Windows 8 is inching slowly towards seeing the light of day and providing some much-needed fresh competition to the iPad-dominated tablet market.
And just like with the Windows Phone smartphone OS, Windows 8 is setting fairly strict hardware requirements for any tablet looking to run it, and Microsoft has revealed for the first time exactly what they are.
The specs range from the obscure to the arbitrary, and bearing in mind that this is for devices that will only start hitting the market towards the end of 2012, it's not as restrictive as we were expecting.
On the physical side, Windows 8 tablets will feature five physical buttons – a Power button, volume up and down, rotation lock and a Windows key, which can be any shape but must be exactly 10.5mm in diameter.
Tablets will also feature an NFC “touch mark” – a sticker or marking near to where the NFC chip is located so users can know where best to tap devices against other NFC-capable slates or accessories.
On the inside, storage capacity needs to be a minimum of 10GB after Windows 8 has been installed, WLAN and Bluetooth 4.0+ LE need to be supported, graphics must support Direct 3D 10 with a WDDM 1.2 driver, the display needs to be at least 1366 x 768 in resolution, while the camera must be capable of at least 720p video.
Here's a trio of specs that won't mean a whole lot to, well, most people: any bezel that surrounds the display area must not interfere with the user’s ability to interact with the edges of the display area; the digitizer’s jitter is a maximum of 1 millimeter over 10 millimeters of travel; and computer display devices can accurately render colors after being calibrated, to within certain colorimetric error tolerances.
There's more besides, but having covered the main bits we're happy to point you in the direction of Microsoft itself should you want to know more.