Windows 8 Secrets: PC and Device Requirements Revisited

Back in January, I picked out some interesting hardware requirements buried in the Microsoft Windows Hardware Certification Requirements documentation. A few weeks ago, the documentation was refreshed and here are some of the interesting additions: Backlight power optimization

Laptops and devices must now support the adjustment of backlight power consumption based on new cues from Windows 8. These cues will offer your PC more insight as to what you're doing at the time, allowing hardware manufacturers to optimize the backlight for that specific scenario.

For example, if you're viewing photos or typing up that 102-page report, the backlight will remain bright and optimize for readability. But when watching a movie or playing video game, tasks with lots of motion, the backlight should dim a bit and instead opt for enhancing pixel colors as a smart power saving alternative. Your PC will literally anticipate what you'll do next and adapt.

Windows RT devices must not melt your skin

Regardless of system load, Windows RT devices must not exceed a surface temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius). And that requirement doesn't just cover the little air vents either. It really means anywhere on the device, including its screen.

File this under Interesting Real World Problems: Microsoft's is still working on how they will test for and enforce this requirement. A likely result is that OEMs will be required to submit some sort of proof -- like a photo of a laser thermometer in action. But then there's the question: "How do we ensure the system was under the appropriate amount of load?"

A proper headphone jack is required

It sounds like a no-brainier, but don't underestimate the financial gains of omitting a headphone jack. Not only is Microsoft requiring that all Windows 8 systems have a headphone jack, they're requiring a standard-issue 3.5mm jack. This is important because if there's anything worse than not having a jack, it's having a non-standard sized jack.

This requirement also layers on top of previous requirements that dictate all audio outputs not making popping sounds when you turn on/off your PC. It's small but your ears and speakers will thank you.

Why go HighSpeed when you can go SuperSpeed?

Although no ARM-based system-on-a-chips (SOCs) support xHCI SuperSpeed USB 3 today, they could tomorrow. And if that happens, Microsoft will require that Windows RT device makers implement at least one USB 3 port before shipping.

I'll keep my ear to the ground and update you on developments in this area.

While you wait, why not pre-order Windows 8 Secrets today on You'll save a heap of money.