Is your computing life 100 percent dedicated to Microsoft and its products?

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Is your computing life 100 percent dedicated to Microsoft?

As you’re reading this website, there’s an extremely high chance that you’re using at least one Microsoft product — the chances are that you use more than one. It would be a pretty safe bet for me to place money on the fact that most of you use Windows as your main operating system… I wouldn’t expect to win any prizes for insight there!

But it would be foolish to think that 100 percent of visitors to WinBeta are using exclusively Microsoft products. If you’re anything like the team here, you probably use a wide variety of devices.  I thought it would be interesting to share some details about the devices I use and see how it compares to everyone else.

As a writing, I spend a huge proportion of my time sitting in front of my computer. My operating system of choice is Windows; it has been for years. I have been known to dip into the world of Ubuntu from time to time, but I always return to the fold after a little while. Although I have a decent desktop machine — which dual boots between Ubuntu and Windows 8 (yep… this baby is yet to be upgraded to 8.1!) — I spend most of my time working on a laptop.

I find this gives me greater flexibility in terms of working in different locations as I can just grab my machine, take it wherever I’m going and pick up from where I left off. I have a netbook (oh yes!) running Windows 8.1, but the majority of my time is spent typing away on a Surface Pro. This is a device that took me a little while to get used to (and I still rarely make use of the touchscreen) but it is a great compromise between a tablet, a laptop and a desktop computer.

“My reliance on Windows for work means I just could not use a Chromebook full time”

But this is not the only operating system I use. I also have a couple of Chromebooks which make for a nice change from time to time. I’m yet to fully immerse myself in Chrome OS, but the Chromebook 11 is a lovely machine — providing you’re not one of the unlucky people to have one with an overheating charger. These are more of a curiosity for me at the moment than anything else. In terms of writing, they are perfectly competent machines, but my reliance on Windows for work means I just could not use one full time — well… I guess I could remotely access a Windows computer, but that’s too much like hard work when working away from home!

With mobile devices I’m a little fragmented. Going back a few years I owned, and loved, an iPhone 3GS. But it seemed that this was just a phase I had to go through, and I found that I feel out of love with iOS, my eye distracted by the lure of Android (oh, there was a brief flirtation with BlackBerry, but the less said about that the better!).

Android is still my mobile OS of choice at the moment. I have a semi-retired HTC Sensation which was replaced with an HTC One and then a Samsung Galaxy S4. What’s that? Microsoft make a mobile OS too? Yep, I know. I also have a Nokia Lumia 928, and it’s a device that confuses me. Back in the years before smartphones, I’ve got through more Nokia handsets than I care to remember! The 928 is a lovely piece of hardware. It is solid, pleasing to hold and feels incredibly well-built.

What lets it down for me is Windows Phone 8. Sure, it’s an improvement on Windows Phone, but I actually preferred Windows Mobile 6! I’m looking forward to upgrading to 8.1, but for the time being it just feels too restrictive to me. My opinion may change in time, but for now Android wins me over.

The same is true for tablets. While I have a Surface Pro, it’s a bit too heavy to me to consider using it as a tablet in bed. The significantly smaller and lighter Nexus 7 fits the bill for me right now. Being Android-based like my phone, it’s great to be able to keep my apps and settings in sync and it’s great for keeping up to date with news, browsing the web, watching videos and playing games. It does everything I need it to and more, and there are more apps than you can shake a stick at. There’s also an iPad 2 knocking around the house, but that’s rarely fired up these day. But I’m still more likely to pick up Apple’s tablet than my Surface Pro to use as a tablet (although an iPad Air would be tempting if it was rather cheaper!).

“I still consider myself primarily a Microsoft user”

That said, I am very much looking forward to getting my hands on the Nokia Lumia 2520 when it launches. Thus far I have limited myself to fully-fledged Windows on a tablet in the form of my Surface Pro, so it will be interesting to try out a “proper” dedicated tablet running the RT variant of Windows 8.1.

With this mix-bag of devices and operating systems, I still consider myself primarily a Microsoft user. I’ve never been much of a gamer, but I have owned both an Xbox and an Xbox 360 over the years (both were used mainly as media servers). The Xbox One is grabbing my attention though, and I’m looking forward to playing with one. It could be the console that gets me back into gaming (the last time I was seriously a “gamer” was when the SNES was king!).

So — how about you? Let us know about your set up. Do you rely on different hardware for different tasks, such as Windows for your desktop, Android for a tablet and iOS for a phone? How many of you are completely dedicated to Microsoft? It would be interesting to know if you think Microsoft has anything to learn from the likes of Apple, Google and Linux — or if the influence could work the other way as well. Share your thoughts in the comments below!