In Asia, Mobile PCs are King

Small cheap computers are taking over in Asia. Web stats seen in North America are no where near the same as what are reported in Asia. This probably means the Wintel monopoly has already died in Asia. Good. It’s about time.

I expect the same will happen elsewhere within a year or two. This is not to say that the bulky PCs will disappear. They just will not be the standard of comparison except perhaps in office use on a fixed desk. Typists/secretaries/writers, etc. will always prefer a keyboard if production actually matters. Extended use will always require a large monitor. There’s no reason a tablet cannot do the job with a keyboard/mouse attached. It’s all good.

“74 percent of searches in Singapore (CIA: 5.3 million people) are now done on mobile gadgets while in Indonesia (CIA: 248 million) 78 percent of Internet users go online with a tablet or smartphone.”

Wintel is trying to stay relevant with new releases of software and smaller/faster CPUs but Wintel is so encumbered by its legacy that it cannot possibly keep up except for that segment of IT that cannot/will not change. Asia and other parts of the world are full of people new to IT and adopting the new paradigm is taking a year or two rather than a decade. They are not locked in to Wintel. Never have been. Never will be if this trend continues. “8” and Atom are too little and too late. While M$ struggles to release “8”, the world has available hundreds of distros of GNU/Linux and several flavours of Android/Linux that can be deployed in weeks on the new devices.

China, for example, has four times the population of the US but half live in rural areas compared to 3/4 in USA. The Chinese are moving to cities at double the rate of USA. The Chinese love small cheap computers. Wintel does not work on small cheap computers. The premium on the OS and CPU and the bloat of the software and bulk of the PCs running Wintel just don’t fit the life-style of Asians in many cases. It’s a whole new market that Wintel cannot serve.

see Mobiles surge in Asia, to overtake PCs: Google – Yahoo! News.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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31 Responses to In Asia, Mobile PCs are King

  1. oldman says:

    “oldman did you answer what I asked. Does a tablet really need a copy of MS Office?”

    It needs a local word processor that fits and produces office compatible files. If Office can be made to fit, then so much the better.

    It only took one time of finding myself in a location where both wireless and cellular signals were blocked to cure me of the notion that at tablet with a RDP session is an reliable substitute for having the local function.

  2. oiaohm wrote, “Does a tablet really need a copy of MS Office?”

    That’s debatable but what is not debatable is that very soon many will be doing word-processing on the server from all kinds of clients. LibreOffice has that up the pipe. I’ve been using OpenOffice.org on a terminal server for years. It does not make a lot of difference where the bits are as long as I can present the information when and where I want.

  3. oiaohm says:

    oldman did you answer what I asked. Does a tablet really need a copy of MS Office?

    Or is server provided good enough most cases?

    This is the reality of the current market. For my setup MS Office on my tablet makes no sence. It really did not for a laptop either. I don’t what a hot device on my lap. Processing is better done else where.

    I do agree that ipads mostly suck lack of mouse support and other annoying limitations. Of course most people are somehow stupid. Finger prints on screen/dirty screens equal headaches. Yet for some reason people what a tablet they can touch. Tablet with stylet is sane.

    Cause of touch screen eye strain is the human oil left on them that attaches dirt to screen. Yes there would be a reason to use touch screens with some form of gloves.

  4. oldman says:

    “Some crap, but that’s the best he can do. I see nothing new or worth replying to in your words.”

    OF course not. If you have nothing to say, you cant respond.

  5. kozmcrae says:

    @ldman wrote:

    Some crap, but that’s the best he can do. I see nothing new or worth replying to in your words.

  6. oldman says:

    “I’ve said that in so many words, many, many times before. I’ve said it because it’s true.”

    It is Your truth Mr, K. not the truth. The truth is more complicated than you are willing to acknowledge. That is what I know and that is what I shall continue to say to Pog in response to Pog’s blog posts.

    “So many words are wasted telling @ldman what he already knows.”

    What words are those? All you do is repeat like a parrot “FOSS wins!” You are only interested in surrender not discussion. And I will not surrender to the likes of you, Mr. “I’ll throw the community a bone by submitting a bug report”.

    You cant shut me up, But I and others know you for the twerp that you are.

  7. kozmcrae says:

    @ldman wrote:

    “But Since you are so concerned about what others read here lets go back to the words that you accused me of putting in your mouth:”

    That was no “accusation”, you were putting words in my mouth repeatedly. I suspect because you had run out of all other options.

    I don’t know what you were hoping to accomplish with quoting something I wrote about my relationship with FLOSS. There is nothing to be ashamed of in those statements. If you think there is then you don’t understand the basic concepts of FLOSS (I think you do) or you think that somehow, I alone am to be ashamed for following the basic concepts of FLOSS. Either way, each time try to shame me, you make a fool of yourself. So knock yourself out @ldman because each time you do, you deserve the ‘@’.

    It looks like @ldman and kozmcrae are going to waste a lot of words and blog space on another tit for tat slogging match. I will take responsibility for starting this one with this words:

    “These words I’m writing are really not for @ldman. He knows all of this. He just refuses to acknowledge it. It’s for the other readers who come to this blog.”

    I’ve said that in so many words, many, many times before. I’ve said it because it’s true. So many words are wasted telling @ldman what he already knows. You could make this easier @ldman by admitting what you already know and relieve us of the task of retelling it to you countless times. Somehow I don’t think you will do that because you haven’t done it by now. It’s part of your agenda. Play dumb when it comes to FLOSS. To me, that makes you just dumb.

  8. Clarence Moon says:

    They are on the brink….

    The brink of what, Mr. Pogson? I think that it is just the normal conditions of product marketing precepts at work here.

    Read up on the Product Life Cycleconcept, Mr. Pogson. PCs are, indeed, in a mature-ish state in these terms and perhaps you can relate the theory to the practice here and improve your understanding.

  9. oiaohm says:

    oldman my cheap andriod why I got it has a 8000 mah battery in it. So its does 8 to 9 hours a charge even using usb keyboard and mouse. This means at a conference I don’t need to take extra batteries with me in most cases. I do have a 12000 mah battery as well both basically give me a full days running and a bit.

    The commercial office suites on Android are quite decent. Ipad is lacking in this area. Apple and Android have different quality applications. Annoyingly android has the better office apps.

    Also the thing I like also about my android I got a stylist that slots into it. So I don’t end up like ipad users with finger prints all over my screen causing headaches. Basically oldman invest in a stylist and don’t touch you ipad screen with your finger tips and your headaches will be less.

    You finger is way to big. That is something else ipads support bluetooth keyboard. Mine that is an android supports bluetooth keyboard and mouse out box. Yes you can root an ipad and make it support a bluetooth mouse but hey why should you have to. For some things the mouse is the best solution. The stylist is good for drawing on it.

    The tablet I have got is a Allwinner A10 cpu. So if I did need the functionality of my Linux desktop I can install a Linux at any time. Its not a vendor locked machine. The cheep clones of android are truly better than some of the Samsung and the like for function. Like the all important very large battery.

    There is only one major annoyance with my tablet. I have to use a usb to Ethernet dongle to connect to wired Ethernet. Yes my tablet can dock can be a thin terminal.

    The question is do a need items like MS Office portable. I need the means to take notes yes and do particular things but I don’t need MS Office itself portable. When I am at home my tablet uses everything that is on my server. In businesses with thin client networks where approved I use the applications on there thin client server so I am using the exact same office suite as the rest of the staff.

    So oldman there is a really serous question how much functionality an android tablet really needs. Maybe your work and home is not really setup for using android tablets. So for my desk, laptop and my tablet the businesses where I am have only had to invest in the license of one copy of MS Office for when I am at work. When I am not other people can be using that license. At home I have only invested in one copy of MS Office. Each machine does not require a copy. Each location does.

    To word process well to be truthful you need a 15 inch or larger screen. That undermines the reason you have a tablet in the first place. Something portable for small jobs.

    oldman the serous question is how much do we really have to spend on Microsoft products to get the job done. Setup right not that much.

    Linux desktop does not mean I miss out on any functionality. Just like a Android tablet. They are only my interface to access the applications I have paid for. Not the device that has to contain them.

  10. Clarence Moon wrote, “What you seem to ignore is that the PC software business, in terms of OS and office automation, is fantastically profitable. If that declines to just tremendously profitable, it is still the most desirable piece of business on the planet.”

    What you seem to ignore is that M$’s share of IT is decreasing. IT is expanding ever more vigorously and M$’s client revenue is almost flat. They are on the brink. The monopoly was sustained by “positive feedback” which they produced illegally but now that is gone. All kinds of users of PCs are looking for the exits.

  11. oldman wrote, “The world does not have to do the technological equivalent of taking a welding torch to an old roto tiller either, yet that is precisely what you ask us to do without even batting an eye when you prosthelitize for Linux and FOSS.”

    That’s a straw man, oldman. Ordinary users never have to tweak the OS to use GNU/Linux. I have had thousands of newbies use GNU/Linux and none had to install anything (except grade 10 students who were assigned learning such things), tweak /etc, etc. They just used it and it worked for them.

  12. oldman says:

    “”Yes! What more do you need to edit text and format pages?”

    I think you might want to rethink that sentiiment Pog. Much of the software that ran on my ancient system while the best that could be had at the time had serious limitations, and the code itself was not that good either. Most modern PC users would not put up with the non GUI, non WYSIWIG world of CP/M .

    “The world does not owe M$ a living and we should not buy stuff just to keep M$ busy cranking out a new version of software that was good enough a decade ago.”

    The world does not have to do the technological equivalent of taking a welding torch to an old roto tiller either, yet that is precisely what you ask us to do without even batting an eye when you prosthelitize for Linux and FOSS.

    Good enough is in the eye of the beholder, Pog. Ms Excel 2000 lacked data handling features that many people depend on today. There was no XML support and charting was much less capable today. Finale 2001 had only vestigeal support for playback (via external MIDI) and no human playback algorythms. Both of these are features that I welcomed gladly whan they were offered and used extensively, even when they blew me out of hardware that I had purchased earlier than I had hoped – The productivity gains were worth having to buy the system that could be upgraded to 4Gb RAM to support the new features.

    But I suppose that I should have just made do with the older less capable “more efficient” software….
    Why?

    ” Most of the feature-bloat in word-processors is not used. Why pay for it?”

    And yet you tolerate if not use the equally if not more bloated L—-Office. Is that somehow better because its FOSS? Or could the real reason be that you dont have to PAY for it, eh Pog?

  13. oldman says:

    “Did you expect the bloat?”

    Yes. Because unlike yourself of Pog I know that the more you attempt to get done with a program, the more programming that it takes. IN the end sophisticated applications required sophisticated programming. Not every application can rely on the programmatic equivalent of “mary had a little lamb”

    “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a computer that gave us only the computing power we needed at any given time and software that only had the features we used. Imagine how light such a system would be. Now imagine an enterprise with 10,000 such systems. The power savings alone would be enormous. ”

    If that magical light system that you postulate could deliver the same function that is needed, then it would indeed be highly desirable. But if your magical light system couldn’t deliver the function, than 10000 such systems would be far worse that what they replaced, because it would turn into one big colossal waste of peoples time.

    “These words I’m writing are really not for @ldman. He knows all of this. He just refuses to acknowledge it. It’s for the other readers who come to this blog.”

    All I just refuse to cave in to your bullying. No Mr. K all of the @’s in the world in my nym aren’t going to get me to say something that I don’t believe.

    But Since you are so concerned about what others read here lets go back to the words that you accused me of putting in your mouth:

    “I am not a moocher. I am doing exactly what one should do with the code. I am enjoying the freedom of using it. I enjoy the freedom of looking at the product of that code be it a text file of my own making or the output of a log file. And, once in a great while, I’ll send in a bug report…”

    And, once in a great while, I’ll send in a bug report…”… Such a great promoter of FOSS.

  14. kozmcrae says:

    @ldman wrote:

    “I also have expectations of function and feature that have evolved accordingly.”

    Did you expect the bloat? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a computer that gave us only the computing power we needed at any given time and software that only had the features we used. Imagine how light such a system would be. Now imagine an enterprise with 10,000 such systems. The power savings alone would be enormous.

    It might not be possible to create such a system today but it is possible to create a computer that embodies elements of such a system. That’s easy to do with the separate-pieces nature of FLOSS. These words I’m writing are really not for @ldman. He knows all of this. He just refuses to acknowledge it. It’s for the other readers who come to this blog.

  15. Clarence Moon says:

    The conventional PC shipments are sluggish.

    From a product marketing point of view, conventional PC products are indeed maturing, but the market is still growing, if only in single digits rather than double as during much of the past. What you seem to ignore is that the PC software business, in terms of OS and office automation, is fantastically profitable. If that declines to just tremendously profitable, it is still the most desirable piece of business on the planet.

    Some of the causes of the slowdown are not necessarily irreversible either. The slim growth of the business has been done in a worldwide economic slump of historic proportions, so it is not so clear that double digit growth of PCs cannot resume as the world recovers. It is abundantly clear, however, that adoption of smart phones and various styles of tablets has not spelled the end of the conventional PC.

    As you have pointed out, these devices already outnumber PCs, at least when added to the “feature phones” that can also be used to access internet information such as email. The only thing that has happened is that people have added those devices to their other devices.

  16. oldman wrote, “Is that all that is required?”

    Yes! What more do you need to edit text and format pages? The world does not owe M$ a living and we should not buy stuff just to keep M$ busy cranking out a new version of software that was good enough a decade ago. Most of the feature-bloat in word-processors is not used. Why pay for it?

  17. oldman says:

    “The machines have software, RAM, storage and a CPU, all that is required.”

    So I guess you would have no problem computing on the almost 30 year old fully functional Z80 based S100 system that I dumped a few years back. It had software (Final Word & wordstar, Supercalc,Dbase II) RAM (64K), Storage (Dual 8″ 1.2Mb Floppies) and CPU ( 6mhz Z80). It even had a working interrupt driven Centronics printer port complete with laserprinter.

    Is that all that is required?

    “Here’s a smart phone running Ubuntu GNU/Linux with LibreOffice.”

    Prototypes don’t count Pog.

  18. oldman says:

    “You’ve got a super computer sitting on your desk @ldman. A late 1980′s super computer.”

    I am also running software that didn’t exist in the late 1980’s and performing tasks that I couldn’t perform then. I also have expectations of function and feature that have evolved accordingly.

  19. oldman wrote, “the one problem that does not disappear is the issue of stand alone function. Even the best of the so called office suites are missing basic functions that people use.”

    How is running an office suite on a tablet any different from running an office suite on a P3, P4, or any more recent PC? The machines have software, RAM, storage and a CPU, all that is required. My wife’s smart phone is networked to her GNU/Linux desktop at home where she does all her content-creation.

    Here’s a smart phone running Ubuntu GNU/Linux with LibreOffice.

  20. kozmcrae says:

    @ldman wrote:

    “One has to accept huge compromises in function and feature when creating content.”

    Only if Moore’s Law reaches its limit, which doesn’t seem to be doing in the near future. You’ve got a super computer sitting on your desk @ldman. A late 1980’s super computer.

  21. oldman says:

    “What exactly does oldman see as the bottleneck?”

    The proof of the pudding is in the eating Robert Pogson. Unless you have actually used attempted to use a tablet as is for actually doing something beyond consuming content, there is no way

    I have been working with a first generation iPad for an extended period of time. It is quite good for content consumption. It is a great book reader – I have over all of the technical manuals that I currently reference at work my fingertips. My personal reading is also with me when I am tired of reading techno babble.

    I can even use the app from my cable provider to stream television to the tablet if I wish. The results are quite good even on a first generation iPad.

    And then of course Surfing the web.

    However the minute one starts having to type the situation changes. Trying to do something beyond note, taking, light correspondence or short emails/IM rapidly becomes a chore. Creating an extended document with formatting with only the on screen touch is an even bigger headache.

    The above is quite fixable. Getting a keyboard makes most of the problems go away and having a tablet with HDMI output gets you the large format screen that aging eyes will appreciate much.

    But the one problem that does not disappear is the issue of stand alone function. Even the best of the so called office suites are missing basic functions that people use. Transferring documents between desktop and tablet software can be problematic, especially for those who have to do it.

    Of course as someone who has already proven that he is willing to put up with less function on principle, I fully expect you to declare the tablet computing experience as jujst a good as that of the traditional pc.

    My position is that reality for others without your built in prejudices will be quite different.

  22. oldman wrote, “he would rapidly discover that using a ARM tablet to actually do something beyond content consumption can be quite limited. One has to accept huge compromises in function and feature when creating content.”

    What compromises? ARM can keep ahead of my typing. ARM can do HDMI video on a huge screen. ARM has some RAM and cache these days and multiple cores. ARM has lots of MIPS. What exactly does oldman see as the bottleneck?

    Ballmer announced that other OS would run an office suite on ARM…

    Benchmarks show huge MIPS…

    There’s enough RAM and bandwidth to do most tasks, including content creation. My wife creates a lot of content with her smart phone.

  23. Clarence Moon wrote, “The important things for Microsoft are the share that they can maintain of operating system use on conventional PCs, namely the desktops, laptops, and netbooks that use Windows, and how large of a market there is for those PCs.”

    The conventional PC shipments are sluggish. They used to increase 10% per annum for years. M$’s desktop revenue tends to track OEM shipments but their share is down. Together with the growth in mobile, M$’s a one-trick pony and it’s getting old. M$’s revenue for desktops could decline by 50% if consumers quit buying them, more if business starts to use tablets. So, there’s no upside for M$. “8” is not going to fix M$’s real problem, that people want small cheap computers.

  24. oldman says:

    “oldman exactly what special about a bluetooth keyboard.”

    My point was that Pog were to have a tablet and use it as most non technical people would, he would rapidly discover that using a ARM tablet to actually do something beyond content consumption can be quite limited. One has to accept huge compromises in function and feature when creating content.

  25. kozmcrae wrote, “The people who will lead the World away from the Wintel monopoly, for the most part, were never even aware of it.”

    That’s an interesting observation and it relates to how Wintel came to be. IBM was the big cheese in business-computing in the 1970s and when the PC came along, IBM set the standard creating Wintel overnight. While IBM insisted Intel second-source, they granted M$ an instant monopoly. Because the monopoly was established on DOS, it survived the transition to GUI. The emerging markets have none of those conditions. There is no one to grant M$ the monopoly. When competition and innovation are allowed to supply IT, good things happen. Because IT is global, that goodness will spread.

    M$ and Intel can diversify, but the good old days with guaranteed revenue for cranking out copies is over. 90%+ share of anything is over. Competition on price/performance is the future. In the future, FLOSS will thrive gaining huge share of every facet of IT. For the desktop, MacOS, that other OS and GNU/Linux seem to be the main players but none of them will have a monopoly. I would not be surprised to see GNU/Linux have the largest share, though, because it provides IT at the lowest cost for the most people.

  26. oldman wrote, “I can’t wait for you to get a tablet with bluetooth keyboard. You will be singing a different tune.”

    “The little woman” has an Android/Linux smart phone and a Lexus. Bluetooth works for her so she can make calls hands-free. I am not sure it’s legal here, but it works. The car can connect to the smart phone from 50 feet away and the connection is solid. Not sure what oldman is suggesting.

  27. oiaohm says:

    oldman exactly what special about a bluetooth keyboard.

    My android tablet has bluetooth keyboard and mouse support built in. Its only a 10 inch tablet I got for under 200 AUD.

    Of course I still end up using wired. Why one set of batteries to worry about.

    The bluetooth for headset so I can make phone call from android tablet is useful.

  28. oldman says:

    “There’s no reason a tablet cannot do the job with a keyboard/mouse attached. It’s all good. ”

    I can’t wait for you to get a tablet with bluetooth keyboard. You will be singing a different tune.

  29. Clarence Moon says:

    This probably means the Wintel monopoly has already died in Asia

    If that somehow brings a smile to your day, be happy, Mr. Pogson. But Windows never was a monopoly in terms of web searches. Rather the courts determined that they had a monopoly for “Intel x86 client operating system software” and everything in court was based on that finding.

    All indications are that Chinese PC users are still buying (or illegally using) Windows software on their PCs. Doubtless they are using a legitimate OS on their cell phones since that commerce is much better regulated.

    The important things for Microsoft are the share that they can maintain of operating system use on conventional PCs, namely the desktops, laptops, and netbooks that use Windows, and how large of a market there is for those PCs. So far, Microsoft has nothing to fear from Linux in that regard and has a better share in China than in the US.

    Since Microsoft is getting a tidy sum from the phone OEMs, growth in that area is not bad news either.

  30. kozmcrae says:

    It’s kind of ironic. The people who will lead the World away from the Wintel monopoly, for the most part, were never even aware of it.

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