Windows 8 running on devices with screens sporting resolutions smaller than 1024 x 768 won’t offer users the new breed of applications tailored to the Metro platform.
This detail is tucked away among the system requirements for the next major iteration of Windows, and was confirmed recently by Alice Steinglass, the group program manager for the Core Experience Evolved team.
Of course, machines with screens capable of resolutions of 1024 x 768 or larger are quite common today, and this means that only extremely few users will end up being impacted by this limitation.
“Windows 8 requires a 1024 x 768 minimum resolution for Metro style apps,” Steinglass emphasized.
Windows 8’s system requirements are pretty modest, which means that those users looking to minimize their spending on new hardware in the case of an upgrade will essentially be able to keep running their existing PC.
Microsoft also promises that Windows 8 will play nice with existing hardware products, especially those that already support Windows 7, as well as with software that’s currently compatible with Windows Vista’s successor.
But there’s another interesting detail that Steinglass offers. Windows 8 comes with a reinvented Snap feature that also applies to Metro apps.
Users can focus on one main Metro app that’s opened on their screen, while also having a secondary application snapped to the side, and leveraging only a portion of the monitor’s real estate space.
This type of multitasking is tailored to wider monitors, and in fact, users will need screens with a resolution that offers more than 1024 pixels in width.
“As long as your screen is at least 1366px wide, you can use snap to show two apps at once,” Steinglass explained.
According to statistics provided by Microsoft, 1366 x 768 is the most common resolution for Windows 7 computers, so it’s no wonder that the company decided to optimize Windows 8 Metro app snap usage for these characteristics.
Screen resolutions of 1280 x 800 are the most prevalent after 1366 x 768, followed by 1600 x 900, 1920 x 1080 and the classic 1280 x 1024.
Windows 8 Developer Preview Build 8102 Milestone 3 (M3) is available for download here.