Microsoft Should Be Worried: Android on Windows Gets Real with Intel & AMD
Sure, we've seen dual-booting Windows/Android hybrids before. But convergence just got real at CES, as both Intel and AMD confirmed plans to help PC makers shoehorn Android onto Windows devices.
Intel has confirmed that its processors will power PCs which can switch between Windows and Android with the press of a button, something it's calling Dual OS. AMD has announced a partnership with BlueStacks, a company which makes the BlueStacks App Player, an Android emulator for PC and Mac. AMD's newest processors will include an ARM chip, so there won't be any need for emulation, Android apps can run natively on the ARM chip while inside of Windows.
Windows 8 has been facing a hard time since its launch in 2012. In April of last year, IDC released a report which blamed Windows 8 for a worldwide 13.9% plunge in PC shipments, saying that “...the Windows 8 launch not only failed to provide a positive boost to the PC market, but appears to have slowed the market.” In the middle of 2013, Microsoft had to take a US$900 million write-down on its Surface RT tablets, and nobody except Microsoft is still making Windows RT tablets today.
Net Applications recently released a report which showed that Windows 8 finally achieved 10% of total PC installs in December of 2013, which is 11.6% of all Windows users (Net Applications track web surfing usage, not actual sales, so the numbers need to be taken with a pinch of salt). Computer World points out that Windows 8 adoption has lagged behind Windows 7's, 14 months after its debut Windows 7 was installed on 23.1% of all Windows PCs, double that of Windows 8's.
All signs point to slow Windows 8 adoption, which means slow sales of new machines. It's getting clearer that manufacturers are turning to dual-booting Android as a way to ignite sales of their devices, now Intel and AMD are going to help them get there. Where once Windows was the unquestioned king of all OSes on any platform, that dominance is looking shakier by the minute.