New Windows 8 Hardware Guidelines Point to Smaller Tablets

Pulkit Chandna

Microsoft has lowered the minimum resolution requirement for Windows 8 devices

When it comes to tablets, the ferocity of competition seems to be inversely proportional to the screen size. But ignoring smaller form factors is not easy — as was all too obvious when market leader Apple launched the 7.9-inch iPad Mini despite being indisposed to the idea initially. Now, a new development suggests that Microsoft also wants Windows 8 OEMs to join the sub-eight-inch tablet fray.

In a move that is being seen as a green light to Windows OEMs to enter the market for sub 8-inch tablets, the Redmond-based tech giant has lowered the minimum screen resolution requirement for Windows 8 devices from 1366 x 768 to 1024 x 768 .

“We're changing the System.Client.Tablet.Graphics.MinimumResolution requirement to create a consistent minimum resolution of 1024 x 768 at a depth of 32 bits across all Windows 8 system form factors. The physical dimensions of the display panel must still match the aspect ratio of the native resolution,” Microsoft announced in its Windows Certification newsletter earlier this month.

"This doesn't imply that we're encouraging partners to regularly use a lower screen resolution,” the company clarified. “In fact, we see customers embracing the higher-resolution screens that make a great Windows experience. [But] we understand that partners exploring designs for certain markets could find greater design flexibility helpful."

As IDC analyst Bob O'Donnell pointed out to Computerworld, it is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the sub-eight-inch segment, which is expected to account for as much as 55 percent of the overall tablet market by the end of this year.

Ever since Microsoft entered the tablet market with two 10.6-inch Surface slates, there have been persistent rumors of there being a 7-inch tablet in the works at the company. Back in February, Microsoft's chief financial officer Peter Kline even lent fuel to these rumors when he underlined the company’s readiness to “deliver the most versatile set of experiences across form factors, whether that’s 4-inch, 5-inch, 7-inch, 8-inch, 10-inch, 13-inch.”

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