by September 27, 2012 0 comments



Both Apple and Google are still reluctant to venture into creating a unified platform. Apple, which utilized iOS on its iPhone series and Mac OSX on its Macintosh PCs, has said that there will still be clear boundaries dividing these user experiences. Microsoft has leveraged its global OS dominance to set the trend for the future, offering a singular Windows 8 experience across all devices. Here are the disadvantages and advantages this could offer to developers and users.

The Pitfalls Involved

1) Converging a toaster & a refrigerator

The words above were uttered by Apple’s CEO Tim Cook when he was asked about the concept of a PC/tablet hybrid system. This reflects one of the main sentiments users had when using Windows 8 on a PC, that it felt completely designed for tablets! The new Windows 8 UI (called Metro UI earlier) is the default screen for Windows 8, and the user has to explicitly switch over to the desktop environment to use traditional apps. Actions that would be intuitive on a touch screen device are obnoxiously difficult on a desktop environment. And the worst part? The traditional desktop screen and Metro screen work as independent systems, which makes switching between apps difficult for the user. Also, the Metro apps could be very distracting in an enterprise environment, but too bad Microsoft has not given an option to switch them off!

2) Compatibility issues

A unified platform will have to come in various flavors to cater to different kinds of hardware it can run on. For example, Microsoft will be releasing two forms of their new OS: Windows 8 for Intel-based chipsets, and Windows RT for ARM-based chipsets. However, there can be a major problem in this. Will one version of Windows 8 provide the same user experience as the other? While Microsoft says “definitely”, it remains to be seen if applications will work the same way across various hardware architectures. For example, the RT version will not be able to support a traditional desktop. Similarly, users may become disgruntled that older versions of their favorite Windows applications don’t work on Windows 8. If this is not addressed properly, it will cause havoc among consumers.

The Rewards of A Unified Platform


1) Universal user experience with the power of cloud

When you move from a mobile to a desktop in today’s world, you have to go through the learning curve of adjusting to a new interface. But with a unified platform, such a need becomes obsolete. For example, Windows 8 supposedly offers the same user experience when you move from a tablet to a PC. Hence, users will have a high comfort level between various devices, and will be pleased with the convergence of technologies. Also, a unified platform can harness the power of the cloud to synchronize data across all devices. Imagine using your mobile to download apps and documents on the go, only to get back home and realize that all of the same stuff you downloaded is already synced to your home PC. Wouldn’t that be awesome!

2) Write once, run anywhere

Currently, developers have to write separate code to build applications to run on the iOS and Mac OSX system. An app that is delivered on an iPhone will not simply work on a MacBook. However, a unified platform makes such a difficulty obsolete. Developers will be able to code an app on a single framework and deliver that to multiple devices. This is extremely important as it avoids reduplication of effort and accelerates delivery of projects for clients. On Windows 8, Metro-style apps can be developed using several languages, including C++,C# and JavaScript.

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