Microsoft has laid out its requirements for manufacturers hoping to produce Windows 8 tablets, and from the minimum specs laid out we could see some impressive devices ahead.
Windows 8 tablets must use a touchscreen with at least 5 touch points, thus making a ‘multitouch’ display. The minimum screen resolution is 1366×768, which is the WXGA 16:9 widescreen resolution, so we should be looking at decent quality visuals from the first tablets to go on sale. Every Windows 8 tablet must also use a rear camera capable of recording HD video at 720p minimum.
Internally Microsoft is ensuring any tablet using its forthcoming OS is completely up to scratch – Bluetooth 4.0, three-axis accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer are all necessary components. Microsoft also insists that speakers and at least one exposed USB 2.0 port is used, so we’re pretty certain that Windows 8 tablets will feature USB host technology, meaning you’ll be able to plug in a mouse, keyboard or even a game pad. Finally, a minimum of 10GB free internal storage is a must. Strangely, Microsoft hasn’t stated any requirements for processing power, though we already know that both Intel and ARM processors will be used.
Every Windows 8 tablet must have 5 physical buttons; Power, Rotation Lock, Volume Up, Volume Down and a Windows Key. “How am I going to do CTRL + ALT + DELETE on a touchscreen tablet?” we hear you ask. Don’t worry; Microsoft has configured Windows 8 for tablets so that the combination of a Power Button and the Windows Key will bring up the Task Manager.
Tablets using an Intel processor are required to be able to resume from standby into Windows in less than 2 seconds, though this requirement doesn’t go for ARM processor-powered tablets. Microsoft hasn’t confirmed exactly why ARM tablets don’t carry this same feature, though many expect it to be due to the ARM processor’s architecture.
So those are the minimum requirements for manufacturing a Windows 8 tablets. Microsoft is well known for its strict manufacturing requirements, and has already set the bar high for its Windows Phone 7.5 platform for smartphones. We like their approach, as it means we get a range of higher-end products and less of the cheap and nasty.