Confirmed: Windows 8 Coming to Smaller Devices

Microsoft CFO Peter Klein confirmed during the company's Q313 earnings call that Windows 8 is coming to smaller devices. The news follows previous reports and rumors that the touchy new platform will be made available on tablet form factors ranging between 7-inches and 9-inches using ARM-based and Intel "Bay Trail"-based chips.

In a Q&A session during the earnings call, Klein acknowledged that the transition to Windows 8 hasn't been easy, but the company remains excited about the opportunities that lay ahead. The new platform has prepared Microsoft for the transition from desktop to touch devices, but there's still a lot of work to be done. Despite that, Microsoft is extremely "comfortable" about where the Windows 8 path is leading the company.

He also hinted to the Windows 8.1 "Blue" release, saying that Microsoft is working on "expanding and improving the experience." Not just for Surface, he said, but for Windows 8 devices at multiple price points including lower price points going forward. This backs up a statement made by Intel CEO Paul Otellini who previously said that many upcoming Windows 8 solutions will drop down into the $200 price point.

"If you look at touch-enabled Intel-based notebooks that are ultrathin using [Bay Trail] processors, those prices are going to be down to as low as $200," he said.

Microsoft's Klein first hinted to a move into the smaller tablet market in February during a Q&A session at the Goldman Sachs Technology & Internet Conference. When asked about Microsoft's plans for the 7- to 9-inch tablet market, he said that Microsoft has done a lot of hard work in the developer platform.

"We are well set up to respond to demand as we see it [with different-sized form factors]", he answered. Windows CFO Tami Reller said something similar, confirming that Windows 8 was designed from the start to run on smaller and bigger screens at different resolutions, enabled by an app-based platform/model.

The smaller sizes will reportedly be pushed to ODMs in Microsoft's Windows Blue release later this summer which includes Windows 8.1, Windows Phone 8.1 and an updated Widows RT. Although Microsoft has confirmed the Windows Blue rollout, the company has yet to reveal actual details. Leaked builds have provided some clues including a possible Start screen bypass, the return of the Start menu on the desktop, and support for smaller screen sizes.

Looking ahead, these smaller devices should help the Redmond company better penetrate the tablet market and possibly liven the current Windows 8 sales slump. Microsoft has already confirmed that the Surface brand was not done, that there will be more to come in the future despite a tepid reception to both models. That said, expect a large line of Windows 8 gadgets from ODMs and Microsoft to be introduced possibly at BUILD 2013 in June, if not shortly thereafter.

  • Not any of my devices. No thanks.
  • shine8210
    Confirmed: Nobody cared.
  • DjEaZy
    ... so what?
  • billgatez
    Putting Win 8 on smaller devices is no going to help sales.
  • rebel1280
    you mean smaller devices that have smaller drive space? Yeah, this is going to work out great for them. If they use the Intel chip and bring the OS under control, 2 GB installed TOPS! i might be remotely interested until then. Moving on, nothing to see here. Why MS decided to that it was a good idea to make their OS so huge on a tablet is beyond me. Some of the greatest deveolpers work for MS and they still cant manage to shrink it down, only having 23 GB of 64 GB available is a joke and one nobody is laughing at.
  • cknobman
    10700950 said:
    Putting Win 8 on smaller devices is no going to help sales.

    I think your missing the bigger picture. Putting Windows 8 on smaller devices helps them lower the price point which if they can reach the $200 price point it will in fact, greatly, help sales.
  • Asok Smith
    Wait! I know how to fix the problem! New Coke in regular sized cans was a disaster, right? So let's try smaller cans! Smaller cans should make people love New Coke! Right?
  • fnh
    More device-y, less talke-y.
  • vertigo_2000
    And not a single f**k was given.
  • redyellowblueblast
    - No Thanks. That's what Android is for. Its also a far more competent OS.