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Six Clicks: Advantages of Windows 8.1 over its mobile competitors

Say what you will about the dual personality of Windows 8.1 but there are some things it does better than the mobile competition.
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By James Kendrick on
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Microsoft decided to take on the mobile space with a frontal assault, and that's what it's done with Windows 8.1. As an OS that works on any type of PC, the company had to make sure that mobile was properly addressed as it is a hot segment.

The problem with having a flexible OS is it tends to make mobile operation less than ideal. Devices designed to be mobile benefit from a platform that is especially designed for that.

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Kudos to the folks in Redmond for doing that with Windows 8.1, and for refining it as time passes to make it even better for both mobile and desktop environments.

There are certain areas that Windows 8.1 surpasses the function of the mobile competition, specifically the iPad and Android. Macbooks are a reasonable alternative to Windows mobile devices, but the nod goes to Microsoft over iOS and Android with the six advantages presented in this collection.

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Mouse support

Although virtually all mobile devices have nice touch screens, there are still a huge army of the followers of the mouse. There is no peripheral that yields such precise control over a busy interface like the mouse. You can tap the smallest control on the screen with just about every mouse out there.

Good mouse control in Windows is an advantage over the competition. The iPad doesn’t work with a mouse at all and while Android devices can work with the mouse, the interface is not designed for it. It’s not as elegant an implementation as that in Windows.

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Trackpad support

Just about every laptop and many hybrids have a trackpad, and while some prefer the mouse many are perfectly happy with the pad. Using a trackpad in Windows is a good experience most of the time.

Like the mouse, the iPad lacks support for a trackpad. Android supports them, but using one can be a mixed bag as the interface is designed for touch and not trackpad control. Trackpad control is well implemented on the MacBook, to be fair.

In addition to standard UI control with Windows trackpads, in Windows 8.1 there are useful gestures using the pad. The ability to swipe in from the edge of the trackpad to invode various Windows controls is particularly useful.

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Pen support

There doesn’t seem to be a big group that is enthusiastic about using a pen with a mobile device, but those who need to do so really need it. Windows has a big advantage over the mobile competition with pen support integrated into every aspect of the OS.

You can use a pen with the iPad, but you’re restricted to one of those touch pens. The spongy tip that most employ is not precise at all, and only a few apps support the pen.

Pen support is only available in a few Android devices, the Samsung Galaxy Note devices are just about it. They require a special pen from Samsung, and only a handful of apps support it well, if at all.

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Legacy Windows apps

This advantage is obvious but it’s right up there in significance. There are many professions with special Windows apps vital to their operation. The ability to run those on Windows mobile devices is a big boon to such operations.

No mobile devices from the competitors can run Windows apps, with the exception of Macs which have to run full Windows in a virtual machine. This works pretty well, but nothing is as good as a native solution.

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Laptop user experience (UX)

Much has been said about the dual nature of Windows 8.1, and for many that’s a good thing. In addition to being a decent tablet OS, Windows still yields a great experience on laptops.

While the iPad and Android tablets can be used with keyboards as a laptop, the OS is not optimized for it as is Windows. Those wanting a full laptop without potential compromises need look no further than Windows 8.1. Well, you can look at Macs, but they can’t also work as tablets.

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Full Office

Those needing a fully functional Microsoft Office device better get behind Windows. There are now several methods to use Office, both offline and online, but having Office for Windows ensures you have access to all of the features of the suite.

Office for the iPad is pretty good, but it’s not a full implementation with all the bells and whistles. Neither will the Android version of Office when it arrives soon.

No, to do everything you can do with Office, look no further than a Windows device.

See also:

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