Microsoft changes resolution requirement, allowing for smaller Windows 8 devices

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



1. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 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.

2. Joshing4fun

Posts: 1245; Member since: Aug 13, 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.

11. Bilpocalypse

Posts: 301; Member since: Oct 13, 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.

3. naveenstuns

Posts: 184; Member since: Feb 19, 2012

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

4. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 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.

5. rashsys

Posts: 16; Member since: Mar 05, 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...

10. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Reminds me of the UMPCs from a few years back

6. hipnotika

Posts: 353; Member since: Mar 06, 2013

i hate wp8 and all size of resolution :)

7. papss unregistered

I personally love w8 in all sizes

8. jsdechavez

Posts: 799; Member since: Jul 20, 2012

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

9. Bluesky02

Posts: 1439; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

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

12. Bilpocalypse

Posts: 301; Member since: Oct 13, 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.

13. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 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.

14. Bilpocalypse

Posts: 301; Member since: Oct 13, 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.

15. johnnh

Posts: 37; Member since: Dec 18, 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

17. Bilpocalypse

Posts: 301; Member since: Oct 13, 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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