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>The difference being that you can install or upgrade Windows on a system without buying a new laptop or requiring support from the vendor; the vendor doesn't lock down laptops to prevent upgrades and force people to buy a new device instead.

As a poweruser, I have installed new versions of Windows AND new versions of Android.

To the average user, neither is feasible.

To a technical user, both are possible.

I don't like this comparison. Many of us switch out AndroidOS's very frequently. It's actually not hard at all to install a custom recovery and load a different and custom version of android.

In fact, considering how defined the android ecosystem of alternative OS's is, and how undefined the Microsoft one is, one could easily suggest that Android is far less locked down.

After all, some Android replacements like Cyanogen/Lineage are far more developed and popular than Windows replacements.

I think there is a shocking difference here. Windows install is, for all compatible devices:

1. Insert install disc/USB. 2. Boot to install disc. 3. Spam the next button.

Installing new Android OS versions manually often involves custom third party unlock tools from sketchy download sites.

And yet, if you ask a non-technical user to install a new OS, it's entirely likely they'll refuse, be uncomfortable with the implications of what they're doing, and if you do force them to do it, will be frustrated with the result.

I worked in a Computer Repair shop for years through college and believe me, the average user has ZERO interest in installing or re-installing an OS. They will pay >$100 to have someone "spam next a few times" as you put it.

I would call that a distinction without a difference. End result is the same: non-technical users do not do it.

On the other hand, semi-technical users would probably do a windows reinstall if they knew they had a techie friend handy to call, but probably would not run an bootloader crack that has the potential to brick their phone, and instead would ask the same techie friend to do it for them.

The point is that many technical users do not install custom versions of Android, though. We all agree on non technical users, but changing Android version is still more complex, to the point that many people comfortable with upgrading a desktop will not mess with their phone

This is true. And I suspect, a major reason behind Microsoft's much-derided upgrade process for Windows 10.

There's a subset of handsets that have a locked bootloader, which means they cannot even flash the device themselves.

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