Windows 8 Tablets: Software & Hardware Features We Now Know

Steven Sinofsky’s post about Windows 8 on ARM has provided us with a lot of information about platform and ecosystem. Sinofsky’s post describes how and why the Windows 8 tablets will be immune to existing viruses, why Windows 8 tablets will have the traditional desktop, they demonstrated Office 15 and Windows Live Metro on Windows 8 ARM. The finer details about some of the OS features included in the post are:

  • Windows 8 for ARM will not be available as a software distribution, it will only come pre-installed
  • There will be only 1 SKU of Windows 8 for ARM
  • Existing x86/x64 apps will not be compatible with Windows 8 on ARM
  • Applications can only be installed through the Windows App Marketplace
  • WOA will include Office 15 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote)
  • Windows 8 won’t support virtualization or emulation
  • Driver support for Mobile Broadband, Printers, GPS, a variety off sensors, Bluetooth will be provided
  • Windows 8 on ARM tablets don’t don’t turn off, hibernate or sleep; they go into Connected Standby
  • IE in Windows on ARM will not support browser plugins, like Flash (via All About Microsoft)
  • Windows 8 on ARM will be serviced through Windows Update, like desktop Windows
  • Windows 8 on ARM tablets will come with DirectX capable GPUs (which version wasn’t specified in the post)

Microsoft has in the past stressed on their partnership and the work done by hardware OEMs to make a lot of this possible. Sinofsky talked about acknowledged this partnership and talked about their priorities for Windows 8 ARM tablets:

Long battery life, thin and light industrial design
Texas Instruments, NVIDIA and Qualcomm are the OEMs that have worked closely with Microsoft thus far on ARM tablets

Rafael Rivera over at WithinWindows uncovered the minimum hardware specs for Windows tablets as defined by Microsoft in their Hardware Requirement Documentation. The important specs are:

  • Storage: At least 10GB free for use
  • System firmware: UEFI
  • Networking: WLAN and Bluetooth 4.0 + LE (low energy)
  • Graphics: Direct3D 10
  • Resolution: 1366×768
  • Multi Touch: At least 5 touch points
  • Camera: 720p
  • Sensors: Ambient Light, Accelerometer, Magnetometer, Gyroscope
  • USB 2.0
  • Speakers

A Windows tablet will have five physical buttons:
* Windows
* Power
* Volume (Up & Down)
* Rotation Lock

The form factor and pricing will decide whether Microsoft can beat Android based tablets, unify the ARM OEM army and pose real competition to the iPad.

Published by

Manan Kakkar

Manan is a technology enthusiast keenly following the consumer products from Microsoft, Google & Apple.