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Microsoft changes resolution requirement, allowing for smaller Windows 8 devices

Posted: , by Maxwell R.

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Microsoft changes resolution requirement, allowing for smaller Windows 8 devices
If you have been tempted by the nifty touch experience of Windows 8 tablets, but wished for some smaller sized hardware, you may have something to look forward to.

Windows 8 devices have had a minimum resolution requirement of 1366x768, which is what you would find on a Surface RT tablet. OEMs would not be allowed to affix the Windows 8 logo to their products if they went below that resolution standard.

Microsoft has changed that requirement, and it is a significant change. The minimum resolution requirement is now 1024x768, shared by the iPad mini and still in the ballpark with the Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7. Microsoft is relaxing the requirement because “partners exploring designs for certain markets could find greater design flexibility helpful.”

That pretty much means smaller display options, and more compact hardware as a result.  The Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7 are great sub-$200 tablets and they represent a segment that Windows 8 would be very late in joining the party should smaller Windows tablets come to market, but could certainly be a contender, especially while running the full Windows 8 operating system.

There is a significant trade-off though (there always is), manufacturers that adopt this lower resolution for their tablets must disable snap. Snap is the feature that allows to Windows Store applications to be viewed side-by-side. Moreover, OEMs that want Microsoft’s blessing must provide “conspicuous disclaimers” to customers.

The issue for Microsoft is loss of the positive experience provided by snap as a result of the lower resolution. So while the lower resolution will be permitted, the lower standard is below the “threshold for snap.”

Does this mean we can expect to see a flood of smaller Windows 8 tablets? We would not say a “flood,” but the touch experience provided by Windows 8 will fit quite nicely in a smaller package and we would be interested in seeing what a mini-Surface might offer.

sources: ZDNet via Microsoft News

16 Comments
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posted on 30 Mar 2013, 00:20 4

1. Taters (Posts: 3280; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)


What? They should put a higher cap rather a lower one. 7 inch screens should be at least 1366x 768 these days, not lower.

How about an RT tablet with full HD? Only full windows 8 devices have full HD.

posted on 30 Mar 2013, 00:50

2. Joshing4fun (Posts: 1047; Member since: 13 Aug 2010)


Ugh, exactly. Everyone is going to have higher resolutions on their phones than their computers. Something is backwards here. But hey, that's Microsoft for ya.

posted on 30 Mar 2013, 10:28

11. Bilpocalypse (Posts: 301; Member since: 13 Oct 2012)


Actually I think the point of the article is that third party manufacturers wanted to be able to make devices with lower resolution displays. 1366x768 was the minimum resolution before, not the maximum.

posted on 30 Mar 2013, 01:19 13

3. naveenstuns (Posts: 172; Member since: 19 Feb 2012)


huh??? Windows 8 is not only used on tablets right? business users don't need high resolutions do they?

posted on 30 Mar 2013, 01:45 3

4. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5876; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


MS is seeing all of the sales that are going to the iPad mini (1024x768 resolution) and wishing they should be getting some of them.

posted on 30 Mar 2013, 02:27 2

5. rashsys (Posts: 16; Member since: 05 Mar 2013)


Wow! 7-inch tablet with full Windows 8!
I'd like to run classic desktop applications on 7" screen! But only if a microscope is bundled...

posted on 30 Mar 2013, 08:50

10. -box- (Posts: 3823; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)


Reminds me of the UMPCs from a few years back

posted on 30 Mar 2013, 02:41

6. hipnotika (Posts: 302; Member since: 06 Mar 2013)


i hate wp8 and all size of resolution :)

posted on 30 Mar 2013, 04:28 11

7. papss (unregistered)


I personally love w8 in all sizes

posted on 30 Mar 2013, 04:35 9

8. jsdechavez (Posts: 708; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)


Guys, that means cheaper devices, more people on Win8.

posted on 30 Mar 2013, 08:39 1

9. Bluesky02 (Posts: 1439; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)


"The screen resolution is too low for this app to run" - fix this Microsoft

posted on 30 Mar 2013, 10:58

12. Bilpocalypse (Posts: 301; Member since: 13 Oct 2012)


I don't see a Win8 tablet @ a 7" form factor. It would work better as an RT tablet... at least until they come up with an x86/x64 processor that doesn't require a cooling fan.

posted on 30 Mar 2013, 12:31 1

13. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5876; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


I think that any 7" Win8 tablets will be RT editions. Cooling fan requirement aside, 7" is on the small side. Snap is disabled for lower resolutions. It just seems like trying to cram a size 8 (maybe a size 11?) foot into a size 7 shoe.

posted on 30 Mar 2013, 14:34

14. Bilpocalypse (Posts: 301; Member since: 13 Oct 2012)


That... and snap would be practically pointless at that screen size even if the resolution was high enough. I think that they should go with something closer to an 8" display like the iPad mini. It would be more ideal. However, the minimum resolution shouldn't have been lowered in any case.

posted on 30 Mar 2013, 22:58

15. johnnh (Posts: 37; Member since: 18 Dec 2012)


the clovertrail atom's are x86 withour cooling fan, razr i for example is x86. New generation atom's are in some tablets win 8 in dual core versions

posted on 01 Apr 2013, 11:53

17. Bilpocalypse (Posts: 301; Member since: 13 Oct 2012)


True, but they are not optimized very well, poorer performance than a standard x86 chip and poorer power consumption than ARM chips.

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