Microsoft’s move to relax the minimum resolution for Windows 8 devices could trigger a slew of seven-inch Windows 8 tablets.
To claim Windows 8 certification, a tablet can now offer a minimum resolution of 1,024×768 at a depth of 32 bits. That’s a change from the previous guidelines, which specify a minimum resolution of 1,366×768. Microsoft said it isn’t encouraging device makers to shoot for such a low resolution but noted that “partners exploring designs for certain markets could find greater design flexibility helpful.”
Tablets with screens larger than seven inches typically offer a resolution much higher than 1,024×768. In contrast, smaller tablets naturally tend to use use smaller resolutions. Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire both offer resolutions of 1,280×800, while Apple’s current iPad Mini is stuck at 1,024×768.
Reading between the lines, Microsoft seems to be laying the groundwork for smaller Windows 8 tablets. That’s a smart strategy given the popularity of seven-inch tablets.
Apple’s iPad Mini has scooped up sales from its larger Retina Display counterpart. Smaller Android tablets such as the Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire have helped Google’s mobile OS steal more of the market away from the iPad. It seems time for Microsoft and its partners to carve out a slice of all that seven-inch tablet action.
A resolution of 1,024×768 does offer one problem in the world of Windows 8.
The snap app feature, which lets users snap two Modern apps side by side, requires a resolution of 1,366×768. Therefore, any tablet vendors who sell 1,024×768 Windows 8 devices must alert potential buyers that the snap app feature won’t work, at least not without an external display.
But the upcoming Windows Blue may offer a solution to this dilemma.
Microsoft is reportedly tweaking the snap app feature to let 1,024×768 devices display two apps side by side, says The Verge. Devices with higher resolution would be able to display four apps next to one another.
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