Microsoft’s Recommended Form Factor Guide For Windows 8.1 Devices

Microsoft has shared a form factor guide for Windows OEMs to make better Windows devices. This Form Factors guide is not related to the usual Windows Hardware Certification Requirements. Instead, this form factor guide focuses on providing guidance for OEMs on bezel size and weight, buttons, target resolutions, and aspect ratios for Windows devices.

Here are some info in the document,

1) Device screen size and the recommended maximum weight.

  • < 8.5” –  350 g
  • 8.5” – 10” – 650 g
  • 10.1”  – 650 g

2) All Windows devices should have at least 7mm bezel for optimal experience.

3) Windows is optimized for landscape orientation. Even though Windows supports both portrait and landscape, Microsoft recommends landscape as the primary orientation of the device which are tablets, convertibles and mobile All-in-one.

4) Microsoft recommends soft press buttons for Rotation lock, Volume Control, Power, etc,. OEMs can use capacitive button for Windows keys only if the device implements an optically bonded glass.

5) Microsoft has strict recommendations on Windows logo on the Windows button. The logo should be black or white only. Microsoft has specified the logo size and ratio which will vary depending on the bezel size.

6) For Display:

  • For >=7″ tablet, min resolution is 1024X768 and aspect ratio can be 4:3, 16:9, 16:10
  • For >=10″ devices, min resolution is 1366X768 and aspect ration should be 16:9
  • For >=7″ tablets, brightness should be >=300nits, for 10″ tablets, brightness should be >=400nits.

7) Microsoft has also described the Start screen scaling based on display resolution and size. For example, a 7inch device can only have 3 rows of Start screen tiles regardless of screen resolution. A 10.1 inch device can have up to 4 rows of start screen live tiles.

8) Microsoft has recommendations for cover glass of the device. Choosing anti-glare materials, glass coatings that reduce fingerprints, OGS are some of them.

9) Cameras are recommended to be placed at center of the top bezel of the device. Its better to avoid corner placement as it is difficult to optimize for both portrait and landscape orientations.

10) There are also some recommendations on Keyboard and its key travel, ambient sensor placement, wrist/palm rest, etc,.

Even though Microsoft can recommend all these factors, it’s up to OEMs who deliver the devices with best possible experience.

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