You must have at least 8 inches for Windows 10 to go all the way

El Reg decodes Microsoft's size rule


Comment The Windows 10 traditional desktop is a no-go zone for new tablets smaller than 8-inches across, according to Microsoft exec Joe Belfiore.

This week he tweeted that only slabs at least 8in in size can run the Windows 10 operating system in desktop mode and use normal 32-bit Windows applications. Smaller slates and smartphones will not get the traditional desktop, and can only run Modern user-interface apps, such as those from the Windows Store.

There is a twist though. If you want to upgrade your 7-inch fondleslab running desktop Windows 8 to 10, you get to keep the traditional desktop. "You get continuum,” as Windows veep Belfiore put it.

It is a dilemma. The traditional Windows desktop makes no sense on a small tablet. It was designed for mice and keyboards, not fingers on touchscreens, and it was not certainly designed for tiny displays.

A stylus makes it somewhat useable, otherwise you jab away with a fat finger hoping to hit the mark. Why even allow it on 8in devices? Even on larger tablets, the Windows desktop is out of place.

That said, one of the attractions of devices like the cheapo 8-inch Linx 8 tablet – reviewed by El Reg here – is that it can run any of the vast number of existing normal Windows programs out there. There is also an option to connect to a larger screen either via HDMI or wireless. Add a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, and a tablet of any decent enough size makes a workable PC.

Such hybrid slabs can work in the market, as recent sales demonstrate.

Windows RT, the ARM build of Windows 8 that had a locked-down desktop, was a failure in part because of the lack of compelling apps in the Windows Store. Small Windows tablets, even x86 ones, could suffer from the same problem if Redmond's app shop doesn't measure up.

Windows 10 comes bundled with universal apps so they can work across small tablets with no desktop to larger slabs with more display space.

This includes the new Start menu, Maps, Photos, and even the new Calculator (the old Calc accessory has been removed from the latest preview.) In addition, Microsoft has promised and demonstrated a version of Office packed with universal apps, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote.

One other thought: if there is a way to upgrade from Windows 8 to 10 on a small tablet and still keep the desktop, the more enthusiastic among us will probably find a way to enable the desktop on new tablets smaller than 8 inches.

If Microsoft has any sense, it will not fight those hackers. Making the desktop, and Win32 app support, a switchable option would help on several levels, giving businesses an option for locked-down devices while individuals would be free to run what they want.

Long term, though, if Windows is to have any future on tablets, the desktop has to go. ®


Other stories you might like

  • Despite global uncertainty, $500m hit doesn't rattle Nvidia execs
    CEO acknowledges impact of war, pandemic but says fundamentals ‘are really good’

    Nvidia is expecting a $500 million hit to its global datacenter and consumer business in the second quarter due to COVID lockdowns in China and Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Despite those and other macroeconomic concerns, executives are still optimistic about future prospects.

    "The full impact and duration of the war in Ukraine and COVID lockdowns in China is difficult to predict. However, the impact of our technology and our market opportunities remain unchanged," said Jensen Huang, Nvidia's CEO and co-founder, during the company's first-quarter earnings call.

    Those two statements might sound a little contradictory, including to some investors, particularly following the stock selloff yesterday after concerns over Russia and China prompted Nvidia to issue lower-than-expected guidance for second-quarter revenue.

    Continue reading
  • Another AI supercomputer from HPE: Champollion lands in France
    That's the second in a week following similar system in Munich also aimed at researchers

    HPE is lifting the lid on a new AI supercomputer – the second this week – aimed at building and training larger machine learning models to underpin research.

    Based at HPE's Center of Excellence in Grenoble, France, the new supercomputer is to be named Champollion after the French scholar who made advances in deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs in the 19th century. It was built in partnership with Nvidia using AMD-based Apollo computer nodes fitted with Nvidia's A100 GPUs.

    Champollion brings together HPC and purpose-built AI technologies to train machine learning models at scale and unlock results faster, HPE said. HPE already provides HPC and AI resources from its Grenoble facilities for customers, and the broader research community to access, and said it plans to provide access to Champollion for scientists and engineers globally to accelerate testing of their AI models and research.

    Continue reading
  • Workday nearly doubles losses as waves of deals pushed back
    Figures disappoint analysts as SaaSy HR and finance application vendor navigates economic uncertainty

    HR and finance application vendor Workday's CEO, Aneel Bhusri, confirmed deal wins expected for the three-month period ending April 30 were being pushed back until later in 2022.

    The SaaS company boss was speaking as Workday recorded an operating loss of $72.8 million in its first quarter [PDF] of fiscal '23, nearly double the $38.3 million loss recorded for the same period a year earlier. Workday also saw revenue increase to $1.43 billion in the period, up 22 percent year-on-year.

    However, the company increased its revenue guidance for the full financial year. It said revenues would be between $5.537 billion and $5.557 billion, an increase of 22 percent on earlier estimates.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022