There’s no doubt, despite less than spectacular early sales, that the Microsoft Surface is a device with great potential. But as many other companies in mobile space have learned, one cannot rely solely on one type of product if it is to make a lasting impression on the market. Thus, it has always been presumed Microsoft would follow the likes of Google and Apple by eventually working its Windows 8 ecosystem for compatibility with smaller tablets akin to the Nexus 7 and iPad mini, and new Windows 8 specifications appear to have opened the door to this possibility.
The Redmond company has just reduced the minimum resolution for Windows 8 devices to 1024×768, a considerable alteration considering the previous requirements for Windows 8 tablets to run was 1,366×768. Microsoft made the adjustment via its Windows Certification Newsletter, and while the software maker does not wish to encourage vendors to aim to release devices at lower resolutions, it does note that "partners exploring designs for certain markets could find greater design flexibility helpful."
The above, while not clarifying anything one way or another, does appear to suggest that Microsoft is giving companies the green light to go ahead and build devices for Windows 8 to compete with the likes of the Kindle Fire, Nexus 7, and of course Apple’s iPad mini. The demand for smaller slates has increased dramatically in a very short space of time, and if the Windows maker wants to really compete with Apple and Google in the tablet market as a whole, covering all bases is an absolute must.
It’s worth considering, of course, that a resolution of 1,024×768 may present one or two headaches on Windows 8. Notably, the snap app feature, which allows users to ‘snap’ two apps side by side, is one of the great implementations to the fledgling platform, but it requires a resolution of 1,366×768. Thus, at this point in time, any 7-inch or thereabouts Windows 8 slab would have to come with a notice attached that the snap app feature will not function.
That said, Windows Blue – which Microsoft plans to showcase at its BUILD developer conference this summer – will likely resolve any such issues. Moreover, according to The Verge, Microsoft working on tweaking the snap app feature for compatibility with 1,024×768 displays, so it may not be long before we see our first smaller Windows 8 tablet.