While it is no surprise that Windows 7 hasn’t exactly be welcomed with open arms in the tablet world, Windows 8 is working hard to change all of this starting at the end of this year. So what is different about Microsoft’s Windows 8 tablet approach versus past XP through 7 slate endeavors?
Well, we all know about the big hitters already: ARM support and the newly touch-optimized Metro UI that replaces the start menu.
These are huge parts of making certain that Windows is better suited for the mobile world, but does it end there? Certainly not.
Beyond new changes to the UI that are more touch friendly and wider support of processors like ARM, Windows 8 makes new changes to the boot kernel that speeds up the Windows OS, brings down the requirements so you don’t need a super-computer to enjoy Windows, and is bringing a new marketplace of Metro apps that will help make the system better for casual/touch users.
While all this is great and all, does it really set Windows apart from the other tablet competition? No, but Windows legacy support (for x86) does set it apart. Additionally, Microsoft is positioning its tablets to be somewhere of a middle-ground experience between Android and iOS.
Apple’s iOS is a highly-locked down OS that has few options but is much more secure, on the other hand we have Linux-based Android that isn’t exactly secure but has tons of hardware options.
So what is Microsoft proposing? It is giving users a highly-flexible full-fledged OS experience, a Metro experience across all devices, and tons of hardware options while still maintaining minimum requirements and standards.
The end result is a series of tablets that have security like Apple’s iOS, a bit of a lockdown with Metro, but a bit more flexibility with desktop, and tons of options like Android, but less stability issues.
So what are some of the requirements that Microsoft is upholding for its tablet line?
First off, all tablet PCs and convertibles must have a minimum resolution of 1366×768. Next up, they must have a digitizer supporting at least five-point multitouch, and x86 machines must resume in two seconds or less. The time limit isn’t required for ARM though, at least not as of now.
Additionally Windows 8 tablets must have 3-axis accelerometer, gyroscopes, 5 specific hardware buttons (power, rotation-lock, volume up/down, and a Windows key). There’s also mandatory support for no-reboot installation of graphics drivers, and the expectation that new PCs should have at least 10GB of drive storage free.
Further requirements include Direct3D 10 graphics and the replacement of CTRL+ALT+DEL with pressing the Windows key and Power buttons at the same time.
I am thrilled that Microsoft is setting up minimum requirements with Windows 8 tablets, after all this is a big part of the reason why Vista didn’t do well on the PC. Despite what you think you might now, Vista wasn’t a horrible junk OS, it just wasn’t regulated right.
It required very particular hardware requirements that Microsoft didn’t enforce, and instead it was pushed onto hardware that could barely handle it. I’m glad to see that Microsoft is at least learning from some of their mistakes.
So what do you think of the minimum enforced requirements that Microsoft has set for its tablet hardware? Do you like the idea or think that each vendor should have the right to set what it wants? Share your thoughts below.