Hybrid Laptops Running Android and Windows Will be Big in 2014
Every time a new year comes around, the tech industry pushes things forward to keep innovation pumping and industries alive. 2014 is going to see a change in how high-end laptops are marketed to consumers and what software they come with. In the last two to three years, the PC industry has been in decline thanks to more and more people opting for tablets, such as the iPad, instead of going for a laptop as they used to in the past. This new trend in consumer behavior has become a problem for the PC industry as laptop manufacturers such as HP have started to feel the pain where it hurts—in their bottom line.
Just what can the PC industry do to turn things around? Well, they can take a little inspiration from the mobile arena that’s swallowing it up and bring this together with traditional form factors, like laptops and PCs. We’ve seen this sort of thing before, but 2014 is going to be the year that Android and Windows are found in the same machines to help make PCs and laptops relevant again. Microsoft won’t be happy about it, but Google’s mobile OS is going to have to come along for the ride if PCs and Laptops are to survive. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why below.
Windows 8 is Still Struggling
Obviously, Microsoft was hoping that the mobile centric Windows 8 operating system would help curb the mass exodus to tablets like the iPad. However, a couple of years on and it’s nowhere near as favored as the Windows of old. Even with the changes in Windows 8.1, Microsoft’s OS is just not a hit. Certainly, hybrid devices that straddle the line between tablet and laptop have proven somewhat popular, but Windows 8 just doesn’t have the public appeal to push it forward.
As such, manufacturers have had to look elsewhere to sell laptops and PCs. They obviously can’t turn to iOS or Mac OS X so the next logical step would be Android. In 2013 – and even as early as 2012 – we saw huge 22-inch touchscreen monitors running Android and even Lenovo release an Android-powered laptop.
Android Has More Apps and Games That People Care About
One of the biggest reasons why Android will be able to sell more laptops and PCs is that it has far more apps that Windows 8 offers. The app selection on Windows 8 might not be as small as it is on Windows Phone, but it can’t hold a candle to the app selection on Android. The fact is that more of what people want is available on Android and if Windows 8 can’t offer the same sort of apps and games, then Android just has to come along for the ride.
Even though Microsoft has their Xbox branding, there still isn’t a great selection of games available from the Microsoft store, casual or otherwise. Meanwhile, even greats like EA are producing games for Android, and there’s such a wide selection on Google’s mobile OS, from racing games to wildlife simulators that there’s something for everyone.
Android Brings Google Services With It
Microsoft has always struggled when it comes to online services and their recent revamps don’t seem to be helping. Hotmail may now be called Outlook, but no matter what Microsoft tries, Gmail is still king. Google’s online services mean a lot to people all over the world these days, and yet Windows 8 pushes people to use Microsoft services instead. Often, the Microsoft alternatives offer very little to those who are already invested in Google services.
By including Android with Windows 8, manufacturers can offer consumers a clear and easy way to connect with their Google services without having to resort to finicky web solutions or figure out how to add the functionality to Windows itself.
Hybrid Designs are More Creative and Enticing
Let’s face it: for the last decade or so, the laptop has looked the same. A clamshell design of screen and keyboard, that’s it. Sure, adding a touchscreen makes things a little more exciting, but hybrid designs will take things much further. Unique designs like Lenovo’s Yoga would be great paired with Android, and ASUS is rumored to be pushing forward with hybrid designs in 2014 like nobody else.
More than anything, these hybrid designs are what will get people interested in laptops again, it’s something new and will generate buzz for the PC industry in general. Now that Windows can run on ARM-based mobile processors as well, super-thin laptops with no moving parts can start to hit the scene, and for all the shortcomings of Windows RT, Android can step up.
Over the next 12 months, we’re sure to see more interesting designs hit the scene. For laptop manufacturers to stay alive, they need to think outside of the box and make sure they’re ready to react to what consumers are thinking and, more importantly, what they’re likely to spend their money on.