Typically, larger, 10-inch tablets utilize high-definition screens. But as the iPad Mini's 1024x768-pixel resolution has demonstrated, buyers are willing to trade display density for smaller form factors and lower prices.
According to the leaked build, Windows Blue includes increased support for particularly high-resolution screens, and Microsoft executives have repeatedly mentioned that Windows 8 is engineered to scale to different screen sizes. If lightweight tablets aren't your thing, Windows Blue should debut in many other shapes and sizes.
5. Apps remain a key factor.
Even with Windows Blue's enhancements, the Modern UI's app store continues to trail those of its major competitors. Redmond has been proactive on this front, launching upgrades to several Windows 8 core apps and, in a somewhat more questionable move, offering programmers $100 bonuses for each new app. But Redmond still needs to do more; no matter what improvements Blue brings, Microsoft will need inspired efforts from developers if it is to threaten Apple and Google's tablet dominance.
Office president DelBene's remarks about touch functions are an encouraging sign that Microsoft is exploring user experiences that its competitors have yet to bring to market. A report that Microsoft has assembled a secret team to build "risky" apps is more encouraging still. But until these indications translate to results, Windows 8 will be fighting an uphill battle, with or without Blue's enhancements.
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InformationWeek Must Reads Oct. 21, 2014InformationWeek's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of digital strategy. Learn why you should learn to embrace DevOps, how to avoid roadblocks for digital projects, what the five steps to API management are, and more.