10 Questions to Ask Before Investing in Windows 8 Tablets for your Company

Should these employees be given Windows 8 tablets as soon as possible? Is this system truly “revolutionizing” how companies handle mobility? This article presents 10 questions commonly asked by customers looking into Windows 8 for their business needs.


10 Questions to Ask Before Investing in Windows 8 Tablets for your Company

Tablette WindowsAs a relatively new operating system, Windows 8 raises a number of questions for those in the business world, especially when it comes to selecting equipment for mobile employees. Should these employees be given Windows 8 tablets as soon as possible? Is this system truly “revolutionizing” how companies handle mobility? This article presents 10 questions commonly asked by customers looking into Windows 8 for their business needs.


1 – What are the consequences of having two Windows 8 environments?

Windows 8 offers two different user modes, regardless of whether it is being operated on a laptop PC or a tablet. The first, Modern UI, is new and represents a complete departure from old ways; the other, Desktop, is the traditional interface already familiar to PC users. The Desktop mode allows users to continue to use their existing business applications while the Modern UI mode requires users to purchase or develop totally new applications compatible with this environment. Users can switch from one mode to the other, but the machine always starts up in Modern UI mode.

In the Desktop mode, all of the active applications share the memory and can communicate amongst themselves, but can also potentially interfere with one another or the system. It the Modern UI mode, applications run only in unshared virtual mode and communications between these applications is complicated. The market does not seem to be very receptive to this new environment, especially since it requires that existing applications be redeveloped.


2 – Is Windows 8 the only solution compatible with all types of mobile devices?

There are Windows 8 versions for laptop PCs with Intel architecture (both non-convertible and convertible into tablets), for smartphones, and for tablets with non-Intel processors. However, the common denominate of all of these different versions is the Modern UI mode. This means that the device must be equipped with new applications developed exclusively for Modern UI to have a hope (although not a certainty) that applications will work on all of these different types of hardware. The applications that run on the traditional Desktop require devices with an Intel architecture (laptop PCs and convertible tablets) and do not work on other devices (smartphones and non-Intel RT tablets).


3 – Is Windows 8 designed exclusively for touch devices?

In order to meet a variety of business needs, manufacturers such as Fujitsu, Hewlett Packard, Lenovo, Panasonic, Samsung, Toshiba, offer traditional, non-touch laptop PCs, as well as Windows 8 touch tablets that can be converted into laptop PCs or laptop PCs that can be converted into touch tablets. Sales force can use tablets to present their products via a touch catalogue and then fill out a report on the customer’s visit using a keyboard.


4 – Does Windows 8 help companies cut IT costs?

IT managers are seeing costs rise as mobile devices serve more and more functions in business. Windows 8 laptop PCs that combine tablet and PC functionality in a single device make it possible to cut hardware purchases in half. Existing business applications can still be used in the Desktop mode, thereby preventing significant software investments.


5 – Is Windows 8 a solution for the proprietary world?

Like Android, Windows 8 is a hardware-independent operating system. As a result, many device makers are integrating Windows 8 into their tablets and PCs. This is a major plus for any company that wants to avoid being dependent on a single device manufacturer. In addition the company can choose specialized Windows 8 devices for specific applications (e.g., rugged terminals).


6 – Can all necessary business applications be downloaded from the Windows Store?

Only Modern UI applications can be downloaded from the Windows Store; these applications are not compatible with the Desktop environment. Also, the company may allow its employees to install and update Modern UI applications via a private store; this is known as Side Loading. However, depending on the Windows 8 version, the company may be required to hold certificates, which it must purchase from Microsoft (i.e., “tokens”).


7 – Are there any obstacles to integrating Windows 8 tablets within a company’s IS?

Windows 8 tablets with Intel architecture can be fully integrated in the AD (Active Directory) since IT is well accustomed to working with the Desktop environment.


8 – Are there any document compatibility problems?

Compared to other mobile systems on the market, Windows 8 has the advantage of drawing on all of the prior development work that went into desktop computers. Thus, Office users can view, update, and share texts, graphics, and spread sheets without any compatibility or data-loss issues when going from a laptop PC to a tablet.


9 – Are business applications compatible with a Windows 8 tablet?

Any application that works on Windows 7 or earlier is compatible with Windows 8, but only in the Desktop environment. Existing Desktop applications are not compatible with Modern UI; they have to be redeveloped to be used in this new environment.


10 – What is the best way to manage and secure a fleet of Windows 8 tablets?

There are mobile device management (MDM) products, such as MediaContact, that are available for use with Windows 8. These tools can be used to control a variety of different devices (tablets, laptop PCs, etc.) from a single console. MediaContact stands out as a way to manage how applications are installed, updated and uninstalled in both Desktop and Modern UI mode.



There has been some reluctance to adopt Windows 8, and opinions are mixed. Certain users have expressed regret over the elimination of the start button, for instance. However the new features to be introduced in Windows 8.1 may very well include the return of this menu and direct access to the traditional desktop. Windows 8’s Modern UI mode represents a major technological breakthrough. At the same time, this new system co-exists side-by-side with an old standby, the time-tested Windows Desktop. PCs or Intel tablets using Windows 8 provide much of the same functionality as mobile devices while allowing companies to continue to benefit from the large investments they have made in Windows-based software; this is why we have seen so many projects involving business tablets make the leap to Windows 8 over the last few months. This is a trend worth watching.