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Sunday, March 4, 2012

4 ways Windows 8 beats iOS and Android


Windows 8 debuted recently, and most reviews are raving about how good it is. Microsoft, in fact, even announced that the OS had made more than 1 million downloads in the first 24 the OS’ test version was released.


One report even stated that Microsoft could leapfrog Apple with Windows 8, but how does the OS compare against Android?
Well according to a report on Wired.com, the customer preview beats the best that iOS and Android have to offer for now. Here are 5 ways Windows 8 beats iOS and Android:


1. The Picture Password: The picture password feature has been talked about since Windows developer preview and the test version of Windows 8 has made it open to everybody to try out. This alternative system unlocking option is easy, convenient and a lot more fun to use compared to the other options traditionally used, according to Wired’s review of the Windows 8.

People had their doubts about its efficacy in keeping password thefts at bay, but Microsoft detailed how this method is actually better, in a blog post, saying “the use of three gestures provides a significant number of unique gesture combinations and a similar security promise to a password of 5 or 6 randomly chosen characters. Additionally, using three gestures ensures a Picture Password that is easy to remember and quick to use.”
The same blog post also explained how this method could be even more secure than the traditional PIN-based security measures.  “If the user is free to use any combination of taps, circles, and lines, then the total number of permutations is, where n is the length of the picture password, and m is the number of points of interest.” (We’ll leave you to do the math). “Assuming the average image has 10 points of interest, and a gesture sequence length of 3, there are 8 million possible combinations, making the prospect of guessing the correct sequence within 5 tries fairly remote,” the blog post said.
 A report on Ars technica had Amol Sarwate, research manager at security management vendor Qualys, back Microsoft’s claim, saying “Based on your gestures, the circles you draw, the size of the circle, the direction of the circle, the lines that you draw on the screen, the machine creates a password which is virtually impossible to crack.”



2. You can switch apps easily based on your gestures:  It’s obvious that Windows has taken time off to implement a cohesive design-sensitive interface, but the way the OS works with regard to recent apps, is just easy and intuitive, according to Wired’s review. Google’s latest Ice Cream Sandwich version of the Android OS had this feature: it pulled up the most recently used apps when you clicked on the system bar icon; but Windows 8’s feature comes off as a lot more instinctive-- a swipe from the left edge of the device immediately brings up the last app you used. Since it’s a natural gesture, Wired says there are very few chances of you doing it by mistake.



The best part of this feature is that it’s as fast as channel browsing—but on your tablet.
If you have a number of apps open, the gesture-based app-switching feature allows you to move through the apps by swiping (or moving your mouse) back and forth along the edge of the (touch)screen to show you preview windows of the apps you have open. From there, the app is just a click or a touch away.
Now although iOS 5 for iPad too had a similar strategy to navigate through the open apps, you would either have to double-tap the icons of all the apps lined up, or you’d have to use four fingers to swipe your way to the app you need. In comparison with the gesture needed to navigate through Windows 8, it’s unnatural.


 Swiping with just a finger-- and allowing you to do it with ease is another elegant, quick and involuntary solution that makes the Windows 8 OS score.


3. The “Chromeless” full-screen app experience: The whole OS is designed like the Metro interface that was introduced in the Windows 7 phones. The interface on the OS is stripped of “chrome”, i.e. all those busy interface elements that can trash a desktop or app interface are all gone. There are no menu bars, task bars or even navigational buttons which are permanently pinned to the display. Now icons such as the battery signal (which indicates the charge on your device), time, navigational buttons and other icons that link to other information are all done away with. When you are using an app, you are given access to the full-screen app, so that your activity is not interrupted by such icons. You can check the time when you want to, or check out other apps at a whim.
This is another way the Windows 8 OS beats the iOS and Android—they have these icons pinned to the user interface no matter what app you are on.
A number of iOS apps have the navigational buttons persist across the app's entire user experience. And even apps that don't do this have a thin bar at the top of the screen showing data connection strength, the time, and other things. These icons are permanently locked to the iOS home display.
In the case of the Android Ice Cream Sandwich there are three virtual navigation buttons at the bottom of the screen that persist all over the UI. Most of the time there is also a bar across the top of the screen (which mimics the iOS screen) in addition to the buttons at the bottom of the screen.


4. The style and utility of the Home Screen:  iOS allows you to organize your home screen app icons so you can place your favorite ones within reach. Android on the other hand, allows you to add to rearranged icons, the ones that have updated information so that your home screen looks personalized.
Windows 8 gives you the best of both of these so that you can organize your apps tidily like you can on an iOS, but also do it with the freedom of personalization, and utility that was offered by Android.
Moreover, Android widgets usually have their own developer-specific themes and designs, so when you put them all together on your home screen, you could end up with a busy and chaotic patchwork-quilt-looking home screen. Windows 8, in comparison has live tiles which update information just like the Android widgets. Although you can organize them in any order they have a consistent look and feel, and you can choose whether they should be square or rectangular in shape.