updated 11:35 pm EDT, Wed June 1, 2011
Windows 8 at Computex gets performance specs
Microsoft has used its presentation at Computex in Taiwan to show off Windows 8 and detail newly toughened requirements. The OS' flexibility was such that it was shown on anything from a basic tablet up to performance notebooks, such as a Dell XPS or a future HP dv6 running AMD Llano that will ship later in the spring. ARM-based prototypes were on view at the same time and even included a quad-core NVIDIA Kal-El notebooks and tablets that could use hardware-accelerated HTML5 rendering, much like an x86 system.
Several hardware features were also in the works specifically to accommodate the needs of tablets, Microsoft said. They would have the option of an always-on mode that would park the systems but wake them up instantly and keep them on the network so they could get data much like a smartphone. Universal EFI firmware could speed up a cold boot to as quick as six seconds with an SSD, and a third-generation activation system would speed up getting a device ready to use. More sensor support is coming and will likely include accelerometers and other tablet-ready hardware.
Technical requirements are now stiffer. At least a 1024x600 screen is needed to use Windows 8 with a traditional look, but an iPad-sized 1024x768 will be the minimum for the new interface. The ideal experience will need a 1366x768 or larger screen, a size common to most notebooks today. A 16:9 aspect ratio is ideal but not necessary.
Touch devices will need "first pixel" accuracy on the edges of the screen, as well as edge-to-edge glass surfaces, to properly support the side swipes needed for touch multitasking and other edge-dependent commands.
The details promise a very broad experience but also show the potential for much deeper integration with hardware than Microsoft has been known for in the past. It has always set minimum and recommended requirements. With Windows 8, however, it would be dictating parts of the form factor and setting expectations based on issues like responsiveness and battery life. Microsoft has acknowledged that the iPad had shown interface and app distribution elements but may be going even further with talk of special Windows 8 incentives for PC builders that could include lower prices or speed-ups. [via Engadget]