Two years ago you had three tablet options. Windows XP which required a stylus, Android for the phone or iPad. It was kind of a no brainer to go with the iPad. Since then a number of promised tablet OS systems have failed to make any impression including HP WebOS, RIMs tablet and MeeGo.
Not surprising at all the three giants that dominate our age have produced three tablet OS, but how do they compare. Microsoft, Apple and Google's Android are in a struggle over this key space in the computer industry. Today we just look at the high level style and feel.
Okay after ranting against this for a while we have to say that the new Start page rocks. It is easy to handle, had a clear easy to see color layout, and nice big buttons. Not sure how it will scale up when it has to handle hundreds of apps but it certainly looks good with the dozen of so apps we had, and easy to find apps and launch them with a finger. I found that the Windows 8 start screen is better for finding a large number of apps than the Android layout.
Odd as it is to say this: Windows 8 has pretty. Since you are probably going to be carrying a tablet around with you all the time, and maybe even falling asleep with one, you certainly want a home screen that looks nice. And you get that with Windows 8. It looks a lot better than my Android tablets.
Not surprisingly Windows 8 is pushing you to use your MSN/Hotmail license. It would have been nice to have Microsoft actually build good Cloud services before pushing then on us, but Microsoft's Cloud will also be a long term advantage to Windows 8.
Microsoft has embraced the App Store model. Now for the ecosystem to build stuff. This is probably the do or die feature but no doubt Redwood will be able to get plenty of people to build apps.
Windows 8 Best feature is it is Windows! That is to say you can use it in the same way you can use a PC, which Android and Apple iOS remain mostly large phones. So you can launch your Office applications and work on it just like a PC, something you really can't fully do with an iPad or Androids.
Android Ice Cream Sandwich
Like all the OS for tablet the makers are locking you in to their Cloud, in Google's case there is the Cloud there to make it really worth your while. I have been using Google Cloud for some time and it makes Android a logical chose for me, as it has my mail, pictures, blogs, and documents in one place. If you are not so linked in to Google Cloud Android is easily the worst of the three tablet OS. I hate to have to write this but it is my opinion.
Android does boot up much faster than Windows 8, so you will get more function out of your hardware. But it still is essentially a big phone. Not really a work device yet.
Essentially Ice Cream Sandwich is a way to navigate a tree of apps. The graphic quality of this experience will vary with hardware producer, but generally it is inferior to Apple. The interface of app icons leaves something to be desired. This interface is substandard to the new Start screen developed for Windows 8.
Apple iPad iOS
What can be said about this device of devices? Hard to think of anything that can be said that has not been said already. For what it is it is perfect. Easy and fun to use, amazing graphic quality, intuitive UI design iPad sets the standards for all other tablets.
Apple is the standard everyone else aims to.
The largest collections of app in the Universe provide a rich set of useful tools.
A media system that set the worlds standard. The best mobile surface for video, movies and music very created.
If I could find one thing to fault the iPad with is that it is not much of a work tool. The productivity tools all end up being little more than note taking tools or document reading tools. Windows 8 ability to run Office will be a real defining feature that will likely cost iOS in the future, unless they counter it quickly.
Okay its still really just a big phone, but oh what a big phone it is.