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Monitor-makers ponder Android-powered touch screens

Touchy 21-inchers on the agenda, says analyst

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Anyone fancy a 21-inch touch screen monitor with an ARM CPU and enough computing grunt to run Android? For about twice the price of a conventional monitor?

Taiwanese analyst outfit WitsView says monitor-makers are considering just such a gadget as a way to fix the sales slump in the display industry. That slump is in part caused by slowing PC sales thanks to users' preference for tablets and smartphones. By tapping into that shift, WitsView feels, monitor-makers may find a way to grow again.

The firm offers the following description for this product:

“An Android LCD monitor is a LCD monitor equipped with the ARM processor, featuring the Android operating system, and adjustable to a horizontal angle on top of the touch function and WiFi, which can be regarded as a simple version of [all-in-one computer] AIO or a large-sized tablet.”

The analyst firm goes on to say “the user experience on an Android LCD monitor is similar to that on a tablet and can be seen as the extension of a tablet.” But WitsView also feels that the Android-powered monitors would compete with all-in-one PCs, the cheapest of which retail for around $US600. At $US400 an Android monitor would undercut those PCs handily but also give monitor-makers a chance to sell a product with a higher margin than their conventional wares.

WitsView's post on Android monitors doesn't say who will make them, when or if they may emerge or if punters want them.

Current experience suggests there's not likely to be a queue for giant tablets: Sony's 20” Vaio Tap has been well-received but is not a hit product. Nor have environments offering rapid bootup and access to a basic computing environment done well: the SplashTop “instant-on” environment scarcely rates a mention on the eponymous company's website just four years after appearing in many netbooks.

Perhaps if Android monitors could easily be unclipped from their stand and revert to battery power they could be of utility or interest. Such an arrangement could make desks less of an anchor for monitors and therefore spur new reasons for purchase, an important factor given the devices don't really wear out. Your correspondent's 24” screen, for example, is seven years old and shows no sign of wearing out other than a dodgy power button.

Which leaves just one important consideration: what to call a giant convertible monitor/fondleslab hybrid? Do feel free to offer your ideas in the comments. ®

Bootnote

Since posting this story we've learned that Acer showed off an Android monitor at Mobile World Congress and promised it would reach European stores in March. Here we are in May and all we've got to go on is this video.

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