A tweak to the Windows 8 hardware certification guidelines suggests that 7-inch WP8 tablets could be just around the corner. This would mean Microsoft is hoping to take on the world of affordable tablets, like the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD.

The hardware guidelines have now been changed to allow devices with a resolution of 1024 x 768, rather than where it currently stands at 1366 x 768. This could of course be to allow cheaper tablets to ship with budget screens, but what is more likely is 7-inch screened devices.

These guidelines are effective immediately, however it is more than likely only Windows Blue update devices will be implementing them. The iPad mini, for example, has a 1024 x 768 screen resolution. 

This shift would also in theory allow for 4:3 or 16:10 aspect devices, which would greatly improve the eReader experience you get with Windows 8. So then, could Microsoft be planning a possible Kindle beater?

The resolution drop does damage Windows 8's functionality a touch, removing the ability to snap apps to either side of the screen. 

Microsoft CFO Peter Klein has previously spoken about "a set of experiences that are complete, that are compelling, and they are consistent across a whole range of form factors and devices ... whether that's 4-inch, 5-inch, 7-inch, 8-inch, 10-inch, 13-inch. And along with our partners in the ecosystem we'll work through that based on underlying demand."

Is this the start of a Surface branded eReader? It certainly looks that way.