Slot this is as a feature that will surprise almost no one. Microsoft has long emphasized that Windows 8.1 will focus on smaller tablets, the 7 or 8 inch slates that are projected to take the market by storm by the end of the year.

It stands to reason, then, that the software titan would implement specific optimizations aimed at devices of these sorts.

According to a new report, Windows 8.1 will offer a Start Screen specially designed to work in portrait mode, thereby making it more usable for smaller tablets.

ZDNet cites Antoine Leblond, Microsoft’s Windows Corporate Vice President of Program Management in saying that most apps will run fine in portrait mode thanks to a number of optimizations built into the operating system.

In his keynote at Computex, Leblond said:

“We did some work in Windows 8.1 to have portrait-specific Start screen layouts that work much better. All of the apps that are in the box actually work just as well in portrait mode as they work in landscape.

We did some work at the device interface level around edge detection and things like that to make it easier to have smaller bezels on these devices so that OEMs and folks who build devices like this could build exactly the kinds of devices they want, and Windows 8.1 will be great on them.”

Microsoft itself is said to be working on its very own small tablets, an 8 inch version of Surface that is widely expected to be unveiled at the BUILD developer conference later this month.

Like this new feature? Do you see yourself using the Start Screen in portrait mode on your tablet? Share your mind in the comments below.

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