Microsoft has made a valiant effort to reformat their Windows UI for Windows 8 to make it more touch-centric. Considering the kind of obstacles they’ve had to overcome and the fact that they’re the only company in the tablet game who had to take an existing operating system and morph it into something touch-screen friendly, Microsoft has done the best job they could possibly be expected to, but it so happens that their best is just not good enough.

Tablet Usage

In keeping with the motto I use to explain why a friend may enjoy using a tablet: “The internet was made to be touched,” and because of how much I do enjoy web browsing on a tablet, I imagined that a Windows 8 device would be the perfect answer to that call. Full desktop style browsing with a touch interface. I couldn’t have been more wrong about this. The tablet I’ve been using for review is the Lenovo Miix 2-8 which sports an Intel Atom processor on 2 GB of RAM. This would be plenty to run Android, and excessive for iOS, but despite the claims of Windows users everywhere that 2 GB will to run Windows 8 well due to Windows new smaller memory footprint, and Microsoft’s own requirements here, 2 GB on RAM does not make for a pleasant user-experience.

The system struggles to browse social sites such as Google+ and switching between applications seems to cause a good deal of lag.  The truly disappointing thing about this RAM issue, is that most tablet manufacturers seem to have taken Microsoft’s minimum requirements to be “optimum requirements” as 2 GB seems to be the norm for Windows 8 tablets, unless you’re willing to fork over nearly a grand for something like the Microsoft Surface Pro 2, then you’ll likely end up with a less than desirable experience with 2 gigs of RAM.

Compared To Android And iOS?

As mentioned above, the main hurdle Microsoft faced with Windows 8 was having to start with an existing, non-touch UI and morph it into something touch-friendly. When you consider that, they have done a great job. However in comparison to the titans-of-touch interfaces; Android and iOS, Windows 8 didn’t stand a chance. Apps, true full-touch UI, service integration, smartphone aspects, low system requirements, customization, a rich history of touch UI development, and general ease of use with intuitive design are several of the things that the existing touch giants have in their corner, which narrows choices when shopping for a touch-only device down to the question “Apple or Google?”

What Now?

Now the Windows 8 should go back to what they’re good at, desktops. More importantly Microsoft should refocus their efforts on doing something to gain back the corner of the market they’re losing to Chromebooks. If they don’t come up with something cheap, simple, light, fast, and virus-less soon, they’re going to continue to lose users the more people realize that 97% of their computing needs can be handled by a Chromebook.

If Microsoft decides that they want to be a real contender in the tablet game, their best play at this point would be to create an entirely new operating system from the ground up. They’re onto something with the metro UI of the Windows 8 start-screen tiles, but need to be rid of the desktop mode to to truly entice users who are looking for an immersive touch experience.

Website: Microsoft Windows 8

About the author

Tony McAfee


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