Why a desktop OS doesn’t work on a tablet

Perceptive piece by Scott Gilbertson in The Register. Sample:

So far, despite Microsoft’s best efforts, the tablet world is still very much orbiting the twin stars of iOS and Android.

Having used a Samsung Windows 8 tablet for a few months, I have a theory as to why: you think you want a full desktop computer on your tablet – I certainly did — but you don’t. It simply doesn’t work.

In the case of Windows 8 you can blame some of the “not working” on the buggy, incomplete software that is Windows 8, but not all of the problems can be attributed to a shortcoming of touch APIs.

Much of what makes a full desktop interface terrible on a touch screen tablet is simply the whole desktop paradigm was never designed to be used on a tablet and it shows. The Metro interface for Windows 8 is excellent; different, but in my experience really well done.

Where Windows 8 on a tablet falls apart is when you try to bring the software keyboard to the traditional desktop interface on a tablet. The software keyboard takes up half the screen, which makes even simple tasks difficult. How to you rename a file and move it? First you tap it to select it, then you tap the button to bring up the keyboard, then you type, then you touch away the keyboard, then you touch the file again. It isn’t just awkward and slow; it’s downright antagonizing.

Yep.

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