Windows 8 vs. iPad. Splashtop says: ‘Can’t we all just get along?’

by David Needle

April 13 2012

The Win8 Metro Testbed simulates the look of the Windows 8 Metro interface on an Pad. This screen shows how you can swipe from the right to view Win8's Charms menu.
The Win8 Metro Testbed simulates the look of the Windows 8 Metro interface on an Pad. This screen shows how you can swipe from the right to view Win8's Charms menu.

There’s a battle looming this fall when the first wave of Windows 8 tablets will be released, ready to take on the iPad.

But one company is looking to bridge the gap between the two platforms, at least for developers.

Splashtop has released Win8 Metro Testbed, a remote desktop app that lets software developers -- or anyone else for that matter -- simulate the Windows 8 environment on an iPad. Essentially, developers can use the software, to test Windows 8 native Metro UI touch gestures on an iPad as they code and compile new apps on their Windows PC.

The company thinks there should be a ready market for Windows 8 Metro Testbed. 

“Since Apple’s App Store generates over 80% of all tablet app revenue, nearly every software developer that writes apps for tablets has an iPad,” said Mark Lee, Splashtop CEO and co-founder. “With Windows 8 Metro expected to ship on over 400 million new PCs and tablets annually, these developers have high expectations for an enormous new market. 

But developers would typically test these apps with the help of a Windows 8 capable tablet; Splashtop says its software saves on the cost of buying that extra hardware which could cost anywhere from $500 to $1,000. Win8 Metro Testbed is available for download at Apple’s iTunes store for $24.99 which the company says is a promotional price off the regular $49.99 charge. 

Splashtop says the Win8 Metro Testbed enables a full range of native Windows 8 Metro touch gestures, including the ability to:

  • Swipe from the right to view the Charms menu
  • Swipe from the left to switch apps
  • Swipe left/right in Internet Explorer to move between pages
  • Swipe down to bring up additional menus
  • Swipe down on an item to select it
  • Pull down from the top to close an app
  • Swipe slowly from the left to run two apps side-by-side ("snapping")
  • Swipe from left-and-back to show running apps
  • Pinch to navigate files, folders, apps and data with Semantic Zoom

While it’s not clear how many Windows 8 developers do in fact have iPads, interest in Microsoft’s new OS is high. Microsoft tweeted last month that its Consumer Preview of Windows 8 was downloaded one million times in the 24 hours after it was released and millions more are believed to have been downloaded since then. 

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