iPad, Windows 8 Tablet (x86) or Windows Tablet RT (ARM) – Why not to buy an Android Tablet

Posted: June 10, 2012 in Uncategorized
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So, are you like me and wondering a) do you need a tablet and b) which one you should get?

Well, I think about that too and when I consider tablets, there are only two platforms to consider – iOS and Windows 8/RT.

Why do I not mention Android? Well, people aren’t really buying tablets to be tablets, they are buying tablets to extend their smartphone or desktop/laptop computer.  In my opinion, Android doesn’t accomplish this feat.

Android tablets are nothing more than large awkward Android Phones, they have next to no specialized apps, the interface even with ICS/4.0, is still pretty lousy for touch and the apps available for these devices do not follow a clearly defined User Interface.

The Android platform is a wild west of apps. You see this from the OEMs who create front ends such as MotoBlur, HTC Sense as well as ones from Samsung and even Google’s own UI.

App developers don’t have a clear programming environment and even then, the apps run choppy and at a near sluggish pace – no matter what hardware you are using.

So – forget about Android Tablets

How do you decide on a iOS or Windows Tablet then? Well, you should look at several criteria:

User Interface
Consistency between platforms
App Interoperability
Openness of the platform
Long-term goals of the environment

That leaves us with deciding between Apple and Microsoft and while Apple already has a substantial lead in the field of tablets, and arguably the only successful tablet platform ever – why shouldn’t you just go out and buy an iPad.

I’ll tell you why, whether Time Cook admits it or not, the desktop, laptop, tablet and phone market/ecosystem is converging – you know it, I know it, Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Apple knows it – but only a company that has a clear vision for how these platforms will coexist or merge can say as much.

So, Cook says that you can’t have a touch interface on a phone and tablet and have it work on a laptop or desktop, well, he may be correct that people don’t want to reach up from their mouse and keyboard to touch their screens, but it doesn’t mean that that a mouse or track pad can’t be used with the same UI as a touch based product.

We have been seeing these two markets grow closer together over the past 2 years and even Apple is erasing the line between the two platforms. Last year they released a new UI for MacOS which mimicked the icon driven interface on their phones and iPad – and he was right, it didn’t work on a big screened MacBook or iMac.  A screen with 60-200 app icons on the screen is not intuitive, it does not make apps easier to run/start and it certainly does not revolutionize the way people interact with their computers. In fact, everyone I know disabled this UI on their Mac and went back to the classic Mac UI which hasn’t changed substantially since 1984.

Along comes Metro – Metro started off small and didn’t have a lot of personality. It started off as a new user interface for Windows Media Center, then was adapted to the Zune music player, then the Zune desktop software. Elements of the current Metro were used in the ill fated and short lived Microsoft xyz phone, then the Windows Phone, Xbox and now Windows 8.

With each year, Microsoft has redefined what Metro is and how people interact with it. It started small and grew and the key point to make is that Metro CHANGED over time. It did not stay constant and just add a feature here and there, put some glue in the corners, a snip here a bandage there.

No, Metro evolved, it evolved on the phone, it evolved on the Xbox, it evolved on the Windows Zune music software, it evolved again on the desktop in Windows 8 and now shares the same elements on screens as small as 3.7 inches to the largest screens on Microsoft’s “Surface” wall and tabletop user interfaces.

So, the question comes down to do you want the same interface for all your devices? And I say I do – as long as it’s Metro.

New apps developed for Windows 8 Metro will work on Windows 8 Phnoes, Windows RT (ARM) tablets, Windows 8 (x86) tablets and Windows 8 desktops (x86/x64).  This means that a programmer can quite simple design and create one app for all devices, all share the same simple elements and way to access features, devices, share between apps, etc.

Heck, while the current Xbox 360 doesn’t support the Windows 8 Metro apps directly, it shares enough of it’s interface to allow a developer to carry over one design philosophy to all screens.

So do you buy Windows RT or Windows 8 tablet?  I don’t think we can decide that until the first and maybe even 2nd generation Windows Metro devices are launched.

Windows RT tablets will run apps written for Windows Phone and Windows 8 Metro, and Windows 8 tablets will run apps from Windows Phone, Windows 8 Metro and all your existing apps for Windows since approx. 2000.

This is an exciting time for the industry and I’m sure we havent’ seen the last from Cook and Apple.  You can be sure that deep in  a dark secluded hallway in Cupertino Apple is developing a version of iOS that will bridge the divide between handheld, laptop and desktop and will do it really well.

Question is, can they do it before Microsoft gains too much mind and market share?

As for Google? they could surprise me and everyone and come out with something pretty amazing and unique, but Google has never done anything like that before. Other then their initial Google Search Engine, nothing Google has created has been original or inspired. 

In fact, their latest version of Google looks just like Microsoft’s Bing.  🙂

 

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