$179 10-inch Windows 8.1 tablet coming to Walmart

The E Fun Nextbook will feature a quad-core Intel Atom processor and include a detachable keyboard when it becomes available in time for the holiday shopping season.

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The cheaper Windows 8.1 mobile systems that Microsoft has been promising are coming fast and furious now. From Toshiba's $119 7-inch tablet to laptops for less than $249 , the latest version of Windows is making a big move downmarket to compete with Google's Android and Chrome OS devices.

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By loosening the reins on its licensing , Microsoft is getting new entrants into the Windows ecosystem, such as E Fun. You probably haven't heard of the company before, but you might soon with its Nextbook, a 10-inch tablet with a detachable keyboard that's the first Windows 8.1 slate of that size to be priced under $200.

Despite the dirt-cheap price, the Nextbook doesn't look like it will be a complete bottom-feeder in terms of performance. It includes an Intel Atom Z3735G quad-core processor, 1,280x800 IPS touchscreen, and 32GB of built-in storage; it does include only 1GB of RAM, though so do iPads. You also get 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, micro HDMI port and microSD card slot, and front- and rear-facing cameras, albeit low-resolution ones. Finally, a year's worth of Office 365 and 20GB of OneDrive cloud storage are thrown in, making the physical keyboard with touchpad very useful.

The Nextbook should get a high profile over the coming weeks, as it will be sold through Walmart (and its Sam's Club warehouse stores) for just $179. It will be available for pre-order from Walmart.com starting on October 23 and reach brick-and-mortar locations in mid-November, with Sam's Club receiving it in December.

While the Nextbook appears to have the jump on other OEMs on a low-priced 10.1-inch Windows 8.1 tablet, don't expect that advantage to last for long. Expect competition to show up soon as the holiday buying season starts. Would you buy the Nextbook or another Windows tablet with a sub-$200 price tab? Let us know in the Talkback section below. 

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