A year have I lived with Android, and after going through a period of disillusionment and disappointment that is inevitable for an Android device owner (Samsung Galaxy S and S2 phones), I can safely say – Android is not the great kill-all Linux platform yet, but it is getting there. Over the last year I read a lot excited comments and blogs from Linux lovers about Android, and it seems they have been partly right. I say partly because, most of them saw the success of Android as a proving of Linux, after which success of existing Linux desktop offerings would follow. But the only real possibility for Linux to succeed on the desktop, and that would be, say, 20% desktop users, is actually Android.
Now, of course, not in the form how it is today. But in a year or two, certainly. There are three main reasons why I believe that: Windows 8, Asus Transformer (Prime) and Motorola’s Atrix with Webtop. All of those are attempts to unify 2 different experiences: Laptop / desktop computers and tablets. In addition, all the Linux desktop environments are trying to prepare for the touchscreen too. Unity, KDE (plasma active), Gnome 3.. all are more or less ready and have pretensions to be touch friendly. The reason for this: people want compact and powerful tablets that, when docked, become full grown desktop or laptop computers.
A few other indices that Android is capable of inciting adoption of Linux on the desktop is the vast array of companies that are trying to battle and subdue it legally. None do it because they’re evil. Not Microsoft, not Apple. They do it because they fear it. They fear the possibilities. Android by itself is slowly prevailing, and the possibilities for evolution and growth are truly to be feared. I don’t think it would be impossible to expect from Ubuntu to create their own Android tablet, that when docked, provides the full desktop/laptop experience? Or even Google could do something like that with Android 6 or 7 in a couple of years…
So, to end this post in a cheesy fashion by quoting Ghandi, and I think Android phones really have gone through this progression: “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win”. Legal battles are still being fought, but with popularity Android phones already have, none will give up on them and victory can be proclaimed. With tablets, Android didn’t achieve the same success, but with ICS and Amazon Kindle Fire, 2012 seems to be the year Android tablets show their teeth. And after that the next goal will have to be laptops and desktops. Only time will tell.