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

in iPad edited January 2014
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.

Surface WiFi

"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.


  • Reply 1 of 24
    umrk_labumrk_lab Posts: 550member
    What will be the size of the keyboard of that thing ?
  • Reply 2 of 24

    Oh, please.


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

  • Reply 3 of 24
    jpvnjpvn Posts: 40member
    another Microsoft failure.
  • Reply 4 of 24

    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.

  • Reply 5 of 24
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,662member
    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 ...
  • Reply 6 of 24
    alphafoxalphafox Posts: 132member
    Retina iPad mini - shut up and take my money!!
  • Reply 7 of 24

    Great, more fucking Win RT landfill. 

  • Reply 8 of 24
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,926member
    The commercials will feature vertically challenged people dancing.
  • Reply 9 of 24
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member

    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.

  • Reply 10 of 24
    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..."
    "Wow, I suppose giving the recycle bin an animated thumbnail really backfired..."
  • Reply 11 of 24
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,375member
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 24
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,789member

    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.

  • Reply 13 of 24
    umrk_labumrk_lab Posts: 550member


    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 .....

  • Reply 14 of 24
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member

    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.

  • Reply 15 of 24


    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.

  • Reply 16 of 24
    Change title to Microsoft prepares the next Zune, Kin etc
  • Reply 17 of 24
    relicrelic Posts: 4,735member
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 24
    minicaptminicapt Posts: 219member


    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.



  • Reply 19 of 24
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,388member

    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.

  • Reply 20 of 24
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,675member
    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?
Sign In or Register to comment.