BYOD: Responding To The Challenge (UCISA Networking Group event)

I'm delivering the closing talk at May's UCISA Networking Group event BYOD: Responding To The Challenge.  Regular readers of this blog may have read my Post-PC posts, and probably have a fairly good idea of what to expect from me.  However, I will do my best to surprise you!  I'd also love to hear your thoughts about where BYOD/CYOD and Post-PC are leading us - do leave a comment if you have something to share.

[Picture credit - the Google Glass picture above is CC-BY from Flickr user azugaldia]

Now by way of a teaser for May's event, you might think (and the photo above might reinforce this) that I am going to stand up and say that the future is wall-to-wall Google Glass, iWatches and the like.  I actually have a much more mundane observation that I will share here first, which is about the way that Android (and by extension Linux) has been taking the world by storm.

Remember the recent news that Android activations are now up to 1.5m per day?  And that Android tablets have now found the right mix of price point and ingredients to start selling in large numbers?  For me the most interesting development of late has been the hints from a number of sources that failed Windows 8 products will shortly be repackaged as Android netbooks, convertibles etc.

What's that you say?  "Doesn't compute - Android runs on ARM processors?"  Yes, but the Android-x86 project has been maintaining an Intel compatible port for some time now.  Intel themselves have put quite a bit of effort into x86 support for Android.  This is turning out to be a great hedging bet, and could yet give PC OEMs a new lease of life for their current generation of hardware that is essentially dead in the water from a sales perspective while running Windows 8.

If you have an old netbook kicking around, you can get quite a good idea of what the Android experience is like on a "PC" using a bootable USB pendrive live image.  I went further and installed Android as my main operating system, as shown in the photo below:

(bonus points if you can identify the two little characters on the right ;-)

I have a hunch we'll be seeing a lot more of Android in these more traditional form factors, and my conclusion is that it's surprisingly usable.  The only major headache I've had so far has been with apps that use the Native Development Kit to link in ARM native code.  Look out for a follow-up blog post summarising my experiences.

Martin Hamilton

Martin Hamilton works for Jisc in London as their resident Futurist.