Windows or Android?

I am putting together a series of short blog articles, to help advise people on their buying choices. At the end of the series, I am going to put together a guide.

If your shopping for a smart phone, or a tablet, one question you may be faced with is which is better, Windows or Android?

Every OS has its advantages and disadvantages. They exist on a spectrum in a way. So what is good for one person, may not be for another.

Android is an OS, that is highly touch optimized. The devices come in high-end, and budget varieties. There is a volume of apps that is only paralleled by iOS. It’s a very easy OS to use, with a wide variety of apps, and it is cheaper and more customizable than iOS. More than customization, because it is based on Linux, there is a little more power in it. One can for example, run a commandline in Android.

On the downside, a lot of software, paid or free on touch platforms like Android or iOS are not so great. Indeed because the majority of users –¬†few of them pay for software, and often their needs and expectations for such software are much lower than with desktop OS’s, we get software like freemium software, that is equal parts irritation and satisfaction, with the satisfaction sometimes not being so great.

Windows 8.1 is an OS that is slightly less touch optimized. While the live tiles screen offers a very easy mode of use, and the windows store many touch optimized apps, the real power of Windows lies in where it bridges with the desktop. There are less touch apps, by a large amount. Compensating for this slightly, is the fact that what apps exist, are reasonably high caliber.

However, the paid desktop software is of a caliber that does not even compare with most touch based software. There is a power in Windows. You can automatically detect and printer to a network printer, plug in a vast range of peripherals, either wired or by wifi or bluetooth. The software has the power to do things, that pretty much nothing in the Apple store for iOS or the Google Play store can manage. Games won’t ask you to constantly pay more money. They have depth. And you can run specialist desktop software – emulators, terminal software, databases and more. The browser can be unlike many in Android, fully featured, it can run all the Java, Quicktime and other code on a full website.

Ultimately the choice between the two will come down to how much ‘power’ you need, as a user in your software, and whether that needs to be strongly touch optimized. If you are primarily looking for basic browsing, social media apps, and want the device to intergrate those services simply and well, Android is the go to OS. Its refined for the purpose. If offers good customization, compatibility and price compared with iOS, and yet has similar advantages.

If you are after a device with the potential for broader uses, or more software power, such as using it at the office, or for study, or for applications like music, or gaming (Keeping in mind that for many such games, they will need to be a bit older and you may need a gaming controller, keyboard or mouse -I’ll have a nice gaming bracket soon btw) – you might consider a Windows device.

Each OS suits a different style of use. However we may also have to watch this space. Windows 10, out very soon, promises to be further touch optimized, and offers a universal app platform that may drive developers away from OS specific software. And this may minimize some of the differences.