Asus chief sees hope for $300 Windows 8 tablets; plans smaller, cheaper slate on the OS

Asus chief sees hope for $300 Windows 8 tablets; plans smaller, cheaper slate on the OS

Summary: Asus could be the first to market with a cut-down Windows 8 tablet priced to compete with Androids.


Asus has been enjoying some success with its line of low-cost, 7-inch Google tablets, and now expects that Windows 8 tablets in the same price range could do well too.

Asus chief Jerry Shen told the Wall Street Journal on Monday he was "very optimistic about sales for Windows 8 tablets this year" particularly as prices fall below $300. It's a shift that comes after Microsoft made changes to its certification requirements, confirming that smaller, cheaper Windows 8 tablets from its OEM partners would be available in coming months. Asus looks likely to add its own offerings to that category: according to the paper, Asus is planning on making a Windows 8 tablet that's smaller and cheaper than slates running the OS traditionally have been.

However, it's not clear whether the cut-down slate will indeed be Windows 8 or Windows RT.  Unlike rival Acer, which only makes the Windows 8 Iconia touch device, Asus has made both Windows 8 and Windows RT flavoured tablets. The $300 price tag would be considerably lower than its VivoTabRT 32GB model, which retails for $550 at Best Buy.

Asus also makes Google's popular $270 Nexus 7, which helped Asus replace Amazon as the world's third largest tablet maker by shipments, according to IDC.

Asus announced (PDF) in its first quarter results yesterday that it had shipped three million tablets without breaking out numbers by OS. IDC estimated that Asus tablet shipments of 2.7 million units in first quarter, behind Samsung's 8.8 million and Apple's 19.5 million.

Since the launch of Windows 8 in the last quarter of 2012, tablets running the Microsoft's new OS have attracted a small share of the tablet market. However, a smaller form factor and lower prices could help bolster its showing, and Microsoft itself is expected to bring out a 7-inch Surface before too long

The 1.6 million Windows 8 tablets shipped account for 3.3 percent of the 49 million tablets last quarter while 900,000 Windows RT tablets account for 0.4 percent.

Topics: Tablets, Hardware, Microsoft, Windows 8

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • That was awkward

    Oh no, the Windows 8 U-Turn leaves OwlllllNet, toddbottom3, Ed Bott and the other posters from Microsoft India's 24 hour task force with a truckload of egg on their face!

    Microsoft is preparing to reverse course over key elements of its Windows 8 operating system, marking one of the most prominent admissions of failure for a new mass-market consumer product since Coca-Cola’s New Coke fiasco nearly 30 years ago.
    • Silly man is silly

      Now lets see, Microsoft might allow enterprise customers boot directly to desktop and a button for people who can't seem to figure out where the hidden start button is, will be added.

      Metro will still be there
      Windows Store will still be there
      Apps will still be there.

      There is a difference between a New Coke moment and making it easier for idiots.
      Dreyer Smit
      • Think for a moment before you post

        Why exactly IS the start button hidden?

        Unfortunately for MS and you apparently, these "idiots" spend their money elsewhere as a result.

        When a techie (and there are lots of them at MS) calls the users and customers "idiots", it is pretty obvious where the real problem lies.
  • $270 Nexus 7 is not the best-selling model - will Win8 tablets compete?

    The best-selling N7 is the $199 version, from accounts I've read. Will an OEM step up and get close to that price point?

    Keeping in mind that even that price point is edging into our rear view mirrors, as HP and Acer themselves start shipping comparable Android tablets at sub-$200.

    Seems like OEMs (and to a certain degree, MS, which certainly has influence over the issue) are going to have to decide if they will allow Android to "own" the < $250-ish price range.
    • Well ...

      MS allegedly sold copies of XP to the OEMs for $5 to fend off Linux based netbooks.

      They can surely do the same thing on small tablets (not XP this time). What that might do to MS's bottom line and share price is of course a different issue altogether, but it would surely help sales volumes.
  • Not Really

    Windows 8 is bad, I don't care how much money these guys have or what school they went to. They messed up and refuse to admit it. admission is the first step in recovery! Windows 8 under the hood is much better but the UI sucks so hard and so bad right now. its not a step forward its not. But if you look at it on the phone or tablet it looks good its only when you can put it in your hands does the metro make sense but when its in your hands you don't need a keyboard or mouse so you don't need the windows desktop apps. So what was the point with make a big deal over Windows part. They should have left the phone on the phone and tablet and kept out desktop separate (sure have them share code) It would have been a win win. They could have made widows 8 pro alone and kept the home edition the kids version. Everyone would be happy. We are the Market we have all the power they will live or die on our sword, so it is our God Given Right to Judge them base on the simple fact does it work no on it could work if i.. or It kind of does.. No it works or it doesn't.
  • Conflict Of Interest

    Asus is never going to give Windows a fair chance. It's making so much money from Android, Microsoft might as well not exist any more.

    Microsoft should concentrate on the more loyal OEMs, the ones who are sticking to Windows no matter how much money they're losing. That's really the only way it will find its place in the market.