Windows 8 is designed at least as much for tablets as it is for desktop and laptop computers, and Microsoft has been playing up the touch-friendly features of the operating system. But so far you haven’t been able to get a Windows 8 or Windows RT touchscreen device with a display smaller than 10 inches.

Microsoft expects that to change in the next few months.

Microsoft Surface

The company recently made a change to its logo requirements, allowing device makers to slap the Windows logo on devices with lower resolution 1024 x 768 pixel screens. That paves the way for tablets or notebooks with screens closer in size to the 7.9 inch iPad mini than the 10.4 inch Microsoft Surface RT or Surface Pro.

Speaking in today’s quarterly earnings call, Microsoft’s CFO Peter Klein acknowledged that the company is working with manufacturers to make Windows play well with smaller screens.

Microsoft hasn’t said if that means we’ll see an official Microsoft Surface tablet with a 7 or 8 inch display or if Microsoft is simply making it easier for hardware companies to build Windows devices of that size on their own if that’s the direction they want to go in.

Meanwhile, as Windows tablets are getting smaller, there’s a rumor that Windows Phone handsets may be getting larger — which could make it harder than ever for Microsoft to explain why it has three different Windows operating systems, in Windows Phone, Windows RT, and Windows 8.


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12 replies on “Microsoft expects smaller Windows touchscreen devices “in the coming months””

  1. I wonder how it’s going to go. I wonder if they will allow the desktop on those devices. I have the feeling, at least for RT, that Microsoft wanted to get rid of the desktop entirely, but ran out of time for the OS and for making an Office version for the Modern UI.

    If they use the Pro version I still wonder if they will allow the desktop since you almost need a keyboard and mouse to get around the desktop efficiently.

    It would be cool if they could effectively combine the desktop and tile UI into one so that the desktop is touch and zoom friendly while still being able to run Modern UI and Windowed apps in tiles or windows depending on your preferences.

    1. This was the whole idea behind Windows 8. Unfortunately it is a huge fail.

      1. Should really check out all the changes they’re making with Code Blue Windows 8.1 before making that conclusion so final…

      2. Future success will depend on any UI tweaks like boot to desktop, available apps, and pricing.

        Even if MS got the price of RT tablets down to parity with Android tablets, RT’s app shortfall is too great to overcome, let alone iOS’s.

        I also don’t see any future for RT if Intel’s prediction that future decent x86 Atom-based hardware will be price competitive with ARM (although I don’t think this will happen in the next year). So I expect MS to drop RT in the next 2 years.

        1. I wouldn’t be surprised to see both ARM RT devices and the RT subsubsystem on x86/64 disappear like Clippy or MS Bob. Usage metrics after Win8.1 boot to Desktop will make it clear Metro/RT is a huge FAIL. Now if they’d just recall the nasty Ribbon too!

          1. Ribbon is very useful for compacting a complex menu system to fit into a small screen and still be able to focus on the app instead of the menu!

            Ribbon is just not good for simple menus, and less useful on larger screens, but every menu organization method has it’s pluses and minuses…

            While WP8 is suppose to eventually get dropped in favor of just W8 over everything but that’s far off in the future for now.

            Right now it seems they’ll just merge RT with W8 and we’ll see what exactly that means when the update is out…

          2. I disagree, the option to boot to desktop is just a concession to those who prefer to work on the desktop but will have no effect for mobile usage where the modern UI becomes preferable to use over a desktop UI that was never meant for mobile usage.

            Even Google Android has developed different UI optimization according to screen size, differentiating between phone, phablet, and full size tablet form factors.

            Windows 8 just limits that range to two extremes of mobile and desktop. Each valid for the usage range they’re primarily intended for but accessible by the same OS means allowing overlap that’s not possible with other options right now.

            A Windows 8 user for example, on a tablet doesn’t need to use Citrix or Remote desktop just to run a Office app. While desktop users aren’t locked out of using mobile apps if they so wish.

            What Windows 8 actually failed was providing the flexibility to switch between them as needed instead of having to deal with both on both usage ranges and this is what they appear to be fixing now. Along with allowing legacy users more time to adapt…

            Ribbon is similar in that it is good for certain menu organization uses, and other systems are good for different situations. There’s nothing terrible about it, just a question of whether it is being applied correctly in the best usage case…

            Since like a fish out of water, anything can seem bad if used improperly!

    2. Could always just reserve the desktop for when the device is docked to a external screen, keyboard, and mouse…

    3. Nothing’s stopping OEMs from putting a mouse in the bezel. An active stylus and the software keyboard work pretty well in the desktop.

  2. I hope some of them are running Windows 8 and not RT. Been waiting for a good 7″ Clover Trail Windows 8 tablet.

    1. I hope so too. RT blows. It looks so similar to Windows 8 so it’s always compared to it as a limited version. If you want another limited mobile OS then just get an Android tablet or iPad.

      I hope the upcoming changes gets rid of RT and MS comes out with Windows 8 for ARM. The whole “merging” thing better not be the other way around.

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