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Is Android finally a viable alternative as a desktop OS?

I read a post a couple of weeks ago by a fellow member of a LinkedIN group who was asking  “Can Android replace Windows on the Desktop?” (Thanks for posting Alex) to which I replied no.  I was then asked the same question by a client last week which made me reassess my answer.


To fully answer the question I decided to have a look at what hardware was available at the moment. After a quick google search I came across the new HP Slate 21 Pro and the new Lenovo N308.  The Lenovo is more home orientated while the HP is aimed straight at the business user.  Looking at these two offerings I am beginning to understand why people (and maybe small businesses) might be taking the Android on the desktop seriously.

Android is king (at the moment) of the smartphone wars.  It is very intuitive to use and you can get an app for almost anything through Google Play.  In the home people are switching from the more traditional laptop and PC to tablets and smartphones and most of these run Android.  It would not be a huge leap to start running an Android PC in the workplace as chances are the user would be already familiar with the interface.  Bring Your Own device (BYOD) is alive and well in the business world so a user wanting to work on an Android device is a real possibility.

Now it does all depend on what you do on a daily basis.  If you spend most of your time using web based applications and emails then an Android device could well be the device of choice (or even a Chromebook?), however if you spend all day using Microsoft Office to produce documents and spreadsheets then maybe Android wont do (Office wont run on Android for example).  There are alternatives like Office 365 which is web based and Kingsoft Office which can produce documents just fine but they aren’t “traditional Office” and to some people that is all that matters.

Then there is the little matter of printing.  Printing from a laptop or PC is a doddle but on an Android device it can be a bit cumbersome.  Saying that HP have a cracking app called HP ePrint which allows you to print to any HP wireless printer but not all printer manufacturers provide Android printing support (please correct me if I am wrong).

Another thing to think about is the hold that Microsoft has at the moment in the business space.  To the best of my knowledge Android and Active Directory are not the best of friends and don’t play nicely.  You can administer Active Directory from an Android device but it doesn’t work the other way.  If your IT infrastructure includes Active Directory then this might be a game stopper.

So what is the answer to the question “Is Android finally a viable alternative as a desktop OS?”

The answer is yes it is, however saying that it may not be the best OS for your current working environment.

 About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to both business and personal clients in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

Is Android becoming the new Windows?


At the moment in the smartphone market Android is king.  It is currently the most used operating system by some margin and most analysts expect this to continue.  In some ways this resembles the rise of Microsoft Windows in the early nineties and like Windows Android’s popularity is coming with a big price tag – viruses.  If you don’t believe me then check out the shear number of antivirus providers who are offering apps for Android.

Viruses on a smartphone? Yes you can get viruses on a smartphone just as easily as you can get viruses on Windows and usually it is down to the user.  Let me explain.  A lot of Windows users will go online looking for a specific package and just download it without really caring about where they get it from.  It just so happens that when they download their package “added goodies” will be attached and downloaded too.

It is the same with Android. As Android has gained in popularity so these same users are using the same tactic to download their apps.  If you use Google’s Play Store then you can generally be satisfied that the app you are downloading is free from viruses as Google does check all the apps in the store.  Apple also does this with the App Store but they are generally more rigorous than Google hence the low level of viruses on iOS.  But what about apps outside the Play Store?  Here you are own your own.  Some of the websites will be legitimate and you will have no problems while others will not be.  It is a minefield waiting for you to trip up.

So what should you do? You could swap to another operating system (iOS, Windows Phone or Blackberry etc).  You should only get your apps through the Play Store which minimises the threat but most importantly get yourself some decent antivirus for your phone.  As said earlier there are plenty of antivirus companies providing Android apps.

So do you have an Android phone? Are you worried about viruses? Let me know!!

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

What next for Microsoft?


Windows RT is dead, maybe not literally but not far off it.  It was Microsoft’s attempt to take on iOS and Android on consumer tablets and to say it didn’t catch on is an understatement (I did try it once and thought it was pretty good).   It was designed to run apps from the Windows Store in the same way that Android and IOS devices do and for some reason consmuers just didn’t get it (bad marketing perhaps?). They also called it Windows which was a bad idea as Windows is synonymous with PC’s and people expected to run their full Windows applications on it.  When they couldn’t Microsoft got a huge backlash but Windows RT was never designed with that in mind.  With Windows RT now going the way of the dodo what next for Microsoft?

At the moment Microsoft doesn’t have a viable option in the consumer tablet market (7 and 10 inch tablets) and this could hurt them in the long run.   The full version of Windows 8 is not a viable option as it is designed to run on hardware much more powerful than a 7 inch tablet. They could go down the route of adapting Windows Phone 8 to run on a tablet which would be a much better option.  Using Windows Phone 8 would also give them the advantage of no misunderstanding with the consumer on what software could be run on the tablet.

But the bigger problem for Microsoft could be the connection between the PC and Windows. PC sales are plummeting and with it Microsoft’s profits will also start to fall.  The PC will not disappear altogether as businesses will still be using them, however in the consumer market they are getting replaced by tablets and smartphones.  If they want to stay relevant in the consumer market they need to come up with a solution for the post PC era and quickly.  At the moment think tablets and you think of iPads and Android.  Windows is not even on the radar.

Do you agree or disagree? Let me know!!

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire.

For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more!!

 

Is there a place for a third mobile operating system?


Third place.  Usually people and companies want to be first and not third but in the mobile industry third place, behind both Android and Apple, is what a lot of companies (inc both Blackberry and Microsoft) are aiming for.

At the moment ‘the big two’ have almost all of the market share between them (about 91% at present) but a lot of the carriers would like a viable third option so they are less reliant on selling Android and Apple Devices.  But what about consumers, do they really care?  I would hazard a guess and say no and I shall explain why.

Most businesses use Microsoft Office in the workplace because they are used to it and more importantly they need Outlook.  If you suggested to them they could switch to a new piece of software that did exactly the same as Office they would probably say no.  They would be so used to using Office on a daily basis that the thought of learning something else would not be very appealing.  It is the same with mobile phones.  If you have gone out and purchased an Android phone, and all the apps you require, you are not going to want to switch over to Windows Phone, Apple or Blackberry and basically start from scratch again (even if the same apps are available).  Humans are creatures of habit and once we get set in our ways it takes a lot for us to change.

This then is the biggest problem facing anyone who wants to be the ‘third mobile operating system’.  There are some good options (Firefox OS, Ubuntu Touch, Windows Phone and Blackberry to name a few) but unless they capture the publics imagination, and secure the backing of the carriers, they are going to fail.

This is just my take on ‘the third OS question’ but you might have a different view and if so please let me know!!

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients throughout Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire.

For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more!!

 

 

 

No BB10 on Blackberry Playbook – why this is a good decision and also a bad one


I love my Blackberry Playbook as most people know. It has almost everything I need in a tablet and complements my other devices rather nicely.  The only thing I would like is for it to be upgraded to Blackberry 10. Well that is now not going to happen.

Last week Blackberry announced that the Playbook was not going to get an update to Blackberry 10. I am disappointed by this but I can fully understand why.  On a purely technical level if the Playbook can’t run the software to a level which the customer would be happy with then don’t update it.  The software that the Playbook already has is plenty good enough for what most people need.

On the other hand Blackberry has effectively killed the Playbook off.  For months they promised customers that Blackberry 10 was coming and even continued to sell the remaining tablets which a lot of people bought on the premise of getting the new software.  To then turn around and tell those same customers “sorry you aren’t getting it” leaves a very bad taste.  This is not how you do customer service.

What is also a bigger problem is that Blackberry don’t intend to build a new tablet around Blackberry 10. In an age where every major manufacturer is making a tablet of some sort for Blackberry to say we aren’t bothering is a mistake.  I am seeing more and more iPads and Android tablets entering the business environment and what people want is a tablet which plays nicely with their smartphone.  If Blackberry don’t make a tablet then people are going to switch to either Android or iOS to get this compatibility and by default they will lose market share.  Blackberry 10 on a tablet would be fantastic but I wouldn’t hold my breath on seeing one anytime soon.

On a purely personal note my Blackberry Bold 9780 and my Playbook get along just fine. My calendar syncs between the two, so do my emails and Blackberry Bridge is fantastic. But my phone contract is up in November and by then my Playbook will be over 3 years old. With no updated tablet on the horizon I am tempted to switch to Android purely on the basis of that compatibility of software across all my devices.  I love my Playbook but it might be goodbye Blackberry and a lot of people might soon be doing the same thing.

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire.

For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more!!

 

 

How to stop kids running up huge bills on your smartphone

I was speaking to my wife this week (yes it does happen) when she said “I found this website earlier today that explains how easy it is for kids to run up huge bills on your mobile phone by downloading apps, you might want to take a look”

So I did and what I found was shocking!! Read the full article at your leisure.


Basically a 6 year old kid spent £3200 on playing an iphone game where you purchase food for farm animals in order to feed them. Scary hey!!

It is not only iphones that have this problem though.  If you read on the article states that Blackberry keeps you logged in for 20 minutes after purchasing an app, while Google will take your money without you entering a pin when you have set up your details on Google Play.  Sounds like a childs playground to me!!

So how do you stop kids racking up huge bills.  Hopefully this advise will help:

  • Actually use passwords!!!!!

The amount of people who don’t use passwords is shocking.  If there is no password you are giving your children free roam over you device which is not a good idea.

  • Use passwords your kids can’t guess

Kids are very smart so don’t use passwords that they can guess and don’t let them watch when you enter the password.

  • Ask your mobile provider to cap your bills

You can cap your bills at any amount above your normal bill so you don’t get any nasty surprises.

  • Supervise your children

I am as guilty as the next person when it comes to this.  My 2 year old daughter uses my Playbook most days and a lot of the time she does without me watching her.

  • Restrict App purchases

Apple

Go to settings – General – Restrictions and then decide if you want your password entered every time you make a purchase or not.

Android

Set up a PIN with your Google Play account.  This is not the default on most Android phones.

Blackberry

At the moment there is no way to disable the 20 minute login after app purchases.  Come on Blackberry get this sorted!!

Windows

Windows has a great feature called ‘Kids Corner’ which allows your child their own phone area on the handset.  It comes with restricted access to your device and also certain apps/websites/services etc.  This is not set up by default.

Remember you may think you are pretty smart but believe me kids are smarter so lock down your phone!!

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

Why do we always want new shiny stuff?

I woke up this morning and the first thing that popped in my head was “I want a Chromebook“.  Usually it is “coffee” followed by “need more sleep so go away” but not today.  I don’t need a Chromebook but I definitely want one.  The same thing happened yesterday but instead of a Chromebook it was a 7″ Android from Novatech (very good deal by the way) and the previous day it was a 70mm Celestron Travel Scope.


Now this is not usually me.  I am a firm believer in use what you have (and only change it when your needs change) and if it isn’t broke don’t fix it.  I am pretty sure that because there is a new laptop, tablet or phone on the market my existing kit is not obsolete overnight.  I don’t need any of this new kit (especailly the telescope!!) but all the advertising blurb says I do.  It is now too easy to use something and then instead of repairing it we throw it away and get a new one.

I was talking to a friend earlier this week about this.  I mentioned that I was going to purchase an Android tablet in the premise of learning Android so I could then fix any software issues that my clients may have.  I was told “What is the point as tablets are just as disposable as everything else.  They break and people just throw them away and buy a new one?”  Is this the reason that we always want new stuff?

Some people will always want to be at the cutting edge and will spend money on the newest gadgets and that is fine (it is their money after all) but what about the rest of us?

What do you think?

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

 

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