern” apps have more limitations, particularly when they’re running in the background.

At the same time that Android vendors are making it easier to do many things at once with features like Samsung’s Multi Window Mode, LG’s QSlide floating windows and stock Android’s rich notifications area, Microsoft thinks that multitasking is passé. Windows 8′s Modern UI assumes you want to view just one full-screen app with part of a second app docked to the side and key information like the battery meter and a comprehensive list of notifications hidden from view. You don’t have to be a power user to want to see your Wi-Fi signal strength without entering a hidden menu.

MORE: 8 Worst Windows 8 Annoyances and How to Fix Them

If you want to conduct research in your Web browser for a report you’re writing in your word processor with additional information from an email you have open, you can still do that in Windows 8′s Desktop Mode. However, by putting the full-screen Modern UI front and center, Microsoft is not only making it more difficult to multitask today, it’s sharing a vision of the future where computing interfaces have less and less information visible at once. Some believe that Windows 9 won’t even have a Desktop Mode.

“When users can’t view several windows simultaneously, they must keep information from one window in short-term memory while they activate another window,” writes noted usability expert Jakob Nielsen. “This is problematic for two reasons. First, human short-term memory is notoriously weak, and second, the very task of having to manipulate a window—instead of simply glancing at one that’s already open—further taxes the user’s cognitive resources.”

The Android world understands this, which is why I wouldn’t be surprised to see Key Lime Pie come with actual windows built into the stock OS. If it has a superior multitasking experience, more flexibility for vendors to innovate and a rich ecosystem of hardware and software, Android is the new Windows. Microsoft should take note.

AUTHOR BIO
Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of Laptopmag.com since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
Avram Piltch on
Facebook Twitter Google+
LEAVE A REPLY
Name*
Email* (will not be published)
Website
*Indicates required field
Comments*
Submit Comments

  1. Pres Says:

    OK, but what about all the adds that come with android apps?

  2. Automech Says:

    I’m looking forward to Android on the desktop. Bring it on!

  3. Boopoo Says:

    Advertising in Android is a plague and has to be removed before it can become a primary system.

  4. brandon Says:

    android exists in pc’s, its called linux.

  5. Dave Says:

    I don’t see the point. This isn’t going to replace a Windows laptop anymore than an ASUS Transformer, except with these you can’t remove the keyboard when you want to. If you want Android to replace Windows, you need a more robust OS (windows 3.1 could show multiple open programs on the screen at once) and more sophisticated software. Quick Office is not a Microsoft Office replacement.

  6. Mark Says:

    Running Win2000 Pro custom (it is fast, installs XP apps), Photoshop, TinyCAD, Sketchup, Filezilla, Terragen, Psycle, FL studio and numerous other titles. Dual booting with Linux Mint. It’s great! Latest Windows? No gain. My rk3066 tablet is excellent. Android; with greater productivity options, would be noticed.

FIND A REVIEW
Laptops
All Product Types Accessories Cars Digital Camcorders Digital Cameras eReaders GPS Laptops MP3 & Video Players Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets / MIDs VoIP Wi-Fi
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Brand
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS Averatec BenQ CTL Corp. Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Sager Samsung Sony Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating Editor's Choice 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 4 5 6 7 8 9
Resolution
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1920x1080 1920x1200 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options
SUBSCRIBE