Microsoft Active in Windows 8 Ultrabook Design

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft is reportedly taking a more active role than ever before in the development of hardware for planned touchscreen Windows 8 ultrabooks. It's a change of strategy for a company that usually keeps to the software side of the business.

Ultrabooks are slowly emerging as a popular new form factor for consumers who are showing remarkable interest in a light, portable laptop but who are not willing to compromise on performance and storage space.

Although Apple's MacBook Air fits the description, the term 'ultrabook' is most often associated with Windows-based computer systems.

Clamshell Shaking a Major Concern

According to a report from Taiwanese tech blog Digitimes, Microsoft is currently working with hardware manufacturers to ensure that the frame, screen, and keyboard of forthcoming ultrabook computers running Windows 8 meet the software giant's standards.

Experts are suggesting that Microsoft may be motivated by concern that should large numbers of consumers be disappointed in the convenience and ease-of-use in the interfaces of new ultrabook hardware, their dissatisfaction could significantly harm sales of the Windows 8 operating system. (Source:

One issue to which Microsoft is paying attention is the tendency of the clamshell covers often found on traditional notebooks to shake when a user touches the display.

Such instability diminishes consumer confidence in the system's overall build quality, which is something Microsoft apparently wants to avoid in the future.

To protect its own new operating system, Microsoft is reportedly insisting that clamshell displays be made more sturdy, in hopes of giving users the feeling they're working with a solid tablet device or an all-in-one touchscreen PC.

Failures Blocked From Installing Windows 8

Reports suggest that should hardware manufacturers fail to install components that fix the clamshell shaking issue, Microsoft might block them from installing Windows 8 on their machines.

Those devices would instead be limited to running Windows 7. That would likely cause many consumers to want to avoid those ultrabooks, and favor competing products that are allowed to run the new Windows 8 operating system.

Solutions for clamshell shaking may involve major design changes by manufacturers. For example, one approach for touch-enabled ultrabooks might be to have them slide or fold open in a style distinct from the traditional laptop. (Source:

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