New Bluetooth, audio, TPM requirements coming for Windows 8 devices

New Bluetooth, audio, TPM requirements coming for Windows 8 devices

Summary: Microsoft is going public with new hardware certification requirements for Windows 8.1 (and beyond) devices, some of which take effect in 2014 and 2015.


Microsoft and Intel execs detailed some of the new hardware requirements for Windows 8 clients that will be introduced in 2014 and 2015 during a session at this week's Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC).


During a session for Microsoft reseller partners entitled "How to talk to customers about Windows devices," Microsoft officials talked about some of the new hardware features that Windows 8.1 and subsequent releases will support.

As we've been hearing at vaious Microsoft conferences over the past couple months, Microsoft is working closely with OEMs on making sure new touch-enabled, lighter, thinner, faster devices with longer battery life, support for "modern" security, connectivity and new sensors will be coming to market. Starting later this year, these machines will make use of the new features Microsoft is building into Windows 8.1, including support for NFC and biometric authentication; new portrait-mode enhancements; and InstantGo (the renamed and updated Connected Standby capability) to allow devices to turn on instantly and keep apps up-to-date.

(A related aside: "Precision Touchpads" also are now available for Windows 8.1 Certification. Precisions Touchpads are required on all ARM based systems and are optional for x86/x64, according to Microsoft documentation.)

There will be new, additional requirements for Windows devices seeking Microsoft certification coming in the next couple of years, Group Manager Lee Sabow told session attendees.

In January 2014, certified Windows systems will be required to support Bluetooth on all devices with Wi-Fi. Front-facing 720p webcams will be required for systems with integrated displays (tablets, notebooks and all-in-ones). And higher-fidelity audio requirements for speakers and microphones will be on the list, too, Sabow said, to help partners who want to "upsell" Lync, Microsoft's unified communications technology, Sabow said.

In January 2015, TPM 2.0 will be required on all certified Windows devices, Sabow said. TPM, or Trusted Platform Module, is a spec and implementation for a cryptoprocessor. More information on TPM 2.0 is available here.

Microsoft updated its Windows 8 certification documentation in late June to reflect these additional Windows 8.1, 2014 and 2015 requirements.

During the WPC session on Windows devices, Microsoft execs reiterated the company's goal, with Windows 8.1, of becoming the number one tablet in the business/enterprise space. From the context of the remarks, it sounded as though Microsoft execs meant all Windows 8.1 tablets combined -- not just its own Surfaces -- would figure in here.

Microsoft has its work cut out for it with improving OEM traction around Windows 8. As Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner admitted during his keynote at WPC, the partner ecosystem was about 18 to 24 months behind Microsoft with Windows 8, resulting in a lack of devices ready to take advantage of touch and some of the other new features in the operating system at the time it was launched in October 2012.

As far as the rest of the "How to talk to customers session," there wasn't a whole lot else that was new. The speakers acknowledged that while about some current and potential customers are no longer confused by the differences between Core-based, Atom-based and ARM-based Windows 8/Windows RT devices, many still don't know the differences. 

Officials suggested that partners ask "three hard questions" when trying to help users figure out which PCs/devices to buy: 1. What the business needs; 2. What IT requires; and 3. What do users want. Partners should try to help customers define what they need from a "commercial device," potentially defining them along the "primary PC," "companion PC," "executive PC," and "specialized PC" lines, the speakers said.

Topics: Windows 8, Microsoft, Tablets, ARM, PCs, Business Intelligence


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • And how is Windows 8.1 going to prevent leaking information to the NSA?

    Shouldn't this be the first requirement?
    beau parisi
    • It's not

      There's not much Microsoft/Google/Facebook/Apple/Yahoo/etc. can do when they're told to provide access to personal data due to the laws that were enacted by Bush and persisted by Obama.

      Want this nonsense to stop? Choose carefully who you vote for in the next elections and voice your views in the appropriate forums (of which, this is not one!)
      • Translation

        "We will tell you who to vote for. Trust us, our people will do the right thing."

        There is a saying, that of all human sins, God punishes stupidity most severely.
        • What an interesting....

          ....translation! And why human beings always talk about a god that punishes or runs hells!

          In the meantime, how do they read all that humongous data that they collect? Shouldn't they get overwhelmed and even find out that they are reading their own private communications? Wouldn't this make them more paranoid? Imagine that spouse, who is working for the NSA and coming across a sad affairs his/her partner is having, while reading few intercepted emails. This must be full of fun and sadness.

        • Well it seems you misunderstood God.

          Didn't you read Bible, Quran or Bhagavadgita or whatever your religion tells? Everything says God just loves. He won't punish. Its your fate or past "karma" that decides your destination.
          Ram U
          • God doesn't punish?

            Are you serious? Have you actually read the Bible? Have you heard of Sodom and Gomorrah, or, perhaps, the floods of Noah and his ark? What about the plagues? How about how the Bible proscribes the death penalty for murder, rape, sodomy, cursing a parent and a list of other offences? And those a just a few examples! Punishment - most of that time that is ALL that your so-called God is doing!
          • Karma?

            Believing to a fictional creator is cute. Believing in karma is just silly.

            If there were such a thing as karma, there wouldn't be anyone left named Bush.
    • It wasn't leaking MS was collaboratiing with the NSA

      Microsoft worked with NSA to enable the NSA to spy on us easier. So much for all those Microsoft Ads about protecting our Privacy, they look pretty lame now. This company is in bed with the spooks.
      • The only difference between Microsoft and Google that Google fights the government to force them to pay for the data like all of the scumbag "advertising" companies that they already do business with.
        • Comparing Microsoft to Gogle

          One has to wonder, if you saw someone jumping off the cliff, would you jump too?
        • Let me correct you...

          The only difference between Microsoft and Google is that Google is a scumbag advertising and doesn't want to share the data it has been mining behind its flimsy terms and conditions.

          Microsoft makes products and sells them, with Google you are the product so that they can sell ads.

      • How about this?

        How about we non-American totally boycott any IT services and products made in US for that? How would that work for you?

        It is a fact. Any company working on US soil and its allies is under the influence of NSA. Do you reject that?
        • And what would the point of that be? If you live in the UK, any EU country,

          Russia or any former soviet bloc county, china, india, any north African or middle east country, and south east Asian country, canada, ausrtalia, new Zealand, etc. etc. etc your own country is doing everything the NSA is doing, and is doing two way sharing with the NSA.
          Johnny Vegas
  • Require video playback?

    After they just dropped all the codecs?


    Is MS going to restore playback capability?
  • New Bluetooth, audio, TPM requirements coming for Windows 8 devices

    Having a set of standards like this is good so that we know Microsoft Windows 8 will just work on the devices.
  • 802.11ac?

    Interesting, does this mean Microsoft will also require Gigabit Ethernet for any device that is to run Windows 8.1?
  • TPM

    More DRM garbage where the pretend it is for safety when it is really about giving them more and more ability to control what the consumer does with his or her own hardware. The good news is that there must be a hole in TMP or they would not have been allowed by the NSA to implement or support it. This is because the same tech that gives DRM its power via TPM can be used to secure the device and its communications. This make me think that there is some hidden hole in the technology.
    Robert Harvey-Kinsey
    • TPM

      My mainboard has an integrated TPM, as do the good majority of mainboards that you buy now a days. Explain how this is telling the consumer what they can and cannot do with the hardware? The TPM can be shut off in the BIOS, and if shut off (as 99% of them are) it stays off and does not meddle with your computer startup. I would agree, if the TPM is required to be on and functional for the PC to work that would be absolutely ridiculous, but to my knowledge it does not have to be active for the PC to boot, the chip just needs to be there, as it is on the majority of modern computers anyway. Don't worry though, I am sure this also has something to do with the NSA being able to manipulate your computers start-up too, because that makes lots of sense.
    • TPM is about MUCH more than DRM

      Its the foundation upon which secure cert-based WiFi, storage encryption, etc. are built.

    I hope they will finally add a driver for the Bluetooth keyboard protocol to WP8 (e.g. Nokia Lumia range).
    Dafydd Gibbon