Although there are plenty of Windows based tablets out there already (HP Slate, Panasonic, and others), it's no secret that Microsoft's powerful OS doesn't have what it takes to provide a decent touch friendly experience.
Sure, there are some finger gestures, scrollable lists and other small gimmicks. The HP slate even comes with multi-touch support and pinch to zoom capabilities – cool. BUT, what about the "close" button which is not finger friendly? What about the keyboard that is floating on your content? What about the tiny tray icons area which is hard to operate even with a stylus?
Nope, Microsoft's Windows OS doesn't fit a tablet yet. And now that the tablets market is beginning to slow down Windows sales – it's time to react: Microsoft recently introduced a new shell for Windows 8 which is all about touch: finger friendly, flat a-la Metro design – exactly it should have been 2 years ago. But better late than never, right?
The new UI sits on top of the regular Windows and the user can seamlessly switch back and froth between both the worlds. Take a look:
Windows Phone 7 style lock screen:
Finger friendly multi-tasking:
Onscreen keyboard, identical to the one in Windows Phone 7
I love it. I think it makes sense to use the Metro design and once 3rd party applications will become touch friendly – the package will be perfect (at first I expect it to have issues: just from looking at the video below I can tell Excel will be far away from being tablet ready…)
Here's the full video:
And one last thought: iOS is amazing and all, but once Windows becomes tablets ready and combines a nice user interface with a true desktop power – I don't think there will be any doubts what platform is stronger. Then it will remain only a matter of content (iOS apps vs. Windows applications & tools) and hardware specs (battery, performance, etc.).