Choosing a smartphone or tablet is an important decision: if you don't have the cash upfront, it's likely that you'll be tied to that device for up to two years on a mobile contract. So what happens if you plumped for Android, and are now tempted by Microsoft's latest Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 offerings?
Fake Windows 8 is a free app that lets you add a Modern UI-inspired interface to your Android smartphone or tablet. It's arguably better suited to Android tablets, since it runs only in landscape mode and offers a Windows 8-style Start screen. The difference here is that the Modern UI within Fake Windows 8 is not a Live Wallpaper, and it's present only when the app is running: click a physical Home or Back button and you'll be returned to Android. See Best Android Apps.
There are some neat touches. For example, a Charms bar can slide in from the right, revealing quick links to Android's Settings menu, Google Search and a Home button. If you're in Desktop mode then the latter returns you to the Modern UI Start screen - although we can't think why you would be, given that you can't do anything other than admire the wallpaper.
Some of the tiles genuinely work, including Messaging, Calendar, Camera, Mail, Store (takes you to Google Play), Maps and Contacts. We were also delighted to find the SkyDrive tile took us directly to our preferred cloud-storage service, Dropbox.
But Fake Windows 8 failed to find any of the audio tracks loaded on to our device under Music, instead transporting us to the Deezer web store, and rather than present links to the number of games installed on our phone it displayed adverts for the developer's other Android apps. Click any of these and you're whisked off to the Play Store to download the app.
Another niggle: tap a tile at the far right of the Home screen and you'll open the Charms bar rather than the intended app. Gestures aren't supported, and there's no possibility of customisation - you won't be able to replace 'Administrator' at the top right of the Start screen with your name and photo, for example.
Fake Windows 8 is a very simple app, designed to enable you to "trick and prank your friends by telling them you got the latest Windows 8 on your device". Truth be told, very few of my friends outside the office would understand the concept of a smartphone that's not called iPhone, and those inside the office would wonder how on earth I was running Windows 8 on a smartphone in the first place. None would stop and stare.
Developer MDB Softwares explains the Permissions it requests in Google Play; all are reasonable. More interesting, though, is its promise that "No personnal (sic) information will never be stolen from you in our apps". It's not the most reassuring statement we've ever heard.