Windows 8.1 should be out in the wild officially by the end of this week, and Microsoft will launch its second generation Surface tablets early next week.  But at the same time, the company expects a whole new wave of Windows 8.1 devices from its OEM partners.

And to streamline this, the company has put together a Form Factor guide for its partners that want to release Windows 8.1 devices. The guide provides strict guidelines when it comes to instructions on factors like weight, resolution and aspect ratios of these upcoming devices.

This report says that Redmond wants tablets that are smaller than 8.5 inches to weigh less than 350 grams, while devices with display sizes of up to 10 inches can get away with a maximum of 650 grams.

Next up is perhaps the most important visual indicator on these devices — the Windows logo. And Microsoft wants it to be either black or white, depending on the color of the unit. However, the size of the logo can vary by bezel size, according to the guidelines.

The company also wants manufacturers to design a bezel of at least 7mm for Windows 8.1 devices.

Additionally, the cameras have to be placed smack in the middle of the device, instead of say, on the corners. The reason for this is that the company wants Windows 8.1 devices to offer usage in both landscape and portrait orientations.

Another important consideration is of the aspect ratios of the Windows 8.1 devices. The new operating system offers support for lower resolution screens. And the guidelines demand that 7-inch tablets start at resolutions of 1024 by 768 pixels or above, with an aspect ratio of 4:3, 16:9 and 16:10.

Devices larger than 10 inches must have a resolution of 1366 by 768 and an aspect ratio of 16:9.

However, smaller devices will have to make do with only 3 rows of Start Screen Live Tiles, no matter what their resolution. Devices with screens larger than 10 inches have the option of up to 4 rows of Live Tiles, Microsoft says.

Finally, the company wants its OEM partners to focus more on the landscape orientation, even though Windows 8.1 offers enhanced support for the landscape mode.

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  • Ray C

    Doesn’t sound too bad. I wonder the season for only 3 rows on smaller devices, but I guess they want to make sure the screen is not too crowded. Hopefully Microsoft one day updates Windows 8.x to have a customer or pattern tile layout or give vendors to option to have less default tiles. When I first sat down with Windows 8, I feel like it might have been easier to figure out and less overwhelming for people not as technical as me if it started off with only one row or tiles or just a few tile that matched the most used clicks in Windows 7, maybe with one full row with a tile or two at the ends like the shape of a side-ways L