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Windows 8 will show where it likes to be touched

A five-fingered shuffle is mandatory

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Windows 8 gadgets fitted with NFC will have a logo showing where on the case a pay-by-wave radio signal can be picked up, given a tablet might be bigger than the wireless technology's range.

The requirement came out of the Windows 8 hardware specifications, which were published last month but occulted by the furore over the encrypted boot on ARM devices. Other gems include supporting a minimum of five points on touch-sensitive screens and five hardware buttons, not to mention a replacement for the venerable Ctrl-Alt-Del combination.

Microsoft's first foray into tablet computers required them to have a special key just for that, as Windows came to rely on it for logging on as well as panicking out. The next time you're faced with a crashed Windows tablet, pressing the Windows Key and the Power On key should achieve the same thing.

Also on the bezel, or nearby, you'll find a rotation lock and volume controls, taking the minimum number of buttons to five - the same number of points that will be recognised should the device sport a touch screen. Touch screens aren't mandated, but where available then they'll have to be able to distinguish every digit of one hand.

The details, including some stuff about sensors and graphics capabilities, are laid out by Rafael Rivera on his Within Windows blog, though purists might like to take in the official Microsoft specs as well.

But it's the NFC "touch marks" which caught our eye. Microsoft is publicly committed to Near-Field Communications, the short-range radio standard that is being embedded in phones and payment systems. NFC is envisioned as being used to set up pairing, between say a tablet and a TV, but that could be frustrating when the range is only about 10cm.

So Microsoft has clearly given a good deal of thought to how NFC will be used on its forthcoming devices, but a visible mark will also spark user interest and almost certainly lead to greater use of NFC. ®

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