Writing in the Building Windows 8 blog, Microsoft’s David Washington confirmed that Windows 8 tablets will support high-resolution displays.
Washington said that the tablet specs will support displays that are even sharper than the iPad’s 2048 x 1536 Retina Display, and revealed that 10.1-inch Windows 8 tablets will be able run at a resolution of 2560 x 1440*. That works out at 291 pixels per inch (ppi), which compares favorably with the new iPad, which offers a ppi of 265.
The image below details that Microsoft believes that some 10.1-inch and 11.6-inch Windows 8 tablets will run at FullHD 1920 x 1080 (that's 218 and 190 ppi, respectively), and seems to suggest the software giant reckons there will be some 17-inch slate devices on the market. That said, it may be that, for the sake of classification, Microsoft has just bundled Ultrabooks into the 'slate' category.
Washington, a senior program manager on the Windows user-experience team, said that there are three scaling methods to ensure apps are displayed in an optimum way across tablets, laptops and desktops. For example, Microsoft has said that the 100% scaling method will be used to push apps to those devices with standard 1280 x 800 or 1366 x 768 resolution displays, but expects the 140% scale to be used for 1920 x 1080 resolution tablets and the 180% measurement for those slates boasting 2560 x 1440 screens.
“Because these scaling percentages are predictable, developers who provide images for each percentage can easily avoid any blurriness or artefacts due to image stretching”, said Washington, who added that a lack of scaling tools would result in content shrinking, due to the increasing pixel density as the screen resolution improves.
Microsoft outlines the minimum requirement to be for screens of 1024 x 768 resolution, and explained that this resolution will allow Windows 8 tablets to support most websites. The software giant also added that there is still a plethora of Windows 7 devices running at this resolution.
Finally, Microsoft has revealed that frameworks are in place so that developers don’t need to manually code their apps to scale up or down, depending on the device. The firm has said that by using standard pixel units and XAML layouts, layouts will be able to scale to whatever screen.
* Samsung will be delighted by this news, as the Korean electronics manufacturer is, to our knowledge, the only display manufacturer to have made 10.1-inch screens of this resolution to date.