Microsoft has always had requirements for the hardware its operating systems is supposed to run on. For tablets and convertibles it has extended requirements to make sure Windows 8 will be the experience Microsoft wants it to be.

The hardware requirements in the form of processorer, memorym harddrive capacity and graphics cards are what most think og when they hear system requirements. But Microsoft wants, like so many other companies, sell a user experience, not just software. It has decided to broaden the hardware requirements in several ways when it comes to tablets and convertibles, which are also affected by a locked down Secure Boot.

A touch screen will have five touch points, to be able to register all five fingers of the hand. This is often refered to as multi-touch. NFC in one form or another will be available, which means you will be able to ”nod” two Windows 8 units towards each other to share information. There will also be clear  markings where the units should touch the other during NFC. Other specifications include:

  • At least 10 GB space
  • 1366 x 768 screen
  • WLAN and Bluetooth 4.0 + LTE (optional)
  • 720p camera
  • Power, rotation, volume up, volume down and Windows button
  • Speaker and microphone
  • At least one USB 2.0 port
  • Sensors including gyroscope, accelerometer and magnetometer
  • Bezel at most 26 mm
  • DirectX 10 with WDDM 1.2 drivers
  • UEFI

Microsoft Will also force support for updating the drivers without boot, which has just been an option before and not a mush. This is a fucntion that has been available in Windows Vista, but was hard to do since there were both XDDM and WDDM drivers. With Windows 8 there will only be WDDM, which makes it relatively easy to do.

The unit will wake up fast and Microsoft has set a limit of 2 seconds. This is specific to x86-based units. Why ARM is not restricted to this can be for several reasons, but most likely it is such a new architecture for Microsoft. This is something we can expect in future updates of Windows 8.

More on the hardware requirements in the Windows 8 Device Requirements document, page 293.

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