Windows 8 is starting to really shape up as a contender in the tablet market, but how do the features really compare to other tablet operating systems? Let’s take a look at just a few reasons why Windows 8 is a different ballgame altogether than competitors like iOS and Android.
With Windows 8 we have a brand new interface, named Metro. This simplistic design is not only easy to learn and a low resource consumer, but offers live tiles that really set it apart from other similar UIs.
Although notification systems exist in iOS 5 and all Android versions, but with Windows 8 we have Windows Phone 7-like tiles that offer snippets of information in a consistent format that can be updated without ever having to launch the application. This gives us an interesting way to take a look at information while providing a uniform, basic setup.
The simple grid of icons in the iOS homescreen is almost an icon in itself, but it only provides the basic functionality to manage and launch applications. On the other hand, Honeycomb’s homescreen allows for interactive widgets but the lack of consistency between them makes for a very jarring experience.
From what we’ve already seen of Windows 8, it will feature the same live tiles from Windows Phone 7. Live tiles can offer snippets of contextual information in a consistent format that can be updated without actually launching the application. Developers can also differentiate similar applications by exposing better live tiles.
As long as your processor is an x86, with Windows 8 you have the convenience of touch-optimized apps that add an element of convenience and entertainment while still offering legacy Win32 support for the applications people and businesses depend on day-to-day. A tablet running an x86 processor offers an experience that not only can replace your laptop but also offer you the convenience that we’ve come to expect in mobile apps.
Although Android has recently done a good job at trying to add support for a variety of different peripherals, it still has a long ways to go. With iOS you certainly can’t argue that support for add-on devices is a weakness. With Windows 8 you will likely have SD card readers and the wide support of thousands of existing Windows drivers for any kind of add-on device you can think of, from webcams to keyboards.
With Windows 8 you can add-on needed accessories while at home to turn your Windows tablet into a true productivity machine, at the same time you also have a highly portable tablet for your consumption, entertainment, and mobility needs.
With iOS you only have one choice and that’s the iPad. With Windows 8 and Android you have a much larger choice of options when it comes to hardware so you get the machine that meets your needs without paying too much for features you will never use.
One area in hardware where Windows 8 has Android beat, is x86 support. While most Windows 8 tablets will probably utilize ARM processors, business tablets will certainly have the option of using x86 and by proxy opening up your tablet to full support of all your favorite Win32 apps through desktop legacy support. Just keep in mind that you MUST have an x86 processor to get legacy support out of Windows 8.
While Apple has recently started adding better social integration with Twitter functionality and some of the same features exist in Android, you are still going to find a deeper social experience with Windows. It seems likely that Windows 8 will have the same deep social integration with a variety of programs such as Facebook, Twitter, Windows Live, and LinkedIn.
The Bottom Line
Windows 8 might not be the tablet choice of everybody, but for those who really love CHOICE it is hard to beat the flexibility and versatility in Windows 8. You can choice a very basic Metro experience through ARM or even receive full legacy support with x86 tablets. There will be DELL, HP, Acer, and many other brands to choose from.
It’s possible you will even find some creative companies that might offer Android/Windows 8 dual boot solutions.
So how do you think Windows compares to other tablet operating systems? Will it find wide success or simply be a niche product for business professionals and power users? Share your thoughts below!