Hardware Capabilities to Look For


Once you’ve determined whether to stick with an Intel‑compatible machine or switch to an ARM‑based device, chosen the Windows version you need, and picked out the type of PC or device that suits your fancy, there’s one more area of concern. And it concerns new hardware capabilities, some of which won’t be available on certain PCs or devices.

With each new Windows release, Microsoft supports a wider range of hardware devices and peripherals, of course. But with Windows 8 and the new portable scenarios that are opened up by tablets, Ultrabooks, and hybrids, the possibilities have expanded dramatically. And many of these possibilities are tied directly to new hardware capabilities that you should be aware of.

Here are some of the more relevant new hardware capabilities you should consider.




While Windows has offered pervasive multi‑touch support since Windows Vista, the release of Windows 8 has changed things pretty dramatically. Instead of simply tacking multi‑touch support on top of Windows as was done in previous releases, Windows 8 has been re‑architected so that multi‑touch is a full‑fledged input type, alongside the mouse and keyboard. And in the new Metro environment, multi‑touch is arguably even better supported than is mouse and keyboard. It is, as Microsoft puts it, a touch‑first environment.

We discuss multi‑touch throughout this book, but it’s important to know that multi‑touch isn’t just relegated to tablets. In fact, once you start using Windows 8 via multi‑touch, you’re going to expect this capability on all of your PCs. And not surprisingly, multi‑touch devices of all kinds have come to market alongside Windows 8, including touch‑capable displays that can attach to desktop computers, and touch‑based Ultrabooks, hybrid PCs, and even all‑in‑ones.

You may not believe it until you try it. But once you’ve experienced multi‑touch, you’ll find yourself touching all of your screens, whether they’re touch‑capable or not.




Still not convinced? Know this: Microsoft requires that all Windows 8 devices support at least five touch points. That translates to a hand of fingers–or foot of toes–that are able to interact with Windows and apps all at once. And many devices will of course support even more touch points.


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