Intel Embraces Android as Windows Alternative

by Matt Klassen on November 25, 2013

For years now popular chip-maker Intel has dedicated itself largely to one client and one client only…Windows. But it looks like Microsoft’s ubiquitous operating system will soon be getting a little company in Intel’s world, as the chipmaker has announced its plans to dedicate itself to Android in the same way it has dedicated itself to Windows.

As Kirk Skaugen, general manager of the PC Client Group at Intel explains, “The reality is for the last decade we’ve been essentially 100 percent Microsoft on the client [but] we’re starting to see in emerging markets…demands for Android,” adding that Intel’s corporate strategy is simple, “we’re going to support what the market desires.”

Translation: Intel’s plan going forward is to get Android onto as many devices as possible. Not just mobile devices or tablets, but laptops and larger desktop systems, helping Android evolve from a mobile OS to a full-fledged computing platform.

“A lot of Android apps were written for a phone…in portrait mode,” Skaugen explained at a recent Intel investor meeting. “A significant percentage don’t even exist in landscape mode, so they can’t scale to large screens, whether it’s a notebook or an all-in-one. So, we’re going to do a number of things here. We’re going to scale Android to 64-bit. We’re going to allow it to scale from Atom [processors] all the way to the high-end of the Core processor family. We’re going…to enable it to deliver a great experience as we go into larger scale screens, allow multi-windowing.”

Simply put, Intel is going to make Android work a lot like Windows, with multi-windowing that goes beyond what Android currently offers (again, likely more like what Windows currently offers) and the platform will be designed to work not only on small mobile touchscreens, but on the significantly larger PC-sized screens that continue to populate homes and businesses the world over.

With Android horning in on traditional Windows territory the real question now becomes, does Google’s free open source operating system have a chance to evolve beyond its mobile roots and really take hold in the larger computing world? While I can’t dismiss the possibility out of hand, if Android is to present any competition a lot of things are going to have to happen first, not the least of which is to shore up Android’s seemingly inherent security flaws.

Further, I have to say that Android lacks a certain (how should I put it?)…respectability in the larger computing world, seen as a competent mobile platform certainly, but one whose popularity is derived more from its affordability and not its functionality.

Suffice it to say, while I sure there are some who wouldn’t mind one platform for everything, Android simply doesn’t have the computing chops to be able to compete with Windows, particularly for the needs of the enterprise sector, and while Intel likely wants to lessen its dependence on Microsoft’s popular platform, I would be surprised to see if Android turns out to be the right choice for an alternative.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. Follow by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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