There's been some speculation that Microsoft plans to enter the fast-growing world of 7- and 8-inch tablets. This evidence suggests the company may do so sooner rather than later. As The Verge reports, an edition of the Windows Certification Newsletter released last month mentions a lowered resolution requirement for Windows 8 tablets. Here's a snippet:
We're changing the System.Client.Tablet.Graphics.MinimumResolution requirement to create a consistent minimum resolution of 1024 x 768 at a depth of 32 bits across all Windows 8 system form factors. The physical dimensions of the display panel must still match the aspect ratio of the native resolution. This doesn't imply that we're encouraging partners to regularly use a lower screen resolution. In fact, we see customers embracing the higher resolution screens that make a great Windows experience. We understand that partners exploring designs for certain markets could find greater design flexibility helpful.
The previous requirement was 1366x768.
Now, I'm not sure if we'll see Windows 8 slates with 1024x768 screens. Apple's own 8.9" iPad Mini has a display with that resolution, but Windows 8 tablets tend to go for more elongated aspect ratios. We may, however, see devices with 1280x800 displays—you know, like Google's Nexus 7, which is one of the most popular 7-inch slates out there. 1024x600 screens like that of the Kindle Fire would seem to be out of the question, but that's perhaps just as well.
Microsoft goes on to note that, at the "lower resolution" (presumably 1024x768), Modern UI apps no longer support "snap"—that is, they can't run side by side anymore. Hardware vendors are asked to "disclose the loss of snap" in order to "avoid potential consumer disappointment." That may be a temporary compromise, though, since it appears the next version of Windows will support snap at 1024x768.