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While you can add a keyboard case to an iPad, Windows 8 is optimized for mouse and keyboard use. Our favorite feature: the ability to search for an app just by tying on the Start screen. Windows 8 also has a ton of keyboard shortcuts, such as Win C for opening the Charm menu, Win D for showing the desktop, and Win Z for opening the app bar. We’re excited to see more designs like the IdeaPad Yoga that combine both touch and keyboard input.
If you have an Xbox you’ll be glad to know that the Xbox Live Games app (currently in preview mode) presents your 3D Avatar and lets you keep track of your game activity. You can also download games from the app, since it has a built-in marketplace. For now the selection is very skimpy, but we anticipate the number of Xbox Live games to explode by the time Windows 8 launches. The separate Xbox Companion app lets you stream videos you’ve purchased from your Windows 8 PC or tablet to the console. It works, but right now the quality is only so-so.
Out of the box, Windows 8 will support lots more peripherals than the iPad or iOS because it’s built on Windows 7. If you have a USB drive, keyboard, printer, or camera, it should just work. Microsoft’s new OS makes it simple to access these add-ons via the Devices charm. Just swipe from the right side of the screen. And you can add devices from the PC settings menu.
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