Monday, July 1, 2013

Android invades desktop

Android invades the desktop

Microsoft has spent a lot of time and accomplishment aggravating to get Windows assimilate smartphones and tablets--so far afterwards a accomplished lot to appearance for it. Now several PC companies are aggravating the adverse approach, demography the Android operating arrangement and porting it to PCs.

The latest archetype is HP’s Slate 21, which looks like a accepted all-in-one PC with a 21.5-inch (1920x1080) IPS touchscreen, but has the specs of a book including Nvidia’s Tegra 4 quad-core processor and Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. HP says it has included several appearance to accomplish Android assignment bigger on the desktop including abutment for up to bristles Google profiles, drivers for USB peripherals and a software arranged that includes Splashtop for active Windows apps and a abundance apartment (Kingsoft Office). The Slate 21 has alone 8GB of storage, but there is an SD agenda aperture for amplification and HP says USB beam drives and alien adamantine drives will additionally work. It will be accessible starting in September for $400. (My colleague, Sean Portnoy, covered the Slate 21 advertisement here.)

Acer is already affairs a agnate product, additionally with a 21.5-inch 1920x1080 touchscreen, but they are business it added as a adviser that additionally happens to run Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). The DA220HQL has a Texas Instruments’ OMAP 4430 dual-core processor, 1GB of memory, 8GB of storage, congenital Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and micro-HDMI, micro-USB, and a wireless keyboard and mouse.

Last anniversary Samsung appear the ATIV Q, a convertible with several abnormal features. First, it has a 13.3-inch affectation with a QHD resolution (3,200 by 1,800 pixels). Second, it runs both Windows 8 and Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. Finally, with its sliding articulation you can use the ATIV Q as book or ultraportable laptop, or cast the awning over to use it in a angle approach like a agenda photo anatomy or carriageable DVD player. (Samsung is additionally casting a “float” approach area the affectation hovers aloft the abject and keyboard—much like the Acer Aspire R7 with its “ezel” hinge—but I’m not abiding this approach will be actual practical.) One absorbing affection lets you pin Android apps assimilate the Windows 8 Start awning so that you can bound barrage them. The ATIV Q will appear with a fourth-generation Core-i5 (Haswell) processor, 4GB of anamnesis and a 128GB SSD, but Samsung hasn’t appear availability or appraisement yet.

At Computex, Asus appear the Transformer Book Trio, which as the name implies is meant to assignment as tablet, laptop and desktop. On its own the 11.6-inch (1920x1080) slate has a 2.0GHz Atom Z2580 processor (Clover Trail+), 2GB of memory, and 64GB of accumulator and runs Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean). Back it is affiliated to the PC Abject keyboard dock, it functions as a laptop that can run either Windows 8 or Android. Finally the PC Station, which has a fourth-generation Core i7 (Haswell) processor and 750GB of storage, can be absorbed up to an alien affectation to use as a Windows 8 desktop. The Transformer Book Trio will be accessible in the third division but Asus has not appear pricing.

Asus already sells a Transformer AiO (All-in-One) that combines an 18.4-inch Full HD book that runs Android 4.1 Jellybean with a PC advancing abject that runs Windows 8. The book is able with a Tegra 3 quad-core processor, 2GB of anamnesis and 32GB of storage. The PC Abject has a Core i5-3350P processor (Ivy Bridge), 4GB of anamnesis and a 1TB adamantine drive (expandable to 2TB). You can additionally attach an alien adviser to the abject station. Back the book is in the PC Abject you can about-face aback and alternating amid Android and Windows by hitting a dejected button on the appropriate ancillary of the tablet. Back you abstract the tablet, the PC Abject can wirelessly beck Windows 8 to the book application the Splashtop alien admission software. CNET’s Rich Brown advised the Transformer AiO, which starts at about $1,300.

The abstraction of an Android all-in-one or amalgam PC sounds a bit aberrant at first, abnormally back you accede that Google has a abstracted Chrome OS advised accurately for computers. But it makes some faculty in assertive situations. There was a time back x86 Windows affinity was all that mattered, but the adaptable anarchy has addled that on its head—at atomic for consumers. Users now demand the aforementioned Android or iOS apps and amateur on all their devices. And the billow makes it accessible to admission your files and agreeable from any device. Microsoft’s plan, of course, is to bout this ecosystem in Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. But that’s not the case today.

I’m not assertive that an Android-only all-in-one or desktop makes abundant sense. And if you artlessly demand a additional accessory for admission to Google services, a $199 Chromebook will do the job absolutely nicely. But a amalgam Windows 8 arrangement that doubles as a ample Android tablet, which you can backpack about the abode to break in blow online, watch movies or comedy games, isn’t such a crazy abstraction afterwards all.

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