At the time of this writing, Windows 8 hasn’t come out yet; therefore, there are no Windows 8 tablet devices in the stores. But, if you are curious about what to expect with Windows 8 tablet devices in terms of hardware, read on!

Microsoft has published the tablet device requirements for Windows 8 that manufacturers need to follow to have their device certified. You can read the official document if you want to get technical and are bored. But we are going to give you the gist of the things you might find important as a consumer.

What Does Certified Windows 8 Device Mean?

You may wonder what is meant for a device to be certified by Microsoft as an Windows 8 device. Well, for consumers, it is sort of a guarantee of a great user experience. Windows 8 has great features that need to be well integrated with the hardware. If the hardware doesn’t have a certain requirement, some features in Windows 8 will not work or work poorly. For example, without a magnetometer compass apps in Windows 8 won’t work!
Also, if a device is certified, Microsoft will put the manufacturer’s logo in the device’s boot screen. This has never been done before! When Windows boots, we see the Windows logo. But with Windows 8, certified devices will have the manufacturer’s logo. For example, a HP tablet will feature the HP logo.

Difference Between Windows 8 ARM and Windows 8 x86 Devices

Before moving on, I am going to clarify the difference between an ARM based device and an x86 device. If you are already familiar with these types of devices, skip this and the next paragraph. ARM based devices run on a processor type called ARM and the iPad and Android tablets are examples of ARM tablets. These tablets, though not as powerful, has a great battery life and do not need fans to cool. Windows 8 will be the first version of Windows to run on ARM devices. The drawback of these devices is that they will not run Windows programs designed to run on Windows 7 and earlier. Only Windows 8 “Metro Style” apps will work on these devices.
An x86 device is a device that runs on x86 processors by chip makers, like Intel and AMD. These are the devices that we today call traditional PCs, like laptops and desktops. Windows 8 will run on these devices as well. These devices will be more powerful and will be able to run all Windows programs made for Windows 7 and earlier. They will also run Windows 8 “Metro Style” apps. However, many will require a fan to cool (making device thicker and hotter), and battery life will be less than that of ARM devices.
With the background information out of the way, let’s get to the beef and find out what the Windows 8 devices will be like

All Windows 8 Tablets (ARM and x86)

  • Five-finger multi-touch: the screen must be able to respond to at least up to five fingers simultaneity; that is, I should be able to virtually paint on a tablet with at least up to five fingers at the same time
  • 720p Cameras: These are high definition resolutions
  • Screen resolution of at least 1366 by 768. This resolution is required for all features of Windows 8 to work, notably, the ability to run two metro style apps side by side.
  • Five of the following buttons:
    • Power
    • Windows Key (This will take you to the start screen)
    • Volume up and volume down
    • Rotation lock (we may not always want to accidentally cause our screen to go portrait or landscape when we tilt our screen.)
  • Ambient light sensor (perhaps so the device can adjust brightness accordingly)
  • Gyroscope and accelerometer for rotation inputs
  • magnetometer (useful for apps needing compass functionality)
  • 10 GB of free storage space at the least
  • At least 1 GHz processor
  • At least 1 GB RAM (2 GB for 64 bit Windows)

x86 Devices Requirement

  • Two-second resume: if the computer is asleep, it must awake by or quicker than two seconds
  • Switching on and off Secure Boot must be an option. Secure boot is a security feature that helps fight threats during system boot. However, because it blocks unsigned OS, many many not be able to install some Linux operating systems with secure boot enabled.

ARM Devices Requirement

  • Secure boot must not be able to be switched off

Other, Interesting, Notes

It is required that holding the power button and the Windows key must bring up the Ctrl+Alt+Delete feature present in Windows since day one.