I’ve tested a handful of Windows XP and Windows 7 netbooks with touchscreen devices over the past year or two, and generally I’ve been pretty unimpressed. The impression that I get is that Windows simply isn’t designed for touch input the way Apple iOS and Google Android are. Sure, there’s support for some touch navigation gestures, but some user interface elements are too small to tap with your fingers, the on-screen keyboard is difficult to use, and most apps were designed for a keyboard and mouse, not fingertip or stylus.
But you know what? The problem might not be the software, but rather the hardware. I haven’t tested a good slate PC with a fast processor and a capacitive touchscreen display yet. But YouTube user lordfingle managed to get his hands on a Hanvon Slate PC running Windows 7 and he shot a side-by-side comparison video with an Apple iPad.
The Hanvon actually fares pretty well. Pinch-to-zoom features look a lot slower on the Hanvon, and while lordfingle seems pretty adept at using the on-screen keyboard, it still looks a lot smaller and tougher to use to me than than the iPad keyboard. But in terms of speed, the Hanvon tablet wins in most areas. It launches apps quickly, loads YouTube video in a flash, and features a webcam and USB ports to boot.
On the other hand, the iPad’s full screen apps like the email and calendar apps put Outlook to shame in for handheld use. While lordfingle seems pretty happy with Outlook, at about 2:41 when the Outlook calendar pops up on top of an email window I just shook my head.
The video also doesn’t look at any Windows apps that require hovering a mouse for navigation, or drop-down menus that might be hard to navigate with a thick fingertip. But overall, the Hanvon tablet appears to make a pretty good case for Windows 7 as a tablet-friendly operating system — if you have the hardware to back up the software.
You can check out the video after the break.
The only problem with Windows 7 is the virtual keyboard.Make these keys smaller:Tab, Caps, Shift, and the Return key and you got a good virtual keyboard.Also Tabtip auto suggestion is slow, so using OSK sometimes is faster when typing longer messages. It also learns from what you are typing so the next time you type then it suggests words faster.OSK Link – https://www.lenovos103t.com/2010/06/on-screen-ke…One thing that helps the UI in Windows 7 become more touch friendly is upping the DPI size, which is an easy process.Linky – https://www.lenovos103t.com/2010/05/changing-dpi…Excellent video. I’m so linking this to my blog 🙂
Seeing this makes me hope a company comes out with a 10 inch screen notebook with a CULV CPU.
My guess is that the zoom issue is due to Internet Explorer only supporting steps in zooming, whereas the iPad has infinitely variable zoom levels.
Brad I know you’ve seen the skin overlay things that independent companies are offering but that is kinda what Windows needs to come out with. A skin or OS overlay that gives the user bigger icons and a all-round better touch experience. If they can do that and work with all the manufacturers like HP, Acer, Toshiba etc. on low-cost tablet machines they will embarrass apple with the amount they’ll be able to sell.
I give people this experience around town all day long (when I’m feeling bold, I do it at the mall just outside the Apple store). Not news to me.
Windows 7 on a real tablet doesn’t hold it’s own against the iPad. It blows it away. It SHOULD. It’s a full operating system running on real hardware, and the iPad runs a stripped down operating system that won’t even offially support Flash. That the iPad keeps up on some tasks isn’t a surprise either. You can build a car in your garage that hits 55 MPH, but that doesn’t mean that the Toyota Camry is holding it’s own against your hobby car. As a corollary, the iPad’s is most comparable to a smartphone. The functionality overlap is the most significant. In contrast, the iPad can only do a subset of what an actual tablet can do. Even if it did everything the same as or better than a tablet, it still wouldn’t be able to do as much. In fact, the iPad can only do a subset of what an actual netbook can do. It’s limited both by its hardware and by its software, and it’s limited on purpose.
I think that most people who are going to be happy USING a slate will want a Windows 7 one. I think that most people who just want an iPad/Android slate would be happier with a full Linux deployment (so that they don’t have to constantly whine about what version of the OS their device runs, is allowed to run, or runs well).
Mobile phone operating systems on large devices are ridiculous. They were ridiculous 10 years ago when Microsoft did it. People are out their buying oversized versions of their favorite smartphones because they believe that the experience on a large screen is going to be even better than the experience on a small screen. It’s not the screen’s fault. It’s the OS’s fault. It’s a mobile OS, and it’s not going to get appreciably better just because it’s on a large screen. Real software on real hardware is going to be better. In my experience, the only people who seem genuinely surprised by these concepts are the people who buy iPads.
Hmm, I think that this just makes the point go home more strongly… The iPad is holding it’s own, and is better on some tasks and uses a processor so powerful that it is, wait for it, is pretty common on smart phones.
I don’t like the iPad. Even after watching the video, I still think that Windows 7 isn’t the answer when it comes to tablets. If it takes that much more powerful of hardware to make the experience somewhat comparable, imagine what a optimized software stack could do.
The end part about the camera, usb & SD cards was pretty funny. 😀
Comments are closed.