10 disadvantages Windows 8 tablets have compared to the iPad and Android

10 disadvantages Windows 8 tablets have compared to the iPad and Android

Summary: Windows 8 tablets are getting better and better, but the competition still holds the lead in some key areas.


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  • Third party accessory ecosystem

    We love our gadgets, and we love accessories for them. Those accessories range from simple cases to protect them to electronic gizmos to help get the most out of our tablets.

    The popularity of the iPad has triggered the growth of a huge accessory ecosystem. You can choose from lots of keyboards, cases, and unique accessories that make using the iPad better.

    There are blood pressure monitors that plug into the iPad to help track vitals, and scales that track your weight on the iPad.

    The Android ecosystem trails the iPad but major accessory makers are starting to produce cases and keyboards for major Android tablets.

    That's not the case for Windows tablets as you are reliant on the tablet maker to produce a case or keyboard, and that's not common.

  • Third party keyboards

    Onscreen keyboards are essential for using a tablet and having a good one can make the UX very good indeed. Both Windows and iOS are stuck with the keyboard that ships with the OS, but Android has a lively third party keyboard environment.

    Finding the keyboard app that works well can greatly improve how well things work, and it would be nice if both Windows and iOS would allow using third party keyboards.

  • Browsers, browsers

    We spend a lot of time in the web browser and that's especially true using tablets. Mobile browsers are pretty good, and that includes Metro Internet Explorer (IE) but it's always good to have the choice to run other browsers on a touch screen.

    It would be nice if you could run alternate browsers on the Windows Metro interface, but that's not the case. You can install other browsers on the desktop side, but then you deal with the less-than-ideal touch operation.

    Both the iPad and Android tablets have other browsers in the app store to choose from, and they are all written for touch control. Windows falls short in this area.

Topics: Mobility, Android, iPad, Tablets, Windows 8

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  • #1 - Horrible UI

    The Metro Mess is just that - a mess and PITA for most users.

    Users have rejected it on the Desktop, in the phone space, and now the tablet space.
    • You can come out of your reality distortion bubble now

      Adoption rates for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 are rising.

      Ars Technica reported the other day that Windows 8 usage share is already more now than all versions of OSX combined.

      Delta Airlines announced they are issuing Windows Phone 8 devices to all their flight attendants, with a total purchase of more that 35000 devices.

      The largest cell phone marketer in Russia (5000+ stores) just reported that Nokia's Lumia WP8 handsets are selling better than Apple AND Samsung.

      News this morning is that WP8 has a 15% market share in New Zealand.

      The evidence of greater acceptance and adoption is mounting daily.

      You may not like Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, but it is just not true that products based on those operating systems have been rejected by the public.

      It is certainly true that Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 represent a major change from earlier versions of Windows, but to claim, as some do, that their introduction has been a total failure from the start is just not supported by the facts.
      • the biggest drawback, its Windows 8!

        No amount of advertisement will overcome this fact.
        • While most people have difficulty with change

          I do know people that actually like Windows 8 and with a little training my Dad is starting to like it as well. It is advertising via articles that has been the difficulty to overcome for Windows 8. Windows 8.1 is a much needed improvement and should be cheaper.
          • There is the problem...

            "with a little training my Dad is starting to like it"

            In my experience with my customers who purchased a new computer with Win 8, roughly 2 out of 10 hated it. Why? Because they didn't WANT to have to learn how to use their computer all over again and, quite frankly, I don't blame them. I don't care how good it runs under the hood, if the car is complicated to drive or it's ugly, people don't want it.
          • And yet they should be happy to switch to another product

            and relearn that from scratch?

            Though here's a heads up - I don't know of one person that didn't have to learn how to use their in car computer/media/navigation center.

            "if the car is complicated to drive or it's ugly, people don't want it."

            Yet they still buy them.

            So you can throw that analogy out the window (once you figure out how to open it...)
            William Farrel
          • Doesn't compare

            Learning to use an iPad is trivial for a long time Windows users. I have numerous friends who have made that transition and there were no significant complaints among them.

            Contrast that with a Windows 7 user learning Windows 8 and it is night and day different. Everyone of my friends who have attempted to make that transition have complained loudly. Two returned the Windows 8 device, while the rest have kept it and complained. My wife is ready to toss here Win8 laptop out the window once or twice every week, due to UI issues. Only Microsoft could be so arrogant as to screw their own user base! (Although we will see if Apple has as well with IOS 7)
          • I've used every Windows version ever created ...

            ... and I have to tell you that it took me a could of hours to become comfortable with Windows 8. If I got confused on the Metro screen, I just opened the desktop and it was just like Windows 7. A week later, I was completely comfortable with Windows 8.
            M Wagner
          • Actually, his analogy was pretty good.

            Imagine a new car line that has no brake pedal, no gas pedal, and no steering wheel. This new car is driven using 3 levers and a rotary knob. This new "improved" car only comes in excrement brown with yellow and black spots. So, it's completely different to drive and literally looks like crap.

            What you're saying is, people should still buy these cars and just learn to use levers, because at one point, everyone had to learn to drive using a steering wheel. That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.

            People want stability in the user interface for something they operate every day. They want to be able to buy a new one and still know how to operate it. There are widely-accepted, efficient interfaces for working with desktop computers that have been refined over decades, just like the steering wheel, brakes, and gas pedal on cars. When you toss out that entire interface in favor of something completely different, it annoys people. It's not that people can't learn a new way. It's that they shouldn't have to adapt to an interface which is demonstrably worse than the one they already know. Three levers and a knob on a car would simply be illogical change for the sake of change, much like Metro on the desktop.

            The reason a completely different control set worked fine on smartphones and tablets, is because they are basically a totally new form factor where touch makes sense. Plus, there was no previously established standard interface. It's like a motorcycle versus a car. The controls on a motorcycle make perfect sense for that machine. Similarly, Metro actually makes sense on tablets and smartphones. It's just stupid on the desktop.

            In fact, let's run with that concept and look at a fictional scenario to illustrate why people are not thrilled with Metro on desktops. See if you can spot the parallels.

            Let's say cars with steering wheels and pedals were around for ages, then motorcycles were introduced. The motorcycles become wildly popular overnight because they are more nimble, more fun, easier to park, lightweight, and far more efficient for light use. Because a lot of people suddenly realize they didn't really need a car for the small amount of driving they do, they start buying tons of motorcycles. As a result, car sales go flat.

            Now, imagine that the biggest supplier of steering wheels and pedals for cars (Carsoft?) decides they need to switch completely to handlebars, hand brakes, twist throttle, and a foot shifter because that's what motorcycles use and motorcycles are selling like hotcakes. Nearly everyone who makes cars is forced to buy these new car controls because of contracts. After an entire year of mediocre sales, Carsoft is confused that nobody wants cars with handlebars. During that year, lots of smart people make fun of these cars, calling them ugly, useless, crippled, and inefficient. Yet, the company still stubbornly insists that handlebars and foot shifters are the future interface for all cars. They vow to continue down this path and drag everyone kicking and screaming into their vision of the future, by eventually eliminating the option of using steering wheels in any car.

            That's exactly what's happening on desktops and it's contributing to the further decline of the desktop market.

            The bottom line? The people at Carsoft are obviously morons.
          • Yup!

            Spot-on analysis!
          • Not Quite Right

            Your analogy is not quite right.
            Car-soft didn't REPLACE car controls with bike controls but built BOTH interfaces into all cars AND bikes. Now manufacturers can build quad bikes and trikes and the users can choose to use steering wheels or handle bars. With dual control sets, transforming bikes become possible where you dock your bike into a cardock or a boatdock or a jetskidock and it becomes a different form factor which you can switch between steering wheel and handle bar controls on the fly.
            Along with dual control UI, Car-soft has made the engine specification so that it can run on all forms of liquid state fuel. Now all Car-soft spec engines can adapt to any grade liquid fuels - diesel, petrol, hi-octane, AV gas, methanol.
          • So a Mac would be an absolute disaster then?

            Coming from a Windows environment, that should imply that your customers would be absolutely irate at having to use a Mac, ater all they need to learn a whole new interface there.
          • Mac doesn't require a "relearn"

            For most casual computer users on the planet (that's most computer users) using a Mac for the first time or migrating to Mac from Windows, there isn't much to "relearn". Even something as simple as turning the wireless connection on or off is far more intuitive on the Mac. I use Mac, Win7 (my fav OS so far), and Win8 daily, and Win8 is simply a ratty interface that doesnt make intuitive sense; it's a UI that must be learned... have your grandmother try to log onto a hotel's WiFi on a Mac and Win8, then switch back to the home or business WiFi later... Which was easier?
            Teila Day
          • Are you kidding?

            I was first exposed to the Mac OS paradigm in 1984. I could not figure it out. I first adopted Windows 2.11 in 1987. In 1990, I jumped to Windows 3.0, then to Windows 95 in 1995. Windows 98 never was as stable as Windows 95 so, after rejecting Windows 98 (multiple times) I switched to Windows NT 4, then Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7, and now Windows 8/RT.

            The only transition that I would say was hard was the transition to Windows Vista - but I could write a book abut the mistakes Microsoft made with Vista.

            Between Windows 95 and Windows 2000, I learned SunOS, Solaris, Irix, NeXTstep, AIX, and SlackWare Linux and NOT ONCE did I have trouble with the paradigm shift.

            Over that same period of time, I interacted with Mac OS 8, 9, X 10.0 thru 10.8 and I still do not find the Mac OS X paradigm particularly user-friendly.

            The point is that Mac OS X requires just as much patience to learn as any other desktop OS. And iOS, Android, and Metro are all equally easy to learn.
            M Wagner
          • Windows Registry = Carburetor

            The author forgot this.I think finally the Registry will eventually get clogged with unnecessary things and slow down everything. MS is stuck in the mud with the Registry. They cannot get out of it without breaking old programs and they are in a Catch 22 situation. When all other cars have moved to direct fuel injection, this one still has a carburetor.
          • Metro apps dont use Registry!

            Interesting view, which is completely useless as the new Metro based apps dont use the registry at all! :-)

            Next time check the facts Before complaining!
          • Do people buy Windows tablets only for Metro apps?

            What about the compatibility MS (and its supporters) boast of? How would that be possible without your carburetor (sorry, Registry)?
          • Compatibility is not an issue for Metro apps.

            While windows supports the registry (compatibility). Modern, even pre-metro apps, such as those built on top of DotNet do not require the registry, choosing to place information in configuration files similar to linux. But having a global repository has its advantages too. They just were using it too much previously making it big and bloated.

            Drag racers often go carb btw.

            Oxen vs horses for pulling wagons: They's advantages and disadvantages ta each!
          • So people do not run non Metro apps on their Win tablets?

            Do people buy Win tablets only to run Metro apps? That should answer the question. Interesting that MS keeps touting its "backward compatibility" and "ability to run enterprise software", and I believe none of these are Metro apps.
          • Some do! My Surface RT allows me to access all of my favorite ...

            ... legacy apps remotely - WHEN I need them. Otherwise, my Surface gives me all of the Windows compatibility that I need and Metro serves me very well.

            Believe me, the Windows Desktop is on its way out!
            M Wagner