Windows 8 tablet requirements - The good, the bad and the ugly

Microsoft seems to have got some things right, missed the mark on others, and totally missed the mark in other areas.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor
I've been working my way through Microsoft's Windows 8 tablet hardware requirements and in my option it's a mixed bag. Microsoft seems to have got some things right, missed the mark on others, and totally missed the mark in other areas.

Let's take a tour of the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Good

  • Minimum display size is 1366 x 768 - that's a good move.
  • Cameras must be 720p or better.
  • Physical 'touch marks' for NFC hardware sensor to make using it easier.
  • One USB port, Bluetooth 4.0, WLAN, gyro, accelerometer, speakers, light sensor, and magnetometer must be fitted.
  • Rebootless display driver update.
  • Firmware must be UEFI (death to the BIOS!).

The Bad

  • No mandatory USB 3.0 support, only USB 2.0.
  • Too many mandatory hardware buttons - power, rotation lock, Windows key, volume up and volume down buttons. Odd there's not a mute button too ...
  • Windows 'Start' button is a physical button, like it is on Windows Phone hardware. I'd still much prefer a software button.
  • Five-point touch. Maybe I'm spoiled by the 11-point touch present on the iPad.
  • No mention of a Kensington security slot. These are handy on business hardware.
  • There must be at least 10GB of free storage after the Windows 'out-of-the-box' experience has completed. That doesn't feel like a lot to me,

The Ugly

  • No mandatory battery life specs. Microsoft talks a lot in the documentation about 'All Day Battery Life' but there are no hard numbers for OEMs to adhere to. Will any Windows 8 tablet match up to the iPad's 10-hours of juice?
  • No mandatory camera requirement (except that if fitted it MUST be 720p or better). This seems strange.
  • No '2 second resume' rule for ARM hardware while PCs must resume from S3 standby in 2 seconds or less. Seems odd not to push for a lower limit, even if it's not 2 seconds.
  • Secure boot feature on ARM cannot be disabled. This seems like a slippery slope to me.

There's one factor that we're still unclear on - price. I still think that this will be the make or break factor for Windows 8 tablets. If the price is right, people will give them a chance, if not, they'll give their money to Apple.

What are your thoughts on the Windows 8 tablet requirements?


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