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Can Android take over the desktop space?

We’ve theorized about this before but the idea wasn’t fully complete yet. Android is growing faster than ever, while Chrome OS is just starting to gain traction albeit still slow. What’s the connection? Well, it feels like Android is trying to get ready for the Desktop, slowly and still open to debate, but let’s discuss it shall we?

Just recently, Andy Rubin stepped down as the one in charge of Android; and Sundar Pichai, Chrome/App Head, took over. This development opened a lot of doors for the future of Android and Google as a whole.


…it’s a great step for Google entering the laptop business. Maybe this is the push Chrome OS needs.

Google introduces Chromebook Pixel, 2560×1700 laptop

Google became serious in the notebook business with the Chromebook Pixel — and so far, it managed to get a lot of good reviews and impressions across the internet, except for one thing — the platform. Chrome OS is basically the same Chrome browser fitted into an independent operating system and it isn’t really the most practical OS to use on a laptop since it’s heavily based on the Cloud.


However, if you look at Chrome years ago, it was barely noticed since the browser wars were all about Internet Explorer, Firefox and the rest. Look at it now, the growth spurt is evident, so we guess developing Chrome OS and Chromebooks is the next logical step for Google.

The market is currently experiencing massive shifts. In the past 2 years, the mobile industry has grown while the desktop market declined. Microsoft adapted touch into Windows 8 while, like we said, Chrome OS is starting to gain its ground through the also touch-enabled Chromebook Pixel and others like the $250 Samsung Chromebook. Include the report that Google Now will be making its way to Chrome and it all adds up.


Android is one of the stories you may have heard over and over again, but its road to success was not without resistance. When they aimed at the tablet space, it was a major miss. Honeycomb wasn’t prepared at all for the market. Ice Cream Sandwich tried to fix that by merging both tablet & phone UIs, and it partly succeeded — to be followed up by further improvements with Jellybean.

Now, hypothetically, let’s look at the market Android is creeping into — the desktop market. Seen below through StatCounter, Mac OS X is still on the minority and Windows 8 adoption rate is still on the slow side in a world dominated by Windows 7. Chrome OS won’t make a dent here anytime soon but think about it: Windows 8 is on shaky grounds still and Windows 7 is surely about to decline soon.

Windows 8 can grow once Windows 7 users are forced to upgrade. The question is, do they want to upgrade? Well, if you think about it, it is debatable and too early to tell – but adoption rate is still quite slow though. According to BGR, Windows 8 has gotten a market share of 1.09% in November, 1.72% in December and 2.26% in January.

stats 2

We always get this argument that nothing can ever overpower Windows’ dominance, but maybe Microsoft is getting too complacent. Android has started supporting x86 processors quite some time ago, has great file management and has a growing ecosystem. It has all the things it needs to compete with Windows – safe for those .exe files, drivers and hardware support (printers, peripherals & etc.) that the consumer needs, but once developers start believing in it, they will follow anyway.

Server market is also on the huge. It’s going to be hard to challenge Microsoft in this area – even harder if you attempt to overthrow them – but Google could have their eyes set on the prize anyway as they really have a heated relationship with the Redmond giant, seen through their actions (dropping Exchange ActiveSync, not supporting Windows Phone with Google apps).

Of course, these things won’t happen immediately. It will take time since Android can’t even maximize 10-inch screens just yet. Microsoft needs to be on a lookout, since it has a lot to defend and protect against Google. Android can simply merge with Chrome OS anytime soon, just like how it absorbed both phone and tablet operating systems.

chrome droid

Google’s Eric Schmidt stated in a recent report by Reuters that they will remain separate entities and rather, they will only have commonalities as time passes. That could rule out the merging part for the foreseeable future, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Android won’t go desktop. Besides, it can take a decade before it could completely materialize.

All clues point to this road. Google already has an Android statue made out of Chrome for the world to see (though that confirms nothing). Is timing & polishing the only thing holding back the potential Android desktop OS?

Bob Freking occasionally contributes articles to the website. He is a UST Graduate of Commerce & Business Administration, Major in Marketing Management, and a full-time Sith Lord with three dragons.

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24 Responses

  1. steelicon says:

    Seems like we are pushing Android in the right direction. ^_^

  2. Miss Call says:

    Not true. Steve Jobs said it is the end of the PC era so it is not going to happen.

    • Digest says:

      Nagpapatawa ka ba?

      Where do you do your work? PC. Kaya mo ba mag trabaho gamit smartphone mo? Like doing spreadsheets? Siguro may apps pero saan mas efficient?

      Where do you play? PC. Play Battlefield 3 nga sa smartphone mo?

      Tang na. Kahit naka 5110 cellphone ko pero kung ang pc ko eh maganda, wala kng pake sa smartphone/padphone/tablet at kng ano ano pa.

      And dahil sa mas mobile yang mga devices na yan, mas madali din sila kunin sayo ;)

    • Crusher says:

      Hah! Apple Fanboy, Steve Jobs said your so f***ing idiot. LOL

    • Mr. Mari says:

      While I agree with the replies supporting PC’s (The Era of PC’s in my opinion, is still going strong and its end is a bit farfetched.) But the manner of these people… my God. Sana naman mag asal edukado tayo. Di ko layo pinapangunahan pero sana sa susunod po ay ayus ayusin natin ang pagpapahayag ng opinyon natin mga ser/ma’am. Good day

    • jample says:

      haha, you forgot the sarcasm sign

    • you can never take away just that what PC can offer because an anti-PC engineer (SJ) says so. pc still dominates in power hungry areas like HD games, video editing, animations and more. we just have an increase in number of mobile users not a decrease in PC users. if you’ve never tried PC, you’ve already lost half of your life :P

    • Silverlokk says:

      Ahm, techjunkeez, no. All the IT industry trackers have determined that PC shipments have been falling for the last two or three years.

    • Beki says:

      dahil lang sinabi ni Steve Jobs? haha ang babaw mo!

  3. Wala says:

    Do you honestly believe that PC era is going to end? I think not, it is only evolving… not ending…

  4. Iyan Sommerset says:

    Android is primarily a touch-based interface. That will never be a true replacement for the desktop experience, which relies on a more varied slew of input methods. In addition, capacitive touch technology will always add a level of complication (and COST) to a product that many people just aren’t willing to shell out for.

    And some people like to eat/drink stuff while working on their desktops. I’m not sure what ranch dressing does to a touchscreen but I know it won’t faze a keyboard or a mouse much.

  5. thecorrescode says:

    Yes, since there are already application that used to run on desktop pero ported na sa Android. For example, Adobe released Photoshop (not the Express) targeted for tablets and smartphones. Polaris released an office application which is better than the lame Microsoft Office. Rumor has it that LibreOffice is going to be ported to Android soon.

    Kung sa office naman, majority rin naman ng systems is browser based na. For example, yung payroll and accounting sa amin is done using a web application. Sabi nga eh, gone are the days na kailangan mo ng native apps para sa lahat ng tasks mo.

    Kung games naman, if you look at it magaganda rin naman yung lumalabas sa Android, even in iOS. Siyempre, wala dun yung tipong Skyrim or Diablo, pero malay natin. Assassin Creed nga meron sa Android eh.

  6. Justin says:

    If ever Android DOES take over the desktop space, it won’t be with the $1300 Chromebook Pixel.

    • Eingild says:

      The pixel is not really a bad idea considering it comes with 3Tb of google drive storage for 3 years which costs around $4000. Imagine, it’s like you’re paying for google drive’s services and they will give you the laptop for free. It’s not really for users like us. It targets a different market. ;)

  7. epol says:

    cge nga mag burn kayo ng maraming movies sa android nyo!

    • thecorrescode says:

      May gumagamit pa ba ng CD/DVD-RW? Mostly, naka USB-Drive na ngayon mga tao. Not to mention that kahit na walang SD-Card yung Android phone mo, pede mo iconnect yung USB Drive using OTG cables…

  8. daniel says:

    PC era is ending? HUH? grabe naman… so far fetched ang idea. isipin mo na lahat ng software na ginawa… pustahan ginawa yan sa PC… at lahat yan hindi mo pwedeng gawin sa smartphone mo… try mo nga mag-Photoshop or Premiere pro or mag-manage ng website sa smartphone? patawa.

  9. Eingild says:

    IMHO, android can replace PC para lang sa mga casual users. Yung FB, twitter at Youtube lang ang ginagawa sa desktop or laptop. Pero sa power users, you really can’t replace a PC. If professional applications like CAD or Photoshop can be ported to Android with their full functionality intact, then I think that is the only time that we should take the idea that “the PC era is ending” seriously.

    • Silverlokk says:

      Yup. See also my reply (might be below or above, not sure how this site’s forum software works).

      OTOH, I was pleasantly surprised at how powerful Google Drive’s web-based apps — Docs, Draw, and Present — had gotten. For example, I created the Internet-of-Things graphic entirely in Google Draw. I’m preparing a presentation in Present — or whatever those apps are called. No, they won’t replace MS Office, OpenOffice.org, or LibreOffice — especially the Docs component. And no, I don’t expect Google to come out with a Web-based CAD app. However, do give Google Drive’s apps a try.

    • Silverlokk says:

      Just occurred to me that I could share the graphic: https://docs.google.com/drawings/d/1baXwToaWteYOFcdVGERZZQUK9O3X6WyA1B6L9YVc-OA/edit?usp=sharing — I take full responsibility for any aesthetic shortcomings, as I’m not a graphic artist after all :)

  10. Carl Bytes says:

    I think it will be a long road for Android/Chrome OS to compete with Windows / Mac OS. The main reason is that companies still use SQL, MS office, Outlook, Exchange. Windows/Linux owns the enterprise/network side while Mac OS has media market.

    What Google can do is to continue to develop their online apps and support offline features. In gaming they still need to catch up with visuals. If they will release a capable android phone that can be converted to a full blown PC experience (Padfone / Ubuntu phone) then it’s great.

  11. Silverlokk says:

    1. lifehacker had an article on turning your phone — your phone, mind you, not your tablet — into a desktop. It’d connect to a monitor via either HDMI or HML, maybe USB. You’d use a USB keyboard-and-mouse, although maybe with a USB hub. Personally though, I may just use the phone as my keyboard and pointing device. Don’t laugh, I used mostly my phone to type in six of my eight posts at newsbytes.ph — Messagease helped.

    2. IT industry analyst Canalys reported that “One in six PCs shipped in Q4 2012 was an iPad[.]” Note that Canalys is calling the iPad a PC. More of this in one of the eight posts I referred to in 1) above. Sorry I can’t give the link, site’s currently down >:(

  12. parangano says:

    sabi na nga ba si Bob ito.
    ” It will take time since Android can’t even maximize 10-inch screens just yet. ”
    I’m not sure if this would be google’s fault, because technically, they have OEMs doing the hardware and Android is still open source. Maybe developers? I think since a lot of OEMs are creating Android based products, it is hard for both developers and android to “maximize” tablet capabilities since there would be different specs everytime. It could be easier for Apple devs to do that because there’s just one hardware source to reckon with.
    But then again, I could be entirely wrong.
    BTW, I own a chromebook, the cheap one. Consensus among other Chromebook forums is that the Pixel is just too damn expensive, but they do give props for Google for pushing the boundaries for laptop specs and design. Chromebooks and the Chrome OS would still be a niche product, until such time that reliable and fast internet speeds are a norm.

  13. PhSMASH says:

    End of PC era, mukhang malabo un, pro evolution pde pa :)

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