If there is one thing you can be sure of in the latter half of the year it is the emergence of several affordable smaller Windows powered slates, in the range of 7 to 8 inch display sizes.

Acer has already drawn first blood with the impressive Iconia W3 tablet, which could potentially be the first of many such slates. Nevertheless, there have been some questions raised regarding Microsoft’s guidelines for the smaller tablets and how the OS will work with tablets that have smaller displays.

Luckily, the company’s head of OEM division, Nick Parker stopped by for an interview with PCWorld, confirming that Microsoft is allowing PC makers some leg room in making these smaller slates:

“For any device you can hold in one hand, one of the things you need is portrait mode—so, the ability for the apps to work in the same way, to move and to flow nicely.

And for our OEMs, we’re giving them the ability to have buttons on the side of the device, because when you’re holding it in one hand you might want to push a button on the side. You have to make the OS extensible. So those are the types of things.”

The senior executive also confirmed that Windows 8.1 would offer better support for zooming and scaling on smaller devices. He did no go into specifics, though, meaning we will have to wait until the preview build of the operating systems goes live to check them out.

As per Microsoft’s design requirements for Windows tablets, vendors had to forego buttons on the side of the devices. But it makes complete sense for Redmond to change the rules for smaller devices.

Speaking of which, Parker also commented on the prices for the tablets, saying that ultimately these are set by the OEMs and hardware vendors.

He did however hint that we should not expect rock bottom prices to the tune of $150 and below that some Android based slates are aiming for. Obviously, most tablet devices that come at a higher price point offer better capabilities and features, and this will be the case for these upcoming slates.

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  • philnolan3d

    Why do you need a portrait mode? My tablet has portrait mode but I almost never use it. Only for a few apps that don’t have landscape mode so I have no choice.

  • Emmanuel Mac Donald

    It does make sense to have buttons on the side of smaller devices. And it also makes sense to have 3G and 4G connection. But I am not sure they will have that. though it would be nice.