Windows 8 is still not ready to be on tablets. Here's why...

Jan 06 2014, 09:21 IST
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Tablets are fantastic devices, whether for reading, playing games, watching movies or simply browsing the web. (AP) Tablets are fantastic devices, whether for reading, playing games, watching movies or simply browsing the web. (AP)
SummaryTablets are fantastic devices, whether for reading, playing games, watching movies or simply browsing the web.

Tablets are fantastic devices, whether for reading, playing games, watching movies or simply browsing the web. But in all these activities, the user is a consumer. There is pre-created content that you access. A tablet, whether it's the iPad or an Android device, isn't suited for creation; for true productivity, if you will.

Windows 8 was meant to work well on touchscreen devices with its Modern UI, while still retaining the core functionality with the 'Desktop' app, which transported you to the familiar Windows interface. There have been plenty of touchscreen laptops running Windows 8, but they don't offer the kind of portability that a tablet does.

The Acer Iconia W4 changes the game. It puts Windows 8 on an 8-inch tablet, just like the iPad Mini or the Samsung Galaxy Note 5100. Is this the first tablet that actually lets you be as productive as you would be on a laptop?

The short answer: Nope! The Acer W4 is a great example of the massive gap that lies between theory and practicality. On paper, you get the convenience of Windows with the added benefit of being customized for touchscreens. In reality, it's an operating system that fails on both aspects.

The Problem With Windows 8

There are two distinct personalities in Windows 8, or the subsequent 8.1 update. The first is the Modern UI, which features fancy 'Live Tiles' and a new breed of apps that are made for touchscreens. The other is the Desktop mode, which appears as an 'app' in the Modern UI.

Modern UI is satisfactory as a touchscreen interface alone. It falters in some aspects when compared to the likes of iOS and Android, but scores on some others ó there's plenty to like and dislike, just like any operating system. But its undoing lies in the lack of a good app ecosystem. The Windows Store simply does not have the same number or quality of apps that are available on Android, let alone the iPad. And because of that, it's almost impossible to recommend it for tablet use alone. Unlike the traditional desktop, touchscreen devices rely a lot on apps optimized for touch usage; without those, Windows 8 isn't an experience that's worth the money.

And then comes Desktop mode. When you first tap it, the sense of familiarity it provides is a feeling that you lack on Android and iOS. This is Windows. On a tablet, this is Windows. You

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