While Debian, Ubuntu and other GNU/Linux distros jockey for a meagre few percent of page-views according to StatCounter, Android/Linux has a dramatic ramp upward. There are many causes of this but chief among them are a low cost licence, $0. You can’t beat that. M$ is now trying but is years too late to market and it’s not a good business-plan for them. Google, on the other hand, wins every time someone gets online with a Free OS. Probably second to price is the fact that anyone who knows Java programming can develop software for Android. That’s a huge plus as Android/Linux can run new and old applications causing a huge ramp up in available apps. Put these features on small cheap computers and they sell just about everywhere.
“Android’s domination of global smartphone shipments reached a new peak in Q2 2014, with an impressive 85 percent of all smartphones now running Google’s OS. Android’s gain came at the expense of every major rival platform. BlackBerry saw its global smartphone share tumble from 2 percent to 1 percent in the past year due to a weak line-up of BB10 devices. Apple iOS lost one point of share to Android because of its limited presence at the lower end of the smartphone market. Microsoft Windows Phone continued to struggle in the United States and China, and its global smartphone marketshare fell from 4 percent in Q2 2013 to just 3 percent during Q2 2014.”
Like the ancient PacMan game, smartphones have a winner, Android/Linux, the OS of 85% of the 295million smartphones shipped in the second quarter of this year. The causes of this monopoly unlike that other OS are:
- a strong Linux base,
- plenty of developers skilled in Java, and
- a great price of $0 for many years.
Google did not need exclusive dealing to create the monopoly. It’s based on quality the consumer can see and feel.
Yep. That’s straight from CNNIC, the China Internet Network Information Center.
Yes, they still use desktops for that but the preferred medium, even at home is the smartphone. Wintel is doomed. Too expensive. Too inflexible. Too immobile. Too impersonal. It’s not just the Chinese. A whole generation of humans is growing up knowing that M$ is unnecessary for human existence.
OK, so I don’t read Chinese… I identified stuff from an article on Digitimes. They get it. 527 million of the 632 million users of the Internet in China use smartphones. Why would they switch device when they get home?
Oh, the poor desktop PC. First, the notebook overtook them in units sold. Then the smartphone did the same. Now it’s the tablet’s turn…“The worldwide tablet grew 11.0% year over year in the second quarter of 2014 (2Q14) with shipments reaching 49.3 million units according to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker.
…Share outside the top 5 grew to an all time high as more and more vendors have made inroads in the tablet space. By now most traditional PC and phone vendors have at least one tablet model in the market, and strategies to move bundled devices and promotional offerings have slowly gained momentum.”
These are real people and organizations buying these tablets. The real PC is no longer a big box filled with air and fans, but a tiny energy-sipping small cheap computer running */Linux. OK, quite a few run iOS but iOS has certainly lost most of its early lead.
There’s this thing about dinosaurs. They were magnificent and perfectly suited to their environment… until the environment changed.“Intel, Microsoft and notebook brand vendors are preparing to push entry-level notebooks priced at US$199-249 in the second half, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.” Wintel is like the dinosaurs when it comes to competition from the small cheap computers. Apparently, they continue to believe it’s only the “little guys” they have to worry about. M$ is giving away its OS to put on small cheap Wintel PCs. Intel is pricing down certain low-power CPUs. There’s nothing wrong with such moves except that it ignores much of the rest of the world and the fact that we can hook a monitor, keyboard and mouse onto a smartphone and get better performance than their offering. What use is a $200 clamshell compared to something that will fit in one’s pocket and which can be used on a desk or on the go? You could pay people to use these notebooks and still have no effect on that competition.
It’s just folly to assume that this move will have any effect on the huge volume of smartphones being sold. They are the real competition. Chromebooks are not the real competition. Chromebooks won’t be affected in the least by lowering prices on Wintel. It’s WINTEL that people are escaping, not high prices. Low prices are just a fringe benefit of using FLOSS on small cheap computers. People are tired of the Wintel treadmill, re-re-reboots, malware and bloat. You can pay people to use Wintel and they will just refuse often enough to affect the bottom line of the proponents of Wintel.
Still, it’s fun to see them try. I bet those machines would work great with GNU/Linux or Android/Linux… Finally, we won’t have to build a PC from parts to escape M$’s “tax” or Intel’s high prices.
The huge lead developed by the legacy PC over more than a decade on the web“Around 527 million (or 83 per cent) of China’s 632 million netizens preferred to use a mobile device to access websites and apps.
Some 81 per cent of those Chinese people who are online browsed the web via a PC; naturally a large number of people used both mobile devices and PCs.” is shrinking fast. In China, it’s gone.
This is the straw that breaks the camel’s back, the burdens of Wintel on personal IT are huge negatives compared to */Linux on ARM, software and hardware that works for the user and not the monopolists, Intel and M$. While it has been a difficult and slow process to move the legacy PC beyond monopoly, there never was a monopoly for these new small cheap computers. One way or another FLOSS and */Linux will have its day. Consumers are finally getting choice, competition and great price/performance on retail shelves.
“ABI Research expects 1.25 billion smartphones to ship in 2014 and forecasts smartphone shipments to pass the 2 billion mark in 2018. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the forecast period from 2014 to 2019 is 12%.”
ABI Research says the 60% penetration of smartphones in the developed markets could be possible in the developing markets thanks to lowering prices… Wow! Just Wow! This makes “the PC revolution” seem like a rummage sale. Soon, more smartphones will ship per annum than legacy PCs extant.
Need a second opinion? See Smartphone Sales Volume to Touch 23.6% Growth in 2014 on the Back of Emerging Markets
It was just a few years ago that M$ could tell OEMs what to do if they wanted to sell a PC and that included bundling M$’s OS with (almost) every PC shipped on the planet.“Microsoft operating chief Kevin Turner said that the company and its partners won’t cede the low-end of the PC market and will sacrifice Windows licensing margins to do it.” That’s over and here’s what happened:
- That pesky GNU/Linux operating system would not go away and was installed on just about everything except desktop PCs…
- Finally Dell, HP, and other big OEMs figured out that they could make money selling some PCs with GNU/Linux, probably as a result of US Department of Justice twisting arms…
- Then Google figured out that PCs had to be a lot cheaper if Google’s market, everyone on the Internet, was going to grow sufficiently rapidly to maintain Google in the manner to which it had become accustomed, and Google provided an inexpensive */Linux OS, Android/Linux the world could ship on inexpensive ARMed PCs of all kinds: tablets, smartphones, all-in-ones and yes, even desktop PCs. Further, Android/Linux did not have a lot of the problems of that other OS: malware, slowing down, re-re-reboots, and high and hidden price…
Chuckle. The good times are rolling. Eventually even retailers and businesses locked into doing things M$’s way will take the opportunities that exist in the market. Already Google has sponsored a billion small cheap computers running Android/Linux and there could be more than another billion shipped this year. M$ had better compete on price to have any hope of keeping up. Then there are all the lock-ins that M$ has built over the year. Those lock-ins now keep M$ out of the market: Bloatware just doesn’t fit on most small cheap computers, bloatware just doesn’t run fast on most small cheap computers, and M$’s GUI for the desktop and the touch-screen doesn’t fit well on the tiny screens that people love to put in their pockets.
Forget charging a price of $0. M$ will have to pay people to buy something running that other OS. People won’t take that pay as just a reduction of the price of the device a few dollars. They will want a huge cut or some substantial benefit. Using a word-processor designed in the 1980s won’t cut it. Most users of small cheap computers can’t even type… They just want to click and */Linux lets them and their friends and their friends’ friends click to their heart’s content. Remember the 1990s when M$ held that monopoly naturally called on them to dominate the market? Well, it’s the 1990s all over again, done right this time. :-))
Do the maths. Millions are buying small cheap computers that do for them what bulky PCs used to do: compute and communicate. Those small cheap computers even do it better, being small and cheap (bonus for no extra charge). If M$ does give away its OS for small cheap computers or pay people to use its OS, everyone will know that the value of M$’s OS on desktop PCs and servers is about $0, too. The endgame is that M$ cannot just compete on price for consumers’ gadgets. M$ will have to compete everywhere and actually work for a living from now on. That will lower their margins considerably. That will cut into their bottom line. That may not maintain their market share anywhere near where it is now.
The Little Woman had a PSU fail on her Android/Linux tablet. She went shopping for a new tablet by visiting a big box store locally. Eventually, she bought a new PSU for a few dollars.
The thought occurred to me that it’s getting really hard to buy an Android/Linux tablet these days because of the sheer volume of choice. I looked at a popular Chinese site and found 7″ displays were most numerous (124 choices). Prices ranged from $38 to $380. The $38 model actually is a serious product from a serious company complete with flashy rollouts and booth-babes. They are competing hard even for this low-end market. CPUs were of several kinds with clocks from 1gHz to about 1.6gHz and single to quad core. RAM ranged from 512MB to 1gB. That would be a killer for me. Beast has 4gB and I use it all day long, either actively or as a file-cache. The one thing I got from the exercise is a respect for the difficulty facing the consumer. I suspect that most consumers would look at the final product, the display in use, the general appearance and the price rather than specs. I rather care more about performance.
I looked at the higher-end chip, sibling to the $38 model, ATM7039, and found it in a 9″ model with 1920 x 1200px and HDMI socket at $183. There’s no Ethernet but 802.11n is decent. With USB and HDMI I can add size to the user-interface and storage. Except for the 2MP camera, this is a great device. Now we’re talking. Quad core 1.5gHz and 2gB RAM, competing with Intel… Whats-his-name was proud to say he could not make a tablet for less than $500. Chuckle. Watch our dust. These small cheap computers come in flavours suitable for any taste.
I can even get an Exynos 5 CPU in an 8″ tablet for $254. Close. Really close…
In all of the prices mentioned above, one can get a small but increasing discount if one orders more units.
The bottom line is that no matter what factor concerns a consumer most, he/she will find it with */Linux on ARM, be it affordable computing, great computing, or something in between. There’s something for everyone and Wintel need not apply. There are a million reasons why Android/Linux on ARM is kicking Wintel’s butt. Every consumer has a few.
UPDATE I noticed in a related story that M$ is now offering to give away its OS to makers of small and <$250 tablets. Good luck with that. Android/Linux is already giving ~1billion people “full PC functionality”. I can even root these things and install Debian GNU/Linux. It doesn’t get any better than that. Even for $0, M$’s stuff has negative value. M$ will have to start paying people to use its stuff.
- the legacy PC is too expensive, noisy and it’s hard to maintain,
- those small cheap computers allow most folks to do most tasks simply, and
- they are portable. Yeah!
To put it into perspective, more small cheap computers will ship this year than all the legacy PCs that exist, by a factor of 1.2, and that factor is increasing, year to year. As the digital divide is being bridged, the legacy PC is falling into the chasm. No one is interested in buying a mainframe when a small cheap computer will do. That was true when the legacy PC came to be and it’s true today when the legacy PC can do more than most people need: drying hair, making noise, supplying unused expansion ports, taking up lots of room, wasting natural resources, costing several times as much to buy and to own, etc. The industry and the employment of huge resources for maintenance of the legacy PC is threatened. With it will die the mindshare and necessity for Wintel. */Linux on ARM can do the job better for a lot less money.
As the small cheap computer grows in numbers and capability, M$’s monopoly on IT is on its last leg.“Microsoft called off its plan to mass-produce and launch the Surface Mini tablet back in May. According to the report, the decision to cancel the device was made because the tablet lacked differentiation compared to other small tablets, and also because the company received “negative responses” from its various brand vendor partners.” The last straw was an attempt to push “8″ out into the world of small tablets. Against Android/Linux and GNU/Linux selling for $0 on generic tablets, M$ has no hope at all. According to StatCounter, recently M$ had just 0.2% share of tablet-page-views. In countries like India, M$ is down to just 0.09% share.
You just can’t sell generic tablets in a free market with a big hit for a monopolist’s software licence. Even M$ charging itself $0 for its own software could not make any money in this market because consumers just weren’t interested. Life is hard when your big brother doesn’t grant you a monopoly, eh? Get used to it, M$.
While some extoll the virtues of the legacy desktop and notebook PCs, emerging markets are skipping that baggage and moving to lighter weight mobile computing. The next billion or so users of IT/Internet may well skip expensive to buy and to own stuff developed to make $billions for Wintel. Instead they are using the much more economical ARMed stuff running */Linux. Cost and flexibility are the drivers. Many of these regions don’t have electrical utilities and cabled networks. Wintel doesn’t work for them. If/when they do get these technologies, folks there may still prefer the IT they got first, the smartphone and tablet.