"Windows 8 consumer preview had its problems, from getting the devices to recognize our Seton Hall sh.edu domain to bumpy navigation with the Metro interface," Landry says.
"But Microsoft provided great support. We had a list of what we thought was wrong. And the patches came. That gave me comfort. And 99% of our issues were resolved with the Windows 8 Release Preview. It was ultimately enough of a game-changer for us on tablets."
Landry adds that students in orientation took to the Windows 8 Metro UI like "ducks to water." For faculty and staff, however, Windows 8 training will be more aggressive & and mandatory. "Faculty and staff is where the pain point will be in the transition," he says.
But between writing off Windows 7 and going all in for Windows 8 tablets, Seton Hall first tested out a popular tablet you may have heard of: the iPad.
iPads and Android Tablets: A Nightmare to Manage
Landry and his staff, of course, are well-aware of Apple's ubiquitous iPad tablet and the rise of Google's Android OS. They are also aware of the BYOD (bring your own device) movement at work in many enterprises.
But to give the best possible IT support to their students and faculty, Landry decided that standardization on Windows 8 made the most sense, especially after testing out the iPad and Android tablets in pilot programs.
As expected, students were excited about the iPad form factor and long battery life, but soon enough there were obstacles.
Members of Seton Hall's Class of 2016 and their new Windows 8 tablets.
(Credit: Seton Hall University)
"Students would say, 'This is great, but it's not a replacement for my laptop.' They complained that they needed the full Microsoft Office suite on their tablet to be as productive as they needed to be," Landry says.
Paul Fisher, Seton Hall's associate CIO and director of the Teaching, Learning and Technology Center at Seton Hall, agrees that the full Office experience on a laptop is tough act for a tablet to follow.
"It's hard to hand tablets to students and faculty and not give them the same experience and level of support that they got with the full Office suite," Fisher says.
In addition, Android tablets and iPads are a bear to manage, Landry says. For example, neither provide a blanket warrantee that covers support for all devices.
"We wanted to buy 200 iPads and told Apple we wanted one warrantee document and Apple said we don't do that because the iPad is a consumer device," Landry says.