Tablets are a rage all over the world! Millions of people are choosing to buy these handheld computing devices, and therefore, the industry is eager to please its potential customers. Buyers can choose between different devices, not just based on hardware, but also on the operating system that they run on. Microsoft’s Windows 8, Apple’s iOS 6, and Google’s Android are the most popular operating systems in the market. Here is a look at which one is the best for tablets, and how they act differently between tablets and PCs.
Microsoft launched Windows 8 in October 2012, to power its tablets, desktops, laptops, and home theatre PCs. Available in four different editions, this OS is unique because it can run on almost any Microsoft computing device.
The company has developed a new user interface called ‘Metro’, which can be used for both tablets and PCs. Significant changes have been made over the previous operating system. The traditional Start menu, and desktop feel have been revamped. The standard home screen is now a grid of tiles that can be interacted with either through a touchscreen or through mouse clicks. Each of these tiles represents different types of applications.
The company has opened a Windows Store, where users can buy apps for Windows 8. You can also use a native Windows 8 Livedrive app, that allows you to backup and share data online. The Social app weaves together all your social networks, and the Bing Translator app is extremely efficient. Those who have grown up using the Notepad on Windows machines, will be delighted with the free note-taking app, which can be found inside the Toolbox. Applications like messaging, mail, calendar, etc, are also well crafted. Powerful tools let users sync all their apps, preferences, and browsing favourites across devices.
Windows 8’s duality, though ambitious and innovative, has not gone down well with PC users. Since the main focus is towards improving a user’s experience on a handheld, desktop and laptops users are having major issues when using the mouse or keyboard. Furthermore, the new interface is said to be confusing, and the learning curve is steep. Initially, users with tablets were also complaining as there are only 5000 apps available in the Windows Store, and most of them were very basic. However, Microsoft has solved that problem by raising their total number of apps to more than 100,000 including some of the must have apps for tablets. However, the closed platform of Windows Store is facing some flack.
Apple’s iOS 6 powers devices like the latest iPhones, iPads, iPods and the iPad mini. This OS is designed only for its touch devices, and completely different set of operating systems for its iMacs (desktops) and Macbooks (laptops).
The iOS 6 does not required a Mac or a PC for setting up, and comes with over 200 new features. As always, the company has not made radical changes to the OS, focusing instead on a more streamlined experience.
On the iOS 6, enhancements to Siri, Apple’s voice-controlled virtual personal assistant, have made it more responsive. The Photo app allows you to share photo streams across Apple devices, allowing others to like and comment on them. The NoteSuite app has been designed for taking notes, managing documents, viewing PDFs, and doing a lot more. The Passbook app lets users bring together all their tickets, cards, coupons, passes, etc. into a virtual collection. The app, based on time and location, reminds you when and where to use a particular coupon. The Music app has a new feel to it, and now comes with a Late Night mode. If you don’t want to receive any notifications, feel free to open up the Do Not Disturb app. The Reminders app, like its name suggests, reminds you to get your work done on time and at specific locations. The biggest overhaul to an app in iOS 6 has come in the form of the Maps app. Instead of Google Maps, Apple had shifted base to using its own maps. This ambitious move, however, has backfired to quite an extent. Apple Maps is prone to errors, and definitely many improvements.
iOS 6 is definitely the best operating system for iDevice owners. The apps don’t crash, and Apple has added features that have been in high demand for quite some time. This OS for handhelds is powerful, sleek, sharp, and like all Apple products, easy to use.
Google’s Android, an open-source operating system for handhelds, is extremely popular. It is not compatible with desktops and laptops, just like Apple’s iOS 6. Honeycomb was the first version of Android designed for tablets.
Since Google has maintained the open source nature of its OS, this allows different hardware manufacturers to make Android powered phones and tablets. People can choose between a wide range of products, some of which include the Samsung Galaxy Note, Sony Xperia Tablet, and Google Nexus. Furthermore, Android has 800,000 apps on its online store, Google Play. You can use the free Google Maps app for voice navigation. If you enjoy looking up at the night sky, you can use the Google Sky Map, which points out constellations and planets. There is also a WordPress app, designed specifically for Android. Most of the good apps are free, so getting hold of a Google powered tablet would give you the opportunity to access thousands of them.
Unfortunately, this OS does suffer from quality issues related to its apps. This could be a hindrance to everyday activities, both professional and personal.
Windows 8 it is the only OS which works on both PCs and tablets. However, it requires a lot of polish. Also, the choice of tablets that run on Windows is still limited. Microsoft has a long way to go in this particular market. In short, currently the competition is really between iOS 6 and Android.
Devices that run on these two operating systems are highly customizable with just a few downloads. Android users have the chance to choose between many different tablet brands, whereas Apple only has the iPad and the iPad Mini. Also, every app that is sold through the Apple App Store must first be approved by the company. On the other hand, Android lets everyone release their apps on Google’s online store.
Apple has 600 million users, and its app download has reached the 50 billion mark. Till date, the company has spent $10 billion on its app developers. Unfortunately for Android, most of its users still use the 2010 Gingerbread OS and not the latest Jelly Bean version. This means that though there are 900 million Android users, if a new app is released on Jelly Bean, 864 million can’t use it.
In terms of sheer app numbers, Apple is way ahead of Google. The Android OS also suffers from many quality issues, whereas iOS 6 operates extremely well. Those who already own an Apple device can also make use of the company’s inter-device compatibility after buying the iPad. Android is an extremely popular operating system but in terms of quality the iOS 6 is a few steps ahead. So the best tablet Operating System is Apple’s iOS 6!