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Microsoft's changes to Windows 8 certification rules hint at potential iPad mini competitor

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Recent changes quietly made to the Windows 8 hardware certification guidelines suggest that Microsoft could be gearing up to debut a new, smaller "Windows Reader" tablet designed to compete with more portable devices like Apple's iPad mini.

Microsoft recently relaxed its hardware certification rules to allow devices with screen resolutions of 1,024 by 768 pixels at a depth of 32 bits. But the Redmond, Wash., company also warned developers that it doesn't mean they are allowed to develop hardware with low-resolution displays.

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"This doesn't imply we're encouraging partners to regularly use a lower screen resolution," Microsoft said. "In fact, we see customers embracing the higher resolution screens that make a great Windows experience. We understand that partners exploring designs for certain markets could find greater design flexibility helpful."

That statement was viewed as "cryptic" by Ed Bott of CNet who suggested the change could hint that Microsoft is setting the stage to allow devices with smaller form factors. The company has been rumored to be at work on a so-called "Windows Reader" for some time.

The new resolution allowed for Windows 8 devices happens to match the display of Apple's iPad mini, which also sports a 1,024-by-768-pixel 7.9-inch screen. And the iPad 2, which Apple also continues to sell, features the same resolution on a larger 9.7-inch display, giving it a lower pixel density.

Windows 8 devices that run at Microsoft's newly approved lower resolution will lose the operating system's "snap" feature, which allows two Windows Store applications to be viewed simultaneously side by side. Manufacturers are required by Microsoft to disclose this loss "to avoid potential customer disappointment."

While Microsoft looks to lower resolutions, some expect that Apple will boost the iPad mini to a Retina-caliber display with a second-generation model this year. However, others have suggested that doubling the iPad mini's resolution on its small 7.9-inch display may be too difficult a feat to accomplish this year.

Microsoft's current closest competitor to the full-size iPad is the Surface with Windows RT, which has a screen resolution of 1,366 by 768 pixels on a 10.1-inch display. A head-to-head comparison conducted last November by Raymond Soneira of DisplayMate found that the Surface outperforms Apple's iPad 2, but falls short of newer full-size iPad models with Retina displays.
post #2 of 25
What will be the size of the keyboard of that thing ?
post #3 of 25

Oh, please.

 

At what point does the wall say to the head, "stop"?

post #4 of 25
another Microsoft failure.
post #5 of 25

MS has to keep trying new things, but I would think they would focus on getting what they have already "right" before looking to offer a new form factor with even more compromises.  Otherwise they're likely to bring a new "reader" to market that requires a keyboard and mouse and can run legacy windows programs and drive any of the 400 million usb devices on the market - you know, the way the Surface works today...

 

The whole idea of using non-touch based software on a touch based piece of hardware is just ridiculous.  I watched a business partner try using an app on his iPad that connects him to his company's server based crm software and just getting the point and click to work was frustrating at best.  I really can't believe MS thought this was a viable option - or maybe they didn't, which is why they only promote the Surface as being used with a keyboard and mouse.  In other words, it's not really a tablet at all, but rather it's a small form factor laptop.

post #6 of 25
So many question ... will this smaller Microsoft tablet be a smaller failure than the larger Microsoft tablet or a larger one?

Counting the months to a Microsoft fork of Android ...
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From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
"Google doesn't sell you anything, they just sell you!"
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post #7 of 25
Retina iPad mini - shut up and take my money!!
post #8 of 25

Great, more fucking Win RT landfill. 

post #9 of 25
The commercials will feature vertically challenged people dancing.
post #10 of 25

Just what the market needs...more 7" tablets.  Be curious to see the pricing on these as one would assume it will be harder for Microsoft to push Office and keyboard/trackpad on a smaller device.

post #11 of 25
Hmmm. I'd love a good competitor here, but Microsoft has been off their game since they convinced themselves they were innovators. They have huge pools of talent but for some reason, just not the "religion" of excellence and focus on the user that Apple has. They have one really strong card to play, however; Windows Classic. Nothing could beat Win 8 but a great marketing push to put the old clunky but understandable interface back on top of the newer OS. Metro is an awesome multimedia demo -- but it's as bad as that Ribbon control for usability. "Is that a slide show of your uncle Rubert or a graphics app?" "I don't know -- just click it..." "Click." "Wow, I suppose giving the recycle bin an animated thumbnail really backfired..."
post #12 of 25
Can't wait for the unreadable clusterfuck that is the classic windows desktop on a 7" screen. Consumer frustration and the usability nightmare should be glorious.
post #13 of 25
Originally Posted by Fake_William_Shatner View Post

They have huge pools of talent but for some reason, just not the "religion" of excellence and focus on the user that Apple has.

 

I think any company reflects the personality of its founder.  Bill Gates: brilliant businessman, technically only moderately competent, zero charisma, totally unaware of what end users want.  Steve Jobs: brilliant businessman, non-technical, world-class charisma, completely focused on the end user experience.

 

The only two things they had in common was "brilliant businessman," in my opinion.  But in totally different ways.  Gates knew exactly how to crush any competitor, whether large or small, and how to milk every last dollar out of corporate IT departments.  Microsoft crushed large competitors by working together with them (Apple with Mac OS, IBM with OS/2) then co-opting their technology.  Microsoft took many ideas from Mac OS (and some source code).  They managed to kill off OS/2 from within IBM by hiring away talent and turning OS/2 2.0 into Windows NT.  And Microsoft crushed smaller competitors with FUD ("we'll be doing that next year too, so don't bother with Brand X") and by leveraging their monopoly position (bundling Internet Explorer into the Windows desktop.)

 

Jobs brilliance in business enabled him to see exactly how to out-do any competitor by disrupting their entire industry.  By understanding their business model, then imagining a better business model for Apple to pursue in that industry.  For example, he crushed all the other MP3 player manufacturers by first realizing that it's the software that drives the user experience.  Hence iTunes, which was released before the first iPod.  (Remember "Rip. Mix. Burn."?)  iTunes was the main reason for iPod's success, and drove Apple's profitability through the 2000s.  Then he leveraged the success of iPod and iTunes to disrupt the entire music industry: no more DRM, the extinction of cassette tapes, the rapid decline of CD sales in favor of iTunes internet delivery, etc.  And Apple may eventually be able to do the same with the television industry.  But I digress.

 

The founder of a company shapes the company's corporate culture and "personality."  Jobs had plenty of personality.  Gates not so much.

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post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

 

<...>

 

The founder of a company shapes the company's corporate culture and "personality."  Jobs had plenty of personality.  Gates not so much.

 

Yes, Microsoft "has no taste", and a lot of conclusions can be drawn from comparing Steve and Bill houses ....

 

But let's not forget that Microsoft strong point is in professional market, and Apple on consumer market, which explains many of their differences. For a long time, PCs have been too expansive for individuals. When they started to be affordable to individuals, a lot of people thought they could not be sold without a lot of technical assistance (starting with the act of selecting the right configuration). That was technically true (and still is, I believe, in the MSFT world) but people preferred to pay less, thinking they would always find a way to make it work by themselves.

 

I am convinced a large majority of Windows machines are underutilized, because of this, but Microsoft just don't care, because ultimately it triggers the selling of new machines, when people are too disgusted with the old one ...

 

The iPad has changed the game, because it has demonstrated to many people, and in particular those who thought they would never be able to use a computer (some elderly people, in particular) that it could work without any special trick or training. Now that Apple has set the standard, competitors have to align their offering with this, and this is where MSFT goes into trouble .....

post #15 of 25

These tablets are a flop at 10 inches and they'll also be a flop at 7 inches.

 

I also take offense at the title which states "potential iPad Mini competitor", because it comes across as a total joke to even suggest such a thing.

post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

At what point does the wall say to the head, "stop"?

 

It also said "stop" to the chair Ballmer had thrown, but that didn't help.

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post #17 of 25
Change title to Microsoft prepares the next Zune, Kin etc
post #18 of 25
I still can't believe MS released the Surface Pro with a battery life of only 3.5 hours, no excuse for that. 7 inches sounds a bit small for Windows 8.
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post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

Can't wait for the unreadable clusterfuck that is the classic windows desktop on a 7" screen. Consumer frustration and the usability nightmare should be glorious.

Not a problem: 640 x 480 x 8bits, and Bob's your uncle.

 

Cheers

post #20 of 25
Originally Posted by minicapt View Post
Not a problem: 640 x 480 x 8bits, and Bob's your uncle.

 

Hey, just like Windows 8 on my Cinema Display.

post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Hey, just like Windows 8 on my Cinema Display.
You still have that problem? Who are you waiting on here? OSX update or better video driver?
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post #22 of 25
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post
You still have that problem? Who are you waiting on here? OSX update or better video driver?

 

Neither! With 10.8.3, Apple finally released official Windows 8 drivers, so I wiped my Windows partition and reinstalled clean.

 

Didn't fix it. In fact, the bare Windows installation, before installing Boot Camp, recognized my GPU and output 256x1440 properly. And then Boot Camp broke that. So I wiped it again and reinstalled again (because, yeah, right, an existing driver is ever going to uninstall properly in Windows). This time, the bare Windows installation didn't recognize my GPU. So I installed Boot Camp and went from there. Still broken. And now I can't even do my old method for fixing it because Windows only reports one driver on the card and nothing to revert to (and it refuses to update from what it has), so I have to reinstall the Boot Camp drivers every time I boot into Windows now (which, apparently, now that they're already applied and not working, will magically start displaying the resolution properly after reinstallation).

 

I guess that's actually easier than my old method, which was Start/Control Panel/Devices/Hardware & Devices/[computer name]/Radeon 4870/Modify/Drivers/ and then either "revert" or "update" depending on whichever one I had done the last time I booted. 

 

I blame Microsoft and Apple equally for this mess. Microsoft for being so ************* stupid that they can't seem to make an OS intelligent enough to know what a graphics card is and for making the process of telling it how to behave, at the bare minimum, like a computer from 1995 a ************* ******* ************** ordeal. And Apple, for getting my hopes up that some action would have actually been undertaken to make all of their devices compatible with Windows 8, and dashing them on the rocks when I saw that no relevant drivers had changed.

 

ATI has discontinued drivers for the 4xxx series, so everyone with a Mac Pro and a Radeon 4870 should be having this problem. I can only imagine how many more people are having it with other, even older Macs.

 

Oh, and since 10.8.3, OS X refuses to restart or shut down. Ever. I have to hard shut down every time. So now I have to clean reinstall OS X and copy my multiple terabytes of personal data back manually to prevent whatever bug from reappearing.

post #23 of 25
Thought I'd Google for an answer to your problems but came up zip. Maybe I have a spare hour tomorrow - for now I gotta run. Sorry to hear these problems are still persistent!
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post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Neither! With 10.8.3, Apple finally released official Windows 8 drivers, so I wiped my Windows partition and reinstalled clean.

Didn't fix it. In fact, the bare Windows installation, before installing Boot Camp, recognized my GPU and output 256x1440 properly. And then Boot Camp broke that. So I wiped it again and reinstalled again (because, yeah, right, an existing driver is ever going to uninstall properly in Windows). This time, the bare Windows installation didn't recognize my GPU. So I installed Boot Camp and went from there. Still broken. And now I can't even do my old method for fixing it because Windows only reports one driver on the card and nothing to revert to (and it refuses to update from what it has), so I have to reinstall the Boot Camp drivers every time I boot into Windows now (which, apparently, now that they're already applied and not working, will magically start displaying the resolution properly after reinstallation).

I guess that's actually easier than my old method, which was Start/Control Panel/Devices/Hardware & Devices/[computer name]/Radeon 4870/Modify/Drivers/ and then either "revert" or "update" depending on whichever one I had done the last time I booted. 

I blame Microsoft and Apple equally for this mess. Microsoft for being so ************* stupid that they can't seem to make an OS intelligent enough to know what a graphics card is and for making the process of telling it how to behave, at the bare minimum, like a computer from 1995 a ************* ******* ************** ordeal. And Apple, for getting my hopes up that some action would have actually been undertaken to make all of their devices compatible with Windows 8, and dashing them on the rocks when I saw that no relevant drivers had changed.

ATI has discontinued drivers for the 4xxx series, so everyone with a Mac Pro and a Radeon 4870 should be having this problem. I can only imagine how many more people are having it with other, even older Macs.

Oh, and since 10.8.3, OS X refuses to restart or shut down. Ever. I have to hard shut down every time. So now I have to clean reinstall OS X and copy my multiple terabytes of personal data back manually to prevent whatever bug from reappearing.

I don't know about the shut down problem. Sounds like something got messed up.

For the Windows drivers, maybe these pages will help:
http://support.amd.com/us/gpudownload/Pages/bootcamp-xp.aspx
http://support.amd.com/us/gpudownload/Pages/bootcamp-win7.aspx
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/2327962?start=0&tstart=0
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
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post #25 of 25
That certainly is very kind of you jragosta; hope these sources lead to a fix.
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