Microsoft has detailed how its upcoming Windows 8 will handle differing screen sizes, allowing apps to present an optimal display layout whether they are running on a small tablet screen, a large desktop monitor, or even a multi-monitor setup.
Windows 8, which is widely expected before the end of this year, will target a range of devices from tablets to desktop and laptop PCs, which means it has to support a wide range of display resolutions and pixel densities.
To ensure that apps will display well across this spectrum of screen formats, Microsoft has imposed a minimum screen resolution and a set of layout rules and principles to follow when scaling up to larger resolutions, as detailed in a new post on the Building Windows 8 blog.
"As people transition between different sized screens in their day-to-day lives, they will be greeted with a consistent and familiar experience," wrote David Washington, a senior programme manager on Microsoft's User Experience team.
"This breadth of hardware choice is unique to Windows and is central to how we see Windows evolving."
According to Washington, Microsoft chose 1024x768 as the minimum resolution for Metro-style apps because it is already typical for websites and over 98 per cent of Windows devices already in circulation support at least this resolution, although he conceded that it cuts out netbook users.
On larger screens with higher resolutions, Windows 8 apps default behaviour should be to fill the available space by bringing in more content where possible, such as displaying more images, Microsoft said.
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