Is it just me, or does Windows 7 feel a bit long in the tooth compared to Android?

I've been spending my days in mobile-land. And I like it there.
Written by Christopher Dawson, Contributor on

Please, no! Stop the flamethrowers! Enough already! You haven't even read my post and the talkbacks are already flying from your fingers!

I'm kidding. Sort of. But after spending the last several days completely immersed in the land of Android and really becoming attached to my new Motorola Xoom, I can't help but understand why Microsoft watchers point to decreasing market share for Windows 7. As InfoWorld points out,

Between July 1, 2010, and April 22, 2011 -- a period of 275 days -- Microsoft sold 0.67 Windows 7 licenses for each PC sold: 175 million Windows 7 licenses, and 260 million new PCs.

To turn the numbers the other way around, in the past nine months, more than one-third of all new PCs sold didn't have Windows 7.

There are lots of reasons for this, ranging from XP downgrades to volume licensing deals to OS X to Linux. What really matters to me, though, is that every time I switch from my phone or my tablets to a Windows 7 PC (an OS that I actually like, mind you, and respect for its general snappiness and software compatibility), I feel like I'm...sloooowwwiiiiinnnggg......dooooooowwwwwnnnnn. The same could actually be said for any of the modern mobile operating systems (including Windows Phone 7) compared to the latest desktop OS from the folks in Redmond.

Clicking that start button (I know it's just an icon now, but it will always be a start button to me) and navigating through applications or fussing with desktop shortcuts vs. file clutter feels awkward and very 1998. My wife will tell you that I'm not an organized person (at least not in the traditional place for everything and everything in its place sort of way). And yet swiping through clusters of generally related apps gives me access to the features I need with an efficiency that used to take a command line.

Next: Is it just me? »

Maybe it's just me. We all have different ways of working, learning, and thinking. Android, particularly Honeycomb, just feels organic. My 1-year old swipes her finger across the tablet screen or across my phone when she wants different music playing or another video queued. I can't see her just yet navigating through menus. iOS users will tell you that Apple's mobile OS is so organic that it makes Android look like Monsanto soybeans. They might be right. Regardless, there is an almost thoughtless ease to moving among apps and consuming content on the two dominant mobile operating systems that I find it increasingly painful to go back to a desktop OS.

Android knows what I mean. I can speak it (those years of free GOOG-411 service have really paid off) and Android does it. Again, with Android 3.0, it's nearly unflappable. I can type on the on-screen keyboard (which I do very poorly) and Android usually knows the word for which I'm aiming. I can use Swype and really start to pick up the pace. It capitalizes for me, punctuates for me, and lets me focus on finding what I need, saying what I want, and connecting as needed.

Can the same be said of Windows? It can barely be said of OS X; Ubuntu's Unity interface is getting there in terms of isolating the user from all but the essentials, but the speech recognition, flawless touch interface, and predictive text still aren't there.

My next investment will be a Bluetooth keyboard or some slick docking accessory; add a good keyboard to Android as a UI and I'm going to be a happy guy. My Mac isn't going away, of course. I still need Adobe Creative Suite and I don't see that coming to Android anytime soon. My Windows desktops will be around, too, since there remain useful bits of software that just run better (or simply run) on Windows. Flash still isn't what it should be either; the mobile OSs are hardly the Holy Grail of personal computing.

But I can feel myself inching closer (OK, walking quickly towards) the day when Android will be my OS of choice rather than Windows, OS X, or Ubuntu. The move won't be for everyone, but the call of the modern mobile OS is strong. It's, well, modern. And it's intuitive in ways that Windows just isn't, even for a power user. Perhaps Windows 8 will be a radical departure and bring the efficiencies of a mobile, touch-oriented OS to the desktop PC. If it is, count me in as an early adopter. Until then, I'll be seeing just how far I can get without reaching any important limitations on [insert mobile OS of choice here to avoid any further flame wars since we acknowledge that both Android and iOS have significant merits].

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