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Windows 8, Even Sharper than Apple’s Retina Display

Microsoft President for Windows and Windows Live Division Steven Sinofsky posted on the company’s Building Windows 8 Blog that Windows 8 can support displays that are even sharper than Apple’s Retina Display. The entry that was posted last March 22 also claims that the newest operating system can run on a 10.1-inch tablet screen with a 291-pixels-per-inch resolution.

Requirement for Hardware Manufacturers

Although Microsoft only develops software, it doesn’t demand on its hardware partners that their tablet or computer screens should meet a single requirement. The Windows 8 only calls for three standard scaling percentages: 100%, 140% and 180%.

Adhering to these scale percentages will make sure that the application written for the new OS is functional and attractive regardless of the screen size. Furthermore, it will help retain the size of an object as the display resolution increases.

Manufacturers should also meet the minimum display specification which is 1024×768. This goes in line with most website resolutions and devices that most Windows 7 users already have.

Accommodating Various Screen Sizes

According to the blog post, the size of each pixel decreases as its density increases. That’s why it’s important to accommodate for this change; otherwise, object and type sizes in applications will shrink as the screen resolution gets bigger.

Sinofsky further explained:

“Because these scaling percentages are predictable, developers who provide images for each percentage can easily avoid any blurriness or artifacts due to image stretching.”

However, this scaling doesn’t work the same for all applications. He added while directly pointing to iPad 2 and the new iPad’s scaling system:

“If all apps were scaled to fit, users wouldn’t be able to see more email messages on their 23-inch 1920×1080 screen.”

“In the case of iPad 2 compare to the new iPad, the 200% scaling factor means that what you see on 1024×768 is exactly what you see on the new resolution. Only sharper because more pixels are used.”

Making it Easy for Developers

App developers are no longer required to manually code its scale, since Microsoft uses standard pixel units and an Extensible Application Markup Language or XAML framework. Therefore, images created for each scale percentage can be stored and appropriately named. In turn, its corresponding hardware will automatically select the image suitable for it.

The need to adhere to minimum requirements boils down to one thing: Microsoft wants developers to create a high-quality application that can support various screen sizes using little effort.

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