Eighth in a Series
This is part two of a look at App Stores between Windows 8.1 and Android 4.4 on a tablet. If you missed the first part please access it here (part 1).
In Part One I looked at the home page, collection views and the My Apps section. Part Two focuses on individual App pages and Search, including a summary for the winner of this round.
Upon entering an app, the description and install information shows on the left side in a column that can scroll down for more information (once you click Show More). You swipe left (or scroll wheel down) and that column moves with the rest of the page to see reviews, app update info (plus the type of devices it works on which frankly should be in the first column) and related apps. This forces you to scroll back if you wish to install the app. Poor design. Amazingly, you can install your apps on up to 81 devices! This can be limited by developers so not all apps will have this wide ranging ability.
The screenshots work well but do not provide a full screen view, just bigger versions of the images. Reviews are quite prominent and easy to read though to add your own review it is back on the first column rather than with the reviews! Again poor design.
Although, more and more apps are added daily for Windows 8.1, you may not have to purchase an app separately for Windows Phone 8.1. This is a big bonus, of course providing you use Windows Phone as well. The Windows Store shows if apps are available for Windows Phone with an icon that is a screen with a smartphone in front of it.
In the Google Play store when viewing an app you get a split-view. The left side scrolls separately from the right side. The left side provides app information which is available within Windows Store as well, but not as prominent. Here in Google Play the install button is on the top right, but as you scroll down, it stays right where it is, so you can access it easily.
The right side also provides screenshots but some apps include a video, a nice addition not available with Windows Store. The screenshots also appear full screen. If you scroll down you get access to more description information for the app as well as update info, where Windows split them into two different locations. As you go down you get to reviews and can easily add your own review.
When searching it not only shows an apps list but collections that have apps related to the search (if collections apply). You also are provided with dropdowns to narrow down your search more. It really helps with your search if you want just free apps for instance or ones with trials available. These dropdowns stay visible all the time even after scrolling unlike the install button as mentioned earlier. Performing a search overall provides good results and very little “junk”.
Search is what Google is known for but it is terrible on Android with Google Play. Sure you get good results to start with, but results just go on and on with matches eventually making no sense to your search. Windows won’t continue to show apps that are no longer relevant, though this effect might have some to do with the size of each app store. Also if you wish to narrow your search down there is only a choice for Apps, Games, Music, TV, etc. You cannot choose free/paid, high rating or even from a specific category of app. Frankly while it gets the job done, it falls flat feature-wise.
If this comparison was done even just a few weeks ago this battle may have turned out differently. Many of the problems with the Windows Store were resolved in its latest update. The app view is similar in both, but Windows seems a little bit disorganized and would be better if it had a split view like Google Play provides.
Both Google Play and Windows Store have plenty of junk apps, but do a fairly good job of helping point you towards good apps. Surprisingly the search giant Google can’t seem to provide a useful search option for their store, Windows is clearly superior.
I think the Windows Store is served well by keeping the Apps/Games separate from music, videos and books. Google Play just tries to do too much and loses its focus. There is no question the Windows Store is not only easier to navigate but provides more options to find an app that is of interest of you to use. Google Play may have more apps, but it is more important that you find the good apps amid the junk and here Windows wins.
Windows 3 Android 3
Next up: Summary of battle to this point
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