Android alters all: Now the PC?

The new PC may be a laptop running Android. Far-fetched? Not if HP is doing it.

HP's Android-based SlateBook x2. A Google OS laptop may not be that radical in an Android-centric mobile world.
HP's Android-based SlateBook x2. A Google OS laptop may not be that radical in an Android-centric mobile world. Hewlett-Packard

The Android laptop is coming. Does that mean more market-share pain for Windows PCs?

Hewlett-Packard's upcoming notebook offerings speak for themselves. For $480, there's the SlateBook x2 Android "notebook". At $800, we have the Windows 8-based Split x2.

For me, the choice gets easier every time I pick up the Nexus 10 tablet that I've been using for the last month. In other words, if I'm spending about 50 percent of my time -- and doing limited-productivity stuff -- on the Nexus 10, it's not a giant leap to an Android laptop.

Nor is it a leap in the broader mobile space where Android rules. Combine Android ubiquity with the deep discount consumers get with one of these lappies -- compared with the Windows variety -- and it's an even smaller step.

And it's not just Android. Samsung's $250 Chromebook is consistently ranked as a best seller on Amazon.

Yeah, there's still opportunity for Windows 8/8.1 PCs. I expect a raft of relatively cheap Windows laptops and hybrids when Intel's Silvermont chip hits later this year. So you might see, for instance, a future version of the HP Envy x2 priced below $600 running a quad-core Slivermont.

But as I've said before, market dynamics in the mobile space favor Android. Just ask HP.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.


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