IT In Kenya Evolves Free From Wintel

“The number of Internet subscribers increased by 75.1 percent in the quarter compared to same period in 2011.

The report indicated that mobile data/Internet continued to dominate the market contributing 99 percent of the total internet/data subscriptions in the country.

However, the number of broadband subscribers declined to 1,002,701 from 1,006,071 posted during the previous period, mainly due to a reduction in the number of fixed terrestrial broadband subscribers.”
see allAfrica.com: Kenya's Internet Users Hit 16.2 Million

What a difference a decade makes! Ten years ago, Wintel would have been the only way to go for the IT ecosystem but it was too expensive. Now Kenyans have the choice of small cheap computers running */Linux and are loving it. Wintel need not apply.

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 IT In Kenya Evolves Free From Wintel

  1. oiaohm says:

    George Wilson in fact users are more likely to search out what EULA means than read it.

    –Oh, please. You complain about the EULA on a regular basis, yet you want to make us believe that Android users go through all of the licensing documents which came with their phones.–

    I see you have not unpacked many Android phones.

    Apache license does not require to be provide in paper form. So it not. Most patent licenses are not provided in paper form. Normally inside electronic manual on website that no one reads.

    Basically there is only normally 1 license document in the box if there is any. That is the GPL license for the Linux Kernel.

    So what licensing documents. There is normally only 1 in the boxes. In fact the support conditions on a lot of phones are also on the websites.

    George Wilson the thing is the GPL license for the Linux Kernel is like what is the odd thing. Odd different triggers human curiosity at times. More phone they have had the more likely curiosity will get them.

  2. George Wilson says:

    Oh, please. You complain about the EULA on a regular basis, yet you want to make us believe that Android users go through all of the licensing documents which came with their phones.

    In fact Android user is more likely to search Linux kernel out of curiosity about the license bit of paper in box than Android Linux as a combined term.

    Why is he more likely to do that? Just because you say so? You again try to spin things, make it sound like Android users are a special breed who act very different when compared to normal consumers. Unfortunately that’s not the way how Google has marketed Android.

  3. oiaohm says:

    George Wilson have you ever gone through the paperwork with an Android phone. I can for sure see them searching General public license. Sometimes this is headed with Linux Kernel License.

    In fact Android user is more likely to search Linux kernel out of curiosity about the license bit of paper in box than Android Linux as a combined term.

    Sometimes it does pay to handle the real products and look what is included.

  4. George Wilson says:

    My searches are no more or less bullshit than the searches you pull out of thin air on a regular basis to “prove” things.

    By the way, you have refused to answer important questions:

    – Why would a consumer search for “Android” in the first place?
    – Why would a consumer be enticed to learn more about Linux, even if he read that Android is Linux-based?

    You assume and assume and assume how consumers could do all of this things. But it’s very unlikely that they do. Why? Because then we all would have to think about a great many things every day, for example:

    The subway. A ubiquitous public transport. Do you think about whether the driver is properly instructed, the train is properly maintained, the train will break down etc.? Do you think about who manufactured the train and look it up on the net? Unless you’re a subway enthusiast (or oiaohm) you don’t think about any of these things. And that goes for everything else, too, in which you don’t have a substantial interest. Yes, that includes Android.

    Consumers are just not interested in looking up “Android” on the net, just because they use a smartphone powered by it. Some will be interested (the 0.01%), most will not be (the 99.9%).

  5. George Wilson, exhibiting a complete lack of understanding how search engines work, wrote,
    “”Android” “Linux”: 223 * 10^6 hits
    “Android” -“Linux”: almost 6 * 10^9 hits”

    Why not compare “Android” while you are at it?

    “2×109 hits…

    or “Linux”, 761 million hits.

    What the heck, “android” -“mauser” gets 6.3X109 hits.

    For the greater certainty, finding hits for a term rarely related to another widely used/promoted term is almost useless. Comparing what a consumer may want to know about Android with what a techie wants to know about Android/Linux is silly. The consumer rarely looks beyond the first page of hits when Linux appears right near the top of the first page. Also, a consumer may well be familiar with Wikipedia and choose that source.

  6. bw says:

    “Uh… hardware?”

    That is their only chance, I agree. The hardware is defined by the parts that all come from common sources in Asia, though, and that is just another sort of race to the bottom in terms of price competition.

    Apple is the leader in terms of public vision and acceptance. All others must try to establish themselves as an attractive alternate. If the only criterion is the price paid for the hardware level selected, they are doomed. One or two will survive after a massive shakeout similar to the way that PCs have evolved. None of them will make much money.

    Neither will Microsoft unless they find some sort of way to leverage Windows PCs to the fray. They are working, but I think that the Metro look is not going to be enough. They have to think a lot harder.

    “They can make a raft of pet apps available only to their customers”

    lol

  7. George Wilson says:

    By the way, little experiment for you, Pogson, regarding your claim:

    “The first 3 hits on Google for Android show Linux.”

    Searching for:

    "Android" "Linux": 223 * 10^6 hits
    "Android" -"Linux": almost 6 * 10^9 hits

    "Jelly Bean" "Android" "Linux": 5.27 * 10^6 hits
    "Jelly Bean" "Android" -"Linux": 56 * 10^6 hits

    Why am I not surprised? For most people Linux doesn’t matter when it comes to Android.

  8. bw wrote, ignoring hardware, “The real issue is whether the Android makers can distinguish themselves from one another on any basis but price”.

    Uh… hardware? The makers of hardware surely can do that. They can control the colour, density, surface finish, shape, size, mass, speed, battery-life, ruggedness, etc. ad nauseum, exactly the same way manufacturers of desktop PCs have done for decades.

    And software. They can make a raft of pet apps available only to their customers.

  9. oiaohm says:

    bw
    –The real issue is whether the Android makers can distinguish themselves from one another on any basis but price. It they are using the same framework with the same apps that work the same way, that job is much more difficult. There are a number of Android makers, all trying to get business from a single Apple.–
    So far on the money its not funny but just a bit short.

    Samsung and HTC Android are not stock. Same APPs altered UI.

    Also for more diversity makers are looking at Ubuntu, Tizen and other systems. Ok they have done the hard work to support Android running on there core hardware. Ubuntu, Tizen and others reuse that work.

    The means to Distinguish Self is coming. That is when the progress of Android will get highly interesting.

    George Wilson you keep on saying the Owner of the device have to know its Linux. Reality check only the company employing the developers has to know. The developers is what pushes Linux forwards.

  10. George Wilson wrote, “I didn’t pull out ANY statistics. What I employed may, in fact, be wholly unknown to you: it’s called common sense.”

    99.9% isn’t common sense. It’s flatulence.

  11. George Wilson says:

    George Wilson, pulling statistics out of a dark orifice …

    Statistics? I didn’t pull out ANY statistics. What I employed may, in fact, be wholly unknown to you: it’s called common sense. Unarguably the same common sense that let you claim recently that mere mortals are unable to install Desktop Linux, which is why it’s so important to get the darned thing to retailer’s shelves, pre-installed on the computers they sell.

    But today you want to make us believe that many, many owners of Android smartphones take to the Internet to search for the origins of Android, find out that it’s based on the Linux kernel and then rush to that not small and not cheap computer to install it.

    Yes, that’s very realistic. If you’re called Pogson.

  12. Ted says:

    “Assuming that statistic to be true, I would have to believe that 99.9% of consumers can’t read or use Google. That’s clearly not the case so the assumption must be false. QED”

    You make a raft of assumptions here;

    That all of the “99.9%” of consumers had access to the internet before buying their smartphone. This is almost certainly not true.

    That the entire remainder that did already have access to the internet, used the internet to research their prospective purchase. Facts not in evidence…

    That all those that did research on the internet, used a Google search, and not the manufaturers URL to do so. Likely, but definitely not all of them.

    That those that did have access, and used Google, searched for “Android” and not, for example, the make or model of phone they were interested in. No evidence of that.

    That those with access to the internet, researched their purchases and used Google to do so *gave a single solitary toss* about the OS underpinnings of the phone.

    The only ones trumpeting “Android is Linux” are the Linux fanboys, desperate for Linux to ride Android’s and Chrome’s coat-tails and to bask in some reflected glory.

  13. bw says:

    “I would have to believe that 99.9% of consumers can’t read or use Google. That’s clearly not the case so the assumption must be false. QED”

    That is a poor attempt to sneak a conclusion from an invalid syllogism. For starters, the claim was obviously not meant to mean a specific number, just the concept of “very few” who would know the derivation of Android from Linux. I would believe this number myself. Knowing both Android and iPhone buyers, I know of none of either class who really care about the origins of the OS. Those who might actually even understand that there is difference would mostly not care about how it was derived from any predecessor system and would not google for such information.

    The ultimate dweeb would know, of course, but there are so few of us.

  14. bw says:

    “So, the $billions M$ rakes in for giving permission to copy their OS does not exist (SARCASM).”

    What does that that have to do with that cost being a minor part of the phone maker’s unit costs? A billion or two in patent royalties spread out over hundreds of millions of Android devices is just a pittance. The real issue is whether the Android makers can distinguish themselves from one another on any basis but price. It they are using the same framework with the same apps that work the same way, that job is much more difficult. There are a number of Android makers, all trying to get business from a single Apple.

    IBM PC and clones used Windows to devastate Apple in the PC market, but it is not such a certain thing that Android can do the same for the phone makers in the current market against Apple.

    “M$’s licensing fee is huge. M$ was worried about it when PCs cost ~$1K. That’s why Wintel tried to make the Ultrabook popular, to hide that price.”

    I can see Microsoft saying “What? Me Worry?” with a toothy grin ala Alfred E. Newman. Up 18% this quarter over last year, eh? Some worry.

    The ultrabook is an attempt to upscale Wintel to compete with MacBook for chic styling and appeal to the fast-lane users. I don’t think it has been very successful. All I see on TV news commentator’s desks are Macbooks with the Apple logo shining bright.

  15. George Wilson, pulling statistics out of a dark orifice, wrote, “99.9% of all consumers don’t even know that these smartphones are running on top of the Linux kernel”

    Assuming that statistic to be true, I would have to believe that 99.9% of consumers can’t read or use Google. That’s clearly not the case so the assumption must be false. QED

    The first 3 hits on Google for Android show Linux.

    Both Android.com and Wikipedia describe the connection with Linux.

    Even an image-search turns up Linux:

  16. George Wilson wrote, “If they weren’t on the shelves with Linux, they would be on the shelves with something else.”

    No. That would cost more and be slower to market. Why would anyone want to reinvent the wheel if it delayed getting to market? Why would anyone want to produce a similar product at a higher price? That’s stupid.

    Innovating in the open

    Each member of the Open Handset Alliance is strongly committed to greater openness in the mobile ecosystem. Increased openness will enable everyone in our industry to innovate more rapidly and respond better to consumers’ demands. Our first joint project as a new Alliance is Android™. Android was built from the ground up with the explicit goal to be the first open, complete, and free platform created specifically for mobile devices.

    Making the vision a reality

    Android is not just a blueprint for the faraway future, but a complete platform that will give mobile operators, handset manufacturers, and developers everything they need to build innovative devices, software and services. We are committed to commercially deploy handsets and services using the Android Platform.”

    See Alliance

  17. George Wilson says:

    The smartphones exist because Linux exists. They would not be on retail shelves if Linux did not exist. Consumers would not buy them if Linux did not exist. Therefor consumers buy them because of Linux.

    B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T.

    Stop playing games.

    1. Smartphones are not on the shelves because of Linux. If they weren’t on the shelves with Linux, they would be on the shelves with something else.

    2. Consumers don’t buy smartphones because they’re Linux fans. Please, Pogson, for once back up your ludicrous claims with facts. Show me only one empirical study that confirms that consumers buy smartphones because they like Linux. 99.9% of all consumers don’t even know that these smartphones are running on top of the Linux kernel, just as these consumers didn’t know years ago, before the smartphone, which OS powered their Nokia mobile phone. But you want to claim otherwise. You want to claim that every student buying an Android smartphone knows about Linux.

    Time and time again you claim the same crap, time and time again you fail.

  18. bw wrote, “The OS software is a tiny part of the cost equation for a phone or tablet regardless of who makes it.”

    So, the $billions M$ rakes in for giving permission to copy their OS does not exist (SARCASM). M$’s licensing fee is huge. M$ was worried about it when PCs cost ~$1K. That’s why Wintel tried to make the Ultrabook popular, to hide that price. Side by side comparisons show the price is $50-$100 to the consumers. The value of an Android/Linux smartphone able to run hundreds of thousands of apps as well as the hardware is better than the value of Phoney7 doing the same and for less money.

  19. George Wilson, failing in logic, wrote, “No, just as you can’t claim that Linux is the reason why people buy smartphones with Android. It matters to you that people are buying Android smartphones because you can then claim they did it because of Linux. Sadly, it doesn’t matter to them which is why your argument is wrong.”

    The smartphones exist because Linux exists. They would not be on retail shelves if Linux did not exist. Consumers would not buy them if Linux did not exist. Therefor consumers buy them because of Linux. Consumers do buy what’s put on retail shelves. That’s why M$ and “partners” conspired to exclude GNU/Linux from retail shelves just as they tried to exclude Netscape from the web.

  20. bw says:

    “Price matters”

    Not really. It is perceived value that matters.

    The OS software is a tiny part of the cost equation for a phone or tablet regardless of who makes it. The various phones pretty much look the same and work the same way. Very cheap models are physically pretty cheesy and feel fairly clunky when used and the more expensive models are much smoother.

    When you are using an app on a droid, iPhone, iPad, or Win 8 phone, they all look the same, display the same information, and behave in the same way with gestures and flicks. Brands and models are differentiated from one another via proprietary elements.

    Apple makes most of the money in the mobile business regardless of their percentage of unit sales. They have successfully differentiated themselves as the standard of comparison for the mass market. The profits are going to Apple in a disproportionate way while everyone else, using Android, struggle to become the low cost producer (LCP – look it up).

    It is not much fun to be in that sort of fix, I think. I have seen it happen to company after company in various industries where I have worked and it always ends up in a bad place. Would you want to work at Wal-Mart? You might if you had a job at K-Mart or Sears, I guess, but that is a sorry sort to have to pick from.

    Apple has steadfastly held to doing their own stuff in order to keep every avenue available to them for product differentiation. They don’t say, “Buy me, I’m just as good as anyone else and cheap, too!”. They say “Buy me if you can afford it, I’m the best.” That has been working like a charm so far.

    It is all about public perception of the value. Call it stupid people or snobs or anything that soothes your ire, but the important thing in product selection for mobile devices is the image that people have of each. Apple needs no one to defend it. Android is something that users have to justify in their minds. There are others, but they are nothing more than niches anymore and will not matter much in the future business.

  21. George Wilson says:

    You can’t sell a device that doesn’t exist. Amen.

    No, just as you can’t claim that Linux is the reason why people buy smartphones with Android. It matters to you that people are buying Android smartphones because you can then claim they did it because of Linux. Sadly, it doesn’t matter to them which is why your argument is wrong.

    Just as wrong as your argument that Chromebooks are proof of Linux’s popularity. No, they’re proof of Google’s popularity. Linux doesn’t matter one bit to buyers of Chromebooks. There are only a handful of nerds who want to install a real Linux distribution on them.

    What else do you want to claim? That people buy TiVos because they are powered by Linux?

    You could claim with some conviction that the quality of these devices is directly related to the intrinsic quality of the Linux kernel. But that’s not the argument you present.

  22. George Wilson wrote, ” I don’t deem Linux to be the cause of Android smartphones selling like you. Mixing up cause and effect indeed, Pogson.”

    Then, you assume paying M$ a licensing fee for every smartphone would sell better than paying $0 for a free software licence. That doesn’t make sense. Price matters. Then there’s performance. An OEM can plunk a */Linux or Android/Linux system into any smart thingy made by the Open Handset Alliance and it will work. What would happen if some OEM tried to do that with M$’s OS? No drivers…

    So, the cost, complexity and time required to release a product is much less with Android/Linux too because Linux is underneath. Would Google have invested the additional time to develop another kernel with a licence they liked instead of the GPL? I doubt it. So, Android/Linux probably owes its existence to Linux. You can’t sell a device that doesn’t exist. Amen.

  23. George Wilson says:

    Don’t confuse cause and effects.

    Unlikely to happen, as I’m not you. I don’t deem Linux to be the cause of Android smartphones selling like you. Mixing up cause and effect indeed, Pogson.

  24. George Wilson wrote, “if you wanted to provide real information to your readers you would’ve found the time to mention why mobile devices are so popular in Kenya: because of micro payments being so popular.”

    Many emerging markets skip copper because it’s too expensive. Don’t confuse cause and effects.

  25. oiaohm says:

    George Wilson and one of the most common reasons for PC ownership in countries like Australia and the USA is online banking.

  26. George Wilson says:

    I assume intelligent life reads my posts.

    No, you assume (and wished that no one else than such) people read your posts who swallow your words whole instead of questioning you.

    By the way, if you wanted to provide real information to your readers you would’ve found the time to mention why mobile devices are so popular in Kenya: because of micro payments being so popular. Take also note that M-Pesa is based on the age-old technology of short messages. You don’t even need a smartphone for it.

  27. George Wilson, not being up on share of wireless going to M$, wrote, “Where is this mentioned in the article?”

    I assume intelligent life reads my posts. Everyone and his dog knows that M$ has a tiny share of wireless so the bulk of Kenya’s connectivity is through Android/Linux, iOS and whatever Nokia had there. As Kenya is an emerging market, they are price-sensitive and Android/Linux should fit well.

    For what it’s worth, Statcounter reports: “Series 40” – 36.57%, Android/Linux – 32.06%… M$ is down to “other”.

    Series 40 is Nokia’s own brew.

  28. PP says:

    @George Wilson

    “Move along, nothing to see here.”

    Pity you don’t heed your own advice.

  29. Mats Hagglund says:

    Microsoft-fanboy talking about FUD is a always a kind of bad joke.

  30. George Wilson says:

    Now Kenyans have the choice of small cheap computers running */Linux and are loving it. Wintel need not apply.

    Where is this mentioned in the article? Nowhere, of course. It’s Pogson spreading FUD, Pogson claiming small cheap computers are somehow a win for Linux, Pogson being Pogson.

    Move along, nothing to see here.

  31. Mats Hagglund says:

    And the greatest irony of the whole picture is that both Net Application and StatCounter are claiming some 88-89% for Windows.

    http://gs.statcounter.com/#os-KE-monthly-201302-201304-bar

    Mac OSX : 4,09%
    iOS: 2,36%
    Linux: 2,31%

    Perhaps this one is telling the more realistic picture of Kenya and network computing:

    http://gs.statcounter.com/#mobile_os-KE-monthly-201302-201304-bar

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