Lenovo to offer Android PCs, starting with an all-in-one that can pack a Core i9
Another route to the year of Linux on the desktop. Or the edge
Lenovo has entered the Android PC business.
The Chinese manufacturer that took over IBM's PC business announced on Thursday that it's teamed with an outfit named Esper that specializes in custom cuts of Android, plus device management offerings.
Android is most commonly used in handheld devices. Lenovo's taking it in an entirely different direction by making the ThinkCentre M70a: a desktop all-in-one.
The first fruit of the collaboration with Esper, the ThinkCentre M70a boasts a 21—inch touch screen and offers a choice of 12th-gen Intel core CPUs from the Core i3 to the almost workstation-grade Core i9, at prices from $889 to beyond $1250.
What could you do with Android on a Corei9, plus the maximum 16GB DDR4 3200MHz and 512GB PCIe SSD Lenovo's machines allow?
Almost anything – but Lenovo thinks its Android effort will first be appreciated by customers in the retail, hospitality, and healthcare industries. Esper pitches its wares as ideal for point-of-sale systems, kiosks, and digital signage – environments where users don't need to access diverse apps but do need a machine that reliably boots into custom environments.
As The Register's long-running BORK! BORK! BORK! column amply demonstrated, Windows PCs in public places tend to make Microsoft's failings your problem. Android hopefully offers a less Bork-prone alternative.
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Lenovo's not just doing desktop PCs. The number one PC maker by market share has promised it will also ship Esper's wares on the small form factor ThinkCentre M70q – a machine designed to be bolted to the back of monitors. The ThinkEdge SE30 – a ruggedized and fanless edge client – will also have an Android option.
So will the ThinkCentre M90n-1 IoT [PDF] – another rugged client for edge applications.
"Dedicated devices are proliferating across several key industries," explained Lenovo director of global advanced solutions marketing and strategy Johanny Payero in a canned statement. That missive also refers to analyst research that found Android devices account for 41 per cent of enterprise fleets – well ahead of Windows's 26 percent share, the 24 percent of devices running Apple's iOS and the eight percent Linux presence. Lenovo therefore suggests its customers are happy to run Android, so won't object to the OS on PCs.
Speaking of PCs, demand for the devices remains moderate. Maybe Lenovo hopes Android PCs will create a little extra interest – preferably not at the expense of its own Android tablets and Motorola handsets.
Esper also advocates migrating existing x86 hardware to Android, to extend its life.
Due to Android's FOSS roots, that essentially means more Linux on the desktop – a trend Lenovo is now in a position to accelerate with its Android PCs. ®