Windows 8 on mobile devices is gaining traction. I don’t think that it’s going to completely displace Android as a mobile computing platform, but I can’t deny that there are definite advantages. The number of people with negative opinions is shrinking, because as more people use Windows 8 and as they use it more, more people are becoming more familiar with it and realizing that it has some distinct advantages.
Snap View Works Better on Windows 8 on Mobile
Snap View is the ability to run multiple apps at one time and have them all open and active. You can liken Snap View to the picture in picture function on your television, or the ability to have Microsoft Word open to write a paper while you also have your browser open to do your research. You can even adjust the size of each app’s pane to make your multitasking session easier.
Technically, Android doesn’t even have Snap View capability, native in the operating system. However, Samsung has an app (Multi-View) that can be used to simulate this capability, on some of their Galaxy devices. Another problem is that it only works with a limited number of approved apps, whereas Windows 8 on mobile doesn’t have this limitation.
Samsung’s Multi-View does have one advantage over Microsoft’s Snap View — it allows screen rotation from landscape to portrait and back, whereas Snap View locks you into landscape, completely disabling screen rotation while active. Other than that, Snap View is a well-executed feature that is an inherent part of the operating system.
Windows 8 on Mobile Updates Nicely
If you own an Android device you know how much of a hassle updating the operating system (OS) can be, IF you can find an update for your device. Windows 8 updates just like previous versions of the operating system, with updates automatically being pushed to devices with minimal user intervention from the Windows Update Service.
This means that you will immediately be able to take advantage of new features in the OS as well as have the security of automatically being protected by any security updates. With Android mobile devices, OS updates are done at the convenience of the device vendor or carrier — hence, Samsung Galaxy users might receive an update earlier than owners of devices that are made by LG or Motorola. It also means that users on Sprint might receive an update that Verizon owners will never receive.
Microsoft Continues to Improve the User Experience
The user experience for Android hasn’t really changed much since Google first introduced the operating system. Admittedly, there have been some minor improvements since then, but these changes have been very minor.
This isn’t true for Windows 8 on mobile. The operating system had some serious shortcomings when it was introduced, but Microsoft has been both reactive and proactive in their efforts to improve the user experience (UX). The latest incarnation of the OS, Windows 8.1, is a very stable and enjoyable platform to use.
An example of the importance that Microsoft places on improving the UX for users is in how quickly they released Windows 8.1. Unlike Android, many of these improvements aren’t small — Snap View is a great example of this. There are already rumors about the upcoming Windows 9 being a quantum improvement over Windows 8 and 8.1.
Windows 8 Has a More Robust Information Sharing Capability
One of the most powerful capabilities that a computing device user can have is the ability to share information between apps. Android has this capability, but it is quite weak and not well-thought out. It’s an integral and consistent part of Windows 8 on mobile platforms, whereas it seems to be haphazardly implemented in Android.
Don’t get me wrong, Android does give users the ability to share information across apps, but it’s clunky and not very easy to use. In Windows 8, you’ll find the Share feature in the Charms menu. Additionally, most apps written for Windows 8 have implemented sharing. The only app that I’m aware of that doesn’t have sharing capability is Google Chrome. All the other apps I know of make sharing straightforward and easy.
These are most assuredly not the only advantages that Windows 8 has over Android, but they are what I see as some of the major ones. You may feel that Android’s lack of Microsoft Office maybe a deal-breaker, but I don’t think that the majority of Android users would agree.
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