Windows 8 users can now add the prospect of better support for portrait screen orientation to the list of reasons they’ll want to update to Windows 8.1.
While Microsoft has spent the majority of the past two weeks detailing new features users could expect from Windows 8.1, until now, it hadn’t talked much about better support for display reorientation. This led many to believe that things on that front would remain the same.
In a speech at Computex, Antione Leblond, a Corporate Vice President for Program Management on Windows mentioned that in order to allow Microsoft’s partners to create the devices they want to, the company made more than a few changes to the way both Windows 8 and Windows RT handle portrait orientation saying:
“We did some work at the device interface level around edge detection and things like that to make it easier to have smaller bezels on these devices so that OEMs and folks who build devices like this could build exactly the kinds of devices they want, and Windows 8.1 will be great on them”.
According to Leblond, the company will give users the ability to create “portrait specific” Start Screen layouts as well and will also ensure that all of the applications that ship as part of Windows 8.1 will be optimized for portrait orientation.
That Microsoft is already addressing this issue should reassure tablet users that the company is at the very least capable of self-diagnosing issues with Windows 8.
By most accounts, Windows 8 is pretty bad at enabling a comfortable portrait experiences on tablets, possibly because the operating system is mostly shipped on form factors in which landscape orientations are ideal.
Now that it has enabled 7 inch devices like the Acer Iconia W3, the company needed to address the constraints of Windows 8 as quickly as possible if it hopes to gain any kind of foothold in the lower end tablet space. Traditionally, 7-inch tablets are thought to lend themselves better to portrait use than landscape.
While Microsoft will be making a preview version of Windows 8.1 available to users on June 26th, it won’t be making that update available to all Windows 8 users until sometime later this year.