Microsoft promised us cheaper Windows tablets to better challenge Android on the low end, and as the IFA trade show in Berlin opens, that's certainly what we are getting. Already, Toshiba has unveiled a 7-inch Windows 8.1 slate for just $119, and now Acer has rolled out three new tablets that include a similarly inexpensive Windows offering.
With the Iconia Tab 8 W, Acer has created an 8-inch Windows tablet that is dramatically cheaper than its Iconia W3 predecessor from last year. While the W3's starting price was $379.99, the Tab 8 W checks in at just $149.99. That difference, in a nutshell, shows how Microsoft has shifted its OEM Windows 8.1 tablet strategy from competing with Apple's iPads to attacking cheaper Android tablets. (Of course, with its own Surface 3 tablet, Microsoft is headed in the opposite direction, holding to a premium price as it argues that the Surface is more of a laptop replacement.)
As expected for a budget tablet, the Tab 8 W doesn't feature premium specs, but does include an Intel Atom Z3735G quad-core Bay Trail processor, 1GB of RAM, and a 1,280x800 display. You also get a free year of access to Microsoft Office 365 Personal, though you may want to purchase the optional Acer Crunch Keyboard to get the most out of Word or Excel. Expect the Tab 8 W to hit shelves in November in North America and a month earlier elsewhere.
Acer hasn't abandoned Android as it rolls out its budget Windows tablet, as it's also launched a pair of slates using Google's mobile OS. The Iconia Tab 10 is designed for media consumption, as it offers a full 1080p HD 10.1-inch screen and Dolby Digital Plus sound. The display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass and anti-fingerprint coating. The Tab 10 runs Android 4.4 KitKat and will be priced at $199 when it ships sometime this month.
While the Tab 10 is available in black or white, the new Iconia One 8 is being rolled in a full rainbow of 10 color choices, everything from yellow to purple. The One 8 also runs Android 4.4 KitKat, and though its 1,280x800 8-inch screen is not protected by Gorilla Glass, it does include the anti-fingerprint coating the Tab 10 sports and shares the same Bay Trail processor as the Tab 8 W. Oddly enough, the One 8 doesn't look like it will hit North American shores, but will run 149 euros across the pond when it's released in October.