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.
- 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!).
- 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,
- 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?
- Why 'post-PC' is a far bigger threat to Microsoft than Mac or Linux ever was
- Could Intel be dealt out of the Windows 8 tablet fun?
- Will Windows 8 on ARM be an OEM-only product?