Windows 8 was a bold move for Microsoft. And whether you are a regular Microsoft or iOS user, businesses looking to build a line of business mobile applications should consider Windows 8 a front runner, specifically if its touch application would augment what you want to do.
What Does Windows 8 Bring?
In one word: touch. While you could utilize mobile applications using previous versions of Windows, Window 8 makes touch part of the platform's DNA. In fact, it was designed specifically with touch in mind. Any application today that is deployed to your mobile workforce should be considered a candidate for an upgrade to Windows 8.
Remember, you have an enterprise operating system with Windows 8. It is capable of plugging into your organization's network like any other Windows PC. No special concerns about security, VPNs, “apps,” management, etc. As opposed to the iPad (or Android tablet), from a systems standpoint, a Windows 8 PC will act and function just as your field laptops today.
Windows 8 vs. iPad
From what we have seen in corporate development environments, the iPad has been developed on and used mainly in sales and marketing roles only. The iPad is typically better for "content consumption," like checking email or browsing the web. Apple tends to design their products for individual users; they aren't necessarily the best tools in the workplace.
So if you are considering an iPad application and you have Windows machines, you need to give Windows 8 serious consideration. Here are just a few reasons why Window 8 may be the right decision over an iPad or Android device:
Windows 8 devices will fit right in with your Windows network. It is a PC and essentially is running the same operating system under the hood as Windows 7. Since many businesses are already running their programs on Windows 7, Windows 8 is simply the next step. While some training is required to make the upgrade, very little has to change to support Windows 8 tablets.
Windows 8 (like your other PCs) supports USB devices and memory sticks. Want more memory? Buy it and add it. How about using a USB headset or flashdrive? No problem. Printing? Again, no problem. No need for extra apps or special connectors.
Windows 8 supports the same models of PC manufacturers as they always have. That means choices. Lenovo probably has some of the most varied and innovative devices that we have seen. Microsoft of course offers the Surface which is worth consideration. If you don't like what they have dreamed up, you have additional choices from Asus, Acer, HP, Dell and others.
Your Work Applications
Notice, I did not say “apps.” Sometimes people with iPads go out of their way to prove they are functional with their iPads, often not realizing that trying to get through the workday without something that runs a real mail client like Outlook just doesn't work. Add into the fact that Word, Excel and PowerPoint are in most cases part of every workday as well. I know I fire all of them up almost once a day for one reason or the other. There are those legacy applications that may require some version of Windows to run appropriately.
Finally, since I actually use a mouse and large external monitor, a tablet/touch only solution is out of the question. A Windows 8 hybrid PC gives me the best of both worlds.
Image courtesy of Peshkova (Shutterstock)