Perspective: iOS, Android, and Windows RT are good tablet OSes

I've been lurking mostly for the last year or more on The Verge, and the levels of antagonism towards users of other platforms has been a bit toxic in some threads. I will be upfront and say that I am a Windows user for phone, PC, and console, but my family use XP, iPhones, an Android tablet, and Nooks. There are pros and cons to every device, operating system, ecosystem, platform, etc. out there. Technology is very exciting, but that passion for futuristic devices gets a bit much. All three of the major tablet operating systems right now are good.

Each of these apps brings some important strengths:

iOS, being the first, is the most established player. Because Apple is the only manufacturer of the operating system and the hardware it is used on, consumers can enjoy an experience perfectly tailored to that device. Developers have had a great deal of time to work on these applications and respond to years of user feedback to create an intuitive, user-friendly experience. Consumers have the peace of mind knowing that if the app is in the App Store and they can download it, it should work properly on the device.

Android has been around for some time now, and Google has done a lot to evolve the OS and interface. Though I don't get to use it much on Windows devices, I really like the card interface Google seems to be incorporating into their own applications. I've found that Android appeals most to the tinkerers. My friends and colleagues who seem to enjoy Android the most are people who like to fiddle with hardware and software to make things work the way they want them to. Android is also fairly cost effective with the wide variety of competing hardware.

Windows RT is the latest to the party, but brings a new approach to the tablet operating system. Windows RT focuses on multitasking by using two apps at once (soon to be more) and quick app switching, usability with many peripheral PC accessories, can perform as a workstation, and brings a different approach to app notifications. Additionally, because it's Windows, different manufacturers can provide a wide variety of hardware options to fit differing consumer needs, but consumers can trust the software

Each platform also has some weaknesses:

iOS can be considered expensive by some who cannot warrant spending upwards of thousands of dollars the Apple ecosystem. iOS also faces the problem now of slow innovation due to the ubiquity of its tablet and phone OS. Just as many consumers are reacting negatively to Microsoft changing the user experience of Windows with the Metro interface, Apple will likely face consumer backlash to changing the dimensions of the iPad to suit software innovations along the way.

Android's biggest problem is fragmentation, and sometimes having to wait for applications to come to the platform after iOS. Some consumers end up purchasing Android tablets only to find that they can only acquire apps from the Amazon ecosystem when they expected to access the Google Play store. Also, like older Windows operating systems, a significant amount of Android hardware is very cheap, especially touchscreens.

Windows RT is currently facing many of the first generation problems iOS and Android faced. Inconsistent and poor marketing have not leveraged the consumer benefits Windows RT brings to the table and people have gotten used to certain ecosystems over the years. People used to the Apple app ecosystem or Google's have had a hard time fully switching experiences.

The compromise:

Just as everyone does not have to wear the same clothing, drive the same care, or use the same software, everyone does not need to use the same mobile operating system. Consumers should pick devices and ecosystems that fit who they are. A person living in New York city may never need to drive, but a person living in the rural south can't get anywhere without a personal means of transportation. Each platform has its pros and cons, but that doesn't make each one inherently bad or good.

I personally want to get a Windows tablet. For the last few years, I've used a Dell Latitude d830 with an Intel chipset (the computer is almost dead on me) that I've installed Windows 8 to in the hopes of extending its life. I also have had an xbox 360 since 2008, a Lumia 900 since May 2012, and a Nook (recently replaced by BN for a Simple Touch) since March 2012. After I started using comixology to read comic books, I've been borrowing an iPad a lot to read them more comfortably. Between the web browsing, comic reading, and general consumption, coupled with the usefulness of my ereader, I'm completely sold on a tablet.

However, because I've used Windows 8 so much, I find myself frustrated with iOS because I can't snap skype to the side to talk to friends when I'm doing something on the browser or reading a comic. I also missed the ability to quickly cycle through applications by clicking the top left corner or swiping from the side (we use Windows 8 in our office). I felt limited by what I could do while using an iPad. I found myself pulling out my phone to do secondary tasks instead of just using the iPad.

My point is that while I think it's important to discuss the merits of a platform, the goal should not be to enforce consensus on the topic. I think rather than talking about how Windows 8/RT lacks app parity, we can instead talk about how some apps are coming, what third party replacements there are, and acknowledge that IE10 is actually a really good browser for touch. Instead of talking about how awful windows 8 is in portrait, talk about the usability benefits of snapping applications in widescreen is and the benefit of having your user experience translate across device styles.

We live in a period with a lot of really cool technology. It's a bit frustrating sometimes that conversations about the tools and experiences created by companies turns into a fight between their consumers. I think, in the end, we all lose out as a result.