Fourth in a Series
No operating system can show all the apps that you have downloaded in a simple to use manner without an all apps view – unless you don’t download more apps than it ships with. So let’s see how they compare in today’s battle.
Here you might think the All Apps view would be similar to the Start Screen and be just a bunch of tiles, but that isn’t the case. It is basically a file list with icons and a text description next to it. By default it will show the apps in alphabetical order with separators for each letter. It also will highlight any newly installed apps (which was added recently since otherwise they can get lost or forgotten).
You can decide to organize it by category, most used or date installed. It is helpful to have these alternate choices and as well you can choose in settings to view more apps. This will make the listing denser by a bit. You also get a handy search bar if you can’t be bothered to look through the list. However the listing isn’t consistent.
You’d think that all apps whether desktop or a Modern app would be listed alphabetically. That isn’t the case. Some desktop apps are listed alphabetically, some are listed afterwards in an extended list that is more common to the crap that used to collect in the old Start Menu. At least the Modern apps don’t end up in this no man’s land. I wish there wasn’t a no man’s land and all programs were in the ALL apps view (including desktop apps). You do get lots of options for each listing with right-click on desktop and a swipe gesture on touch to uninstall apps or pin them on the Start Menu/Taskbar.
The all apps view separates its view between Apps and Widgets. The listing can only be sorted alphabetically though there are apps you can use to provide more features here and elsewhere to customize Android. The list is big on icons, smaller on text but snappy to navigate.
You can’t adjust the 7 x 4 grid of icons (without an app) but it is quite manageable in sections like this. It is true it doesn’t have to mess with desktop programs, but as long as you know your alphabet you can find things. It is easy to uninstall an app (just hold down on it and drag it to the trash – hidden until you need it) or you can drag it and easily place it on your home screen.
As most know, Android has widgets unlike the live tiles of Windows. So in the All Apps view you can view the available widgets to place on your home screens. They don’t do anything unless you put them there. Depending on the app may or may not have options to use a widget. The basic style is shown for how it will look and you can drag it to the home screen for placement. Once it is there you can often stretch or shrink it some to better fit your needs.
For Windows it provides you some good options built-in for organizing the layout although depends upon you to read descriptions rather than identify apps by the icon. Android provides one view but you can generally easily identify most apps by their icon and can read the description if unsure. Windows doesn’t need widgets since the choice of having a live tile is up the app but all apps have that option easily available. Android’s apps can also provide widgets but they require separate placement to use, not part of the icon/tile.
I find in Windows I don’t use the All Apps view often, I put the apps I use on the Start Screen. I only go to All Apps when I need to pin a new app to the Start Screen (an annoyance that worked the way it should in the first release of Windows 8 – note below regarding this). In Android I have no qualms at all about using All Apps using it regularly even though it might be quicker to put apps on my Home Screens. Since this is a battle regarding tablets I have to give the nod to Android. I prefer the focus on visuals vs the text heavy Windows view.
Android wins another round.
Windows 1 Android 2
Next up: Keyboards
Devices used in comparison
Asus Vivotab Smart: Windows 8.1 Update 1, 10.1” screen 1366×768, microsd slot, micro hdmi, micro USB, 2mp front camera, 8mp rear camera w/flash, 64GB storage, 2GB RAM, NFC, 2in1 audio jack.
Nexus 7 (original): Android KitKat 4.4.2, 7” screen 1280×800, micro USB, 1.2 mp front camera, 8GB storage, 1GB RAM, NFC, headphone jack
note: In Windows 8 apps automatically appeared on the Start Screen and you could them just move them where you wanted. This behavior was changed in Windows 8.1 where they no longer appeared there, only in all apps. This is dumb for tablets since you rarely will use desktop apps and those were typical the jokers that added stuff you didn’t want in your Start Menu. People complained and Microsoft listened but didn’t give us an option to stay with the proper method.