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Operating Systems Android Windows

PC Plus Packs Windows and Android Into Same Machine 319

Posted by timothy
from the or-splashtop-plus-if-you'd-prefer dept.
jones_supa writes "At the mammoth Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in early January, it is expected that multiple computer makers will unveil systems that simultaneously run two different operating systems, both Windows and Android, two different analysts said recently. The new devices will introduce a new marketing buzzword called PC Plus, explained Tim Bajarin of Creative Strategies. 'A PC Plus machine will run Windows 8.1 but will also run Android apps as well', Bajarin wrote recently for Time. 'They are doing this through software emulation. I'm not sure what kind of performance you can expect, but this is their way to try and bring more touch-based apps to the Windows ecosystem.' Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, suggests that PC Plus could get millions of consumers more comfortable with Android on PCs. 'Just imagine for a second what happens when Android gets an improved large-screen experience. This should scare the heck out of Microsoft.'"
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PC Plus Packs Windows and Android Into Same Machine

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 29, 2013 @09:05PM (#45815237)

    http://tech.slashdot.org/story/13/12/27/2027222/pc-makers-plan-rebellion-against-microsoft-at-ces?sbsrc=md

    • Dual Posting Dual Booting, so meta.

      I'll say the same thing as before,"If this goes over, they might throw in a Linux boot too." Say what you want about Windows, it still can get viruses easily, while Linux is a more secure browsing experience.
    • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Sunday December 29, 2013 @09:14PM (#45815315) Homepage

      That story got 538 replies. Why not try for another heavy hitter? It's a good business strategy.

      Help Dice out folks, copy your last comments into this story.

      • Sure why not. Here was my last comment minus the revolt stuff. Hopefully We get a few more of these articles. The .NET Firefox plugin [slashdot.org] dupes needs some competition.

        Adding android on an OS that's already got a Tablet interface is akin of adding spinner rimmed wheels to the hood of a car because people don't like standard rims. It's Basically Splashtop OS for 2014. It doesn't solve any problem, hell it probably makes it worse since Android isn't exactly designed for desktop use either

        • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Sunday December 29, 2013 @10:19PM (#45815683)

          Yeah, I'm kinda reading this as something along the lines of...

          Exec: So, based on the Ouya's wild success since its launch...
          *crickets*
          Exec: ...we'e decided Android has proven it can work outside of mobile devices and that it's time to implement an entire PC around it. And since people love dual booting...
          *crickets*
          Exec: ...we expect it to be a smashing success!

          This product idea is basically a shot across the bow to Microsoft from the hardware manufacturers, telling MS that they're actively looking for alternatives and that MS had better do something about it. But they're not as clueless as the executive I painted above. They know that this product will flop, because normal people don't want to deal with wondering why they can't use their app unless they reboot or why their data isn't accessible from where they are, and the decision makers know that Android is not ready to be run as a desktop OS.

          I predict that we'll only see a handful, if even that, of these come to market, and that most will be killed before they ever get close to launching, since it isn't about selling them: it's about sending a message to Microsoft.

          • Staying with my original theme of copying my old post...

            If they were serious about a revolt, or serious about sending a message to MS, they should go to CES with all of their PC's running Windows 7 / Full Featured Linux / ChromeOS, ETC... or nothing but Android Tablets.

          • by roc97007 (608802)

            The thing is, if they were serious about "a shot across Microsoft's bow", they'd actually have the machines dual boot into Android. They don't do that. They only run Windows 8. (Read the article!)

      • by sootman (158191) on Sunday December 29, 2013 @10:38PM (#45815795) Homepage Journal

        > copy your last comments into this story.

        My comments? Fuck that. I'm stealing some +5s from that thread.

    • by Chalnoth (1334923)
      Hey, at least it's a better description this time.
  • by CockMonster (886033) on Sunday December 29, 2013 @09:06PM (#45815249)
    1366x768 just doesn't cut it, no matter how many OSes you stick on it.
    • 1366x768 just doesn't cut it, no matter how many OSes you stick on it.

      You know it is sad when a freaking phone has 2x - 3x the fucking DPI as your expensive computer.

      Then these manufacturers act all shocked that the PC market is dying. Whoa how could that be?!

      It is turning into the mainframe fast. Used for legacy as the cooler innovations are all going to the smaller and lower end devices. Mainframe admins were always thumbing their noses at the pc crowd until we had color screens and cdroms. Then their platform looked quite dated and the rest was history.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dreamchaser (49529)

        The PC market is hardly dying. That's a tired old trope by now. They said the same thing about mainframes. Guess what? People still buy them. The landscape is changing for sure, but the PC market is not even close to 'dying'.

        • In the business world it is dying. 10% year after year of sales declines is the very definition of dying and something investors flee running from.

          We still sell candles too and horses you know. Doesn't mean you want to invest in a candle startup either. It also does not give business customers the confidence of buying either. Sure they need their win32 craplets but in a few years of more declines they will wonder if it is wiser investment to go to a cloud and host them with Citrix via tablets instead as th

          • Sure they need their win32 craplets but in a few years of more declines they will wonder if it is wiser investment to go to a cloud and host them with Citrix via tablets instead as this is what everyone else is doing etc.

            Until they see the $500-$600 per year price tag for the mobile broadband plan needed to use an application while on the road. Running applications on a leased server can replace a desktop a lot more easily than a laptop.

            • Sure they need their win32 craplets but in a few years of more declines they will wonder if it is wiser investment to go to a cloud and host them with Citrix via tablets instead as this is what everyone else is doing etc.

              Until they see the $500-$600 per year price tag for the mobile broadband plan needed to use an application while on the road. Running applications on a leased server can replace a desktop a lot more easily than a laptop.

              You also got to figure out in accountants who look at short term costs only as well as IT expense.

              You can save millions if you have no IT department and no CIO! Just turn it on and it works! Azure will grow into a managed active directory just like they do right now with outlook.com which is part of office 365. The market is heading this way as business people do not want to deal with technology. Do MBAs of factories want to deal with mechanics? After all without them how can they ship their products etc? I

          • by msobkow (48369) on Sunday December 29, 2013 @11:15PM (#45815905) Homepage Journal

            The reason the business market is "dying" is that the hardware itself has been more than capable of dealing with business tasks for years. With central OS updates by the business, they're all running Windows 7, regardless of what was running on them when purchased. So those "old" machines are perfectly serviceable for the business, and the businesses are not upgrading and replacing them nearly as often as they used to.

            The same issue is hitting the home consumer market. Just how much raw CPU do you think it requires to run Word, email, a browser, and watch a video? That's all most home users do. Very, very few of the machines sold are gaming machines, and even fewer are used for CPU intensive tasks like video processing or encoding.

            Bottom line: People don't need new machines. So instead of buying a new PC, they're buying toys like tablets and the latest whizz-bang cell phones. If the old PC ever dies, then they'll replace it. And join the crowd in bitching about Windows 8.

        • by tepples (727027)
          So where can I get a new 10" laptop to replace mine when it dies? Oh wait, the major PC makers killed that category a year ago [slashdot.org] in favor of higher-margin tablets.
        • by vlueboy (1799360)

          The PC market is hardly dying. That's a tired old trope by now. They said the same thing about mainframes. Guess what? People still buy them. The landscape is changing for sure, but the PC market is not even close to 'dying'.

          It's not the OS or hardware that matters. It is traffic, because visitors are targets ripe for advertising.

          Mobile numbers will eventually be half of traffic on some sites. They're already 25 to 30% in some (FB, for instance). Marketers are the same guys known to benefit from abysmally small fractions for their thousands of ad impressions. They must be pretty sensitive to small percentages and fractions of a percent. So again, 25 or 30%? When your ads CANNOT spew flash at one in four or five visitors, you ha

  • by codeusirae (3036835) on Sunday December 29, 2013 @09:07PM (#45815253)
    'They are doing this through software emulation. I'm not sure what kind of performance you can expect, but this is their way to try and bring more touch-based apps to the Windows ecosystem.'

    More likely a pretext to extend the Microsoft Tax [theverge.com] ..
  • by mlts (1038732) on Sunday December 29, 2013 @09:08PM (#45815263)

    One of the biggest causes of malware are attacks on the Web browser and its add-ons. Android is a lot more secure in this regard, so having the ability to browse the Web with the code executing well away from the Windows side will be a very useful security gain.

    It won't stop Trojans, but it will help address one major vector for infections.

    I'd buy one of these "PC Pluses" just because I do know that the Android side will almost always be usable. I won't be able to do the advanced workflow or run the usual applications and games as I do on Windows, but for a number of tasks, the Android side will be good enough. Plus, with root, it can serve as a way to offload some UNIX functions such as a caching DNS, squid cache, etc.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Be careful. If you say too much everyone might realize that you have no idea what you are talking about.

      • by mlts (1038732)

        You might just be right. I overlooked the part about the "software emulation".

        If it worked just like the Atrix phones where it ran Android and a Linux distro at the same time on different CPUs, that is one thing.

        Running Android in a VM might be workable, but that isn't that much better than using VirtualBox or one's VM application of choice and running their favorite OS inside of that. A VM is better because when done with browsing and assuming one has a way to save bookmarks, a snapshot rollback is a goo

        • by tepples (727027)

          Since this is software emulation, does this means that the "PC Plus" machines have a built in hypervisor?

          Heck, it could just be Android/x86 in a customized VirtualBox.

    • by smash (1351)
      On the contrary, it ADDS a second vector for malware to the machine.
  • Is this going to require new hardware?
    Or will this be purely software based?

  • really another dupe, and they still didn't fix the technical mistakes. i.e. it is one OS (windows) Android apps are being emulated in the OS. and same as last article, NO this isn't going to scare MS, probably more scary for Google as it removes the need to run android to use android apps.
  • Without Google certification and play services it will be an uphill battle for traction with a reduced pool of compatible apps. Even amazon has to work hard to make APIs that duplicate googles closed source ones.
  • by 50000BTU_barbecue (588132) on Sunday December 29, 2013 @09:16PM (#45815327) Homepage Journal
    Bridgeboard on my Amiga, 20 years ago.
    • Still have my Emplant board in my A2000 - runs Windows 3.x, DOS 6, MAC 7.1 - yeah they are old - but the concept of running multiple OS's simultaneously isn't anything new... Yawn.....

      • I remember the Zenith Z-100 [wikipedia.org] had dual processors, but I don't recall if you could get them going simultaneously. There were ISA cards for PCs (one of them was the Baby Blue card [trailing-edge.com]) that allowed CP/M to run on a PC.

        Of course, the IBM mainframes running VM ran multiple OSes. Definitely not a new idea.

  • by kheldan (1460303) on Sunday December 29, 2013 @09:19PM (#45815339) Journal
    So you run Android in a VM inside Windows. So what? This isn't a new trick, and it's not newsworthy either. It smacks of shameless shilling. Seriously, nothing to see here, move along..
    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      Is it even useful? What sort of android apps exist that you'd want to have on a PC, that don't exist as a standalone web site? That's one fault with Windows 8, the "apps" are kind of pointless.

      • What sort of android apps exist that you'd want to have on a PC, that don't exist as a standalone web site?

        Video games, for one. Several games are ported to Android but aren't available for desktop operating systems. Another is check deposit applications published by banks such as Chase that use the device's rear-facing camera to scan the front and back of a paper check. I called Chase and asked about a PC version of Chase QuickDeposit, but the representative told me there was no PC version.

        • by adolf (21054)

          What is this [chase.com]?

          • From the page you linked: "Monthly Charge: $25 per month". This means Chase charges $300 per year to rent the PC scanning machine, compared to $0 per year for the Android version that uses a device's existing rear-facing camera. So maybe I misled by claiming "there was no PC version", but this PC version doesn't appear intended for home use by someone who owns a webcam or flatbed scanner.

            Is this something to switch banks over?

  • Dude! You just posted this same thing yesterday!

    Or they paid for two /vertisements?
  • by thegarbz (1787294) on Sunday December 29, 2013 @09:23PM (#45815379)

    Has anyone else taken a skeptical view of the word "experience"? I don't want to "experience" a computer. I just want a functional computer that works.

    'Just imagine for a second what happens when Android gets an improved large-screen experience.'

    I don't need to imagine much. When you use any system for something its not designed for the only thing that it will experience is its own demise.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 29, 2013 @09:24PM (#45815381)

    This wont really work. It tries oh so very hard to have the PC do what the market wants tablets and phones to do. This is not the direction the PC market needs to chase.

    The role of the PC is changing; It has competition in the market, because tablets and phones are reasonably powerful, and ultraportable.
    For casual data consumption and small-scale gameplay (casual games and such) the PC has basically lost out. It needs to remember what it actually is: a consumer version of big iron. (Like it or not, the differences between a small server and a desktop PC are academic for the most part.) You dont carry big iron in your pocket. Big iron is for storing large quantities of data on, Big iron is for doing grunt processing that smaller, more dedicated devices are not suited to. Big iron is intended to provide services to a small fleet of lesser connected devices.

    What do people use their home PC for these days, exactly (ordinary people, mind)--? They use them to download and store large archives of digital music and movies. They use them to preserve their digital photo collections when their phones get too full. They use them to manipulate data and files that arent well suited to processing on a mobile device. (writing wordprocessing documents, managing spreadsheets, etc.)

    What do people do on tablets and phones? Basically anything else.

    With that in mind, what kind of crack are these people smoking, to think that they can make a device that requires 120vAC constant power, and weighs 10lbs, needs a seperate discrete viewing hardware appliance, and bulky keyboard and mouse inputs-- be in any way comparable or desirable for software that is intended to be used on devices that weigh less than a pound, run on a 300mAh battery for hours, and have everything all together conveniently, and portably?

    PC makers should understand that there are now 2 very different markets. The tablet/phone space, and the home server market, where PCs still sell.

    If the home server marketplace isnt lucrative enough, then instead of wasting precious resources on boondoggles like this, they should be encouraging app store gatekeepers like Apple and Google to allow apps that are basically a front end for a network service running on a home server in the user's home, over the public IP network. (Oh, but that would make the ISPs so very sad, wouldnt it?) That would allow the raw torque of a home PC to be better utilized, a home internet connection to be better utilized, bring functionality not realistically possible to the tablet/phone space, and keep everyone mostly happy.

    Instead, you have gatekeepers like Apple and Google wanting to cement their exclusivity as gatekeepers by preventing competing server services from being run exclusively for and by the end user, since that would cut into services like google's cloud storage platform, Chrome OS paradigm, and pals. This is because if they remain the gatekeepers, they get to hoover up all the delicious user profile information and use pattern data about that user, and sell it to advertisers and market analysts. (If the end users ran their own instances of a service on their own platforms and hardware, it would make doing that basically impossible to guarantee.)

    But, because this is just another attempt by a market segment who's business model has shriveled up in the winds of change at resisting that change, I fully expect it to fail like the boondoggle that it is.

    PCs will always have their uses; Fancy touch interfaces and pretending to be a big bulky tablet simply isnt the use that the market has chosen for them. Given the availability of superior offerings in the ACTUAL tablet space, this is NOT going to win anyone over except perhaps corporate idiots who respond only to buzzwords.

    • For casual data consumption and small-scale gameplay (casual games and such) the PC has basically lost out [to tablets].

      Both my Dell Inspiron mini 1012 laptop (running Xubuntu) and my first-generation Nexus 7 tablet (running Android) have 1 GB of RAM. The Firefox web browser on the laptop keeps a dozen tabs in memory at once without dipping into swap, partly thanks to my use of the Flashblock extension. I can load all of a day's Cracked articles in tabs, board the bus, and read them on the commute to and from work. Both Chrome and Firefox web browsers on the tablet, on the other hand, will forget a tab when I switch away from it and have to reload. Because I'm not willing to pay another $500-$600 per device per year for mobile broadband on top of what I already pay for Internet at home, the tablet will end up displaying an error message "You are offline" when I switch back to a tab.

      And as for gameplay, point-and-click games work well, but other genres don't. I've tried to play platform games (similar to Super Mario Bros. and Mega Man) on a tablet's touch screen, and it's painful.

      [Ordinary people] use [a home PC] to manipulate data and files that arent well suited to processing on a mobile device. (writing wordprocessing documents, managing spreadsheets, etc.)

      Where "etc." could include running a compiler for a high school or college student's "introduction to computer science" homework. This is something that tablets have traditionally been lacking, even when docked to a Bluetooth keyboard.

      [PC makers] should be encouraging app store gatekeepers like Apple and Google to allow apps that are basically a front end for a network service running on a home server in the user's home

      There are already plenty of remote desktop viewer applications for mobile devices. SSH, X11, RDP, VNC, take your pick. One problem is that using them requires paying $500-$600 per device per year for mobile broadband on top of what the user already pays for Internet at home. The other is that for any service running on a home server, once you've added a Bluetooth keyboard and a stand to hold the tablet, you might as well be using a small laptop.

  • by LoRdTAW (99712) on Sunday December 29, 2013 @09:29PM (#45815411)

    One word: Bluestacks. Not open source but is freely available and already does what TFA is claiming major manufactures are going to do. I have owned my PCplus for about a year already. No touch screen though but the mouse works pretty good. If you have a touch screen laptop then you already own a PCplus.

  • I think this might help Microsoft too. If they can pull it off with a great user experience, people will be getting Windows to run both Windows software that they use (such as MS Office, and other corporate software) and run parallel Android apps for their personal stuff. This will be great in sandboxing the work and personal stuff in a computer. People will appreciative of the Windows environment because it can run whatever apps they like. It might also increase the adaptation of Windows (especially ve

  • Windroy? [socketeq.com]

  • by strstr (539330) on Sunday December 29, 2013 @10:09PM (#45815645)

    Most Andriod apps are not native ARM apps, but Java / bytecode which run in a virtual machine called davlik. Port that to Windows / x64, and suddenly all the Android apps run in Windows. The Android environment itself could be emulated in Windows or tied to replacement functions like the Windows desktop in the new platform (instead of a phone/tablet interface).

    Windows is POSIX compliant and supports Unix if they chose the route of emulating unix functions, or they could build their own environment like cygwin/etc. It doesn't need this, but some apps might need something like it if it exposed the underlying unix features. It depends on how they wanted to implment it, cause it could also just wrap over to the Windows environment..

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalvik_(software) [wikipedia.org]

  • by Animats (122034) on Sunday December 29, 2013 @10:58PM (#45815853) Homepage

    Maybe we just need a Android app that lets you run Windows applications. You know, for those times you need to run some ancient CRM app from the corporate network on your tablet. That's probably more useful than the other way round.

    • Yeah I think a nice, supported linux distro that has a stock guest vm install of Windows on it would scare Microsoft shitless. Although, they would probably veto that setup.

  • It's like being anally raped, AND choked to death at the same time!

  • This is a dupe of an article posted last week. It even points to the same news article.

    These systems do not "simultaneously run two operating systems". They run Windows 8 and only Windows 8. They also include an API to allow them to run some Android applications on Windows 8. That's all. Creating nifty new buzzwords, creating rumors that this is some kind of rebellion against Microsoft or any other buzzcrap doesn't change that basic fact.

    Again, it's a Windows 8 machine that will also run some Android a

  • Sounds like they've built an Android API implementation library for Windows ... i.e., Windows-based Wine for Android.

    It'd actually be interesting to see if the tech involved was open and cross-platform, so we could port it to Linux.
  • by daboochmeister (914039) <daboochmeister.gmail@com> on Monday December 30, 2013 @12:45AM (#45816195)
    TFA itself links to a better FA at: http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9244953/Microsoft_to_face_computer_makers_rebellion_at_CES [computerworld.com]

    This original source article includes a discussion of the architecture involved - and the person they interviewed admits he hasn't seen it in action, and has no idea how it works. He suggests it could be one of three approaches - dual boot, an Android API within Windows (somewhat akin to Bluestacks), or a VM running within Windows. I would add a fourth - a hypervisor, permitting both OSes to run concurrently as VMs - though that seems unlikely, as it would require the OEMs to license Windows differently, as I understand it.

    Interesting times. I agree with the commenters who say MS should be afraid of this - Google has taken its sweet time maturing Android into a desktop-supporting experience, but it's close, and "Android PCs" are already in the pipeline to take advantage of it. Any familiarization for the "unwashed masses" with what it feels like to simply run Android as your laptop/desktop OS has to be viewed by MS as, well, "crossing the streams" bad.
  • With the Win8 mobile phone screen style interface they were really just setting the scene for people to say "if it has to be like a phone then why not like one that I'm already used to."

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