Microsoft has altered the specification requirements for Windows 8 tablets clearing a path for OEMs to launch smaller 7- and 8-inch form factor devices, reports ZDNet. Until now, Windows 8-certified devices were required to have a minimum resolution of 1366x768, while the new minimum has been reduced to 1024x768. HTC is among those rumored to be prepping devices on the new form factor, with reports that its 7-inch Windows RT device would also be able to make phone calls.
One issue with the reduction in the minimum resolution for devices running the current version of the Windows 8 or RT is that it won’t support the Snap feature, which allows for two apps to be displayed side by side in the Startscreen mode. This limitation is expected to be lifted when the Windows Blue update arrives. Windows Blue, which will permit windows to be snapped side by side on a 50-50 ratio. Windows 8 limits the Snap function to a 70-30 split that makes it unworkable on smaller displays with the new minimum resolution.
Microsoft says that the specification change will allow “partners exploring designs for certain markets could find greater design flexibility helpful,” hinting strongly that new form factors are on the way. Currently, Windows 8 devices have been limited to form factors typically 10-inches or larger. The growing popularity of small form factor tablets like Google Nexus 7 and the iPad mini will help OEM looking to increase sales of their Windows 8 devices by tapping into the growth market.