Several under $300 Intel 'Bay Trail' Windows 8.1 devices to arrive this fall: Report

Several under $300 Intel 'Bay Trail' Windows 8.1 devices to arrive this fall: Report

Summary: A crop of 8- and 10-inch Windows 8.1 tablets and PCs are coming this fall, with several priced below $300, according to a new report.


Microsoft and its OEM partners have been doing a slow reveal of a number of the new Windows 8.1 tablets that are coming to market this holiday season.


For months, Microsoft execs have been promising there would be a new crop of smaller-screen, cheaper Windows tablets and devices arriving this fall, many with touch screens.

On September 12, Windows SuperSite editor Paul Thurrott sped things up and did a near-all-at-once reveal of a number of partially announced and still unannounced Windows 8.1 devices due out this fall. Thurrott's post doesn't mention how or where the details. When I asked, he told me the information came from "sources close to Microsoft."

Thurrott posted to his site specs and screen shots of a number of Windows 8.1 tablets -- including still-unannounced devices from Nokia (the "Sirius" ARM-based Windows RT tablet -- a photo of which, courtesy of Thurrott, is embedded in this post above); Lenovo; and Dell. He also posted specs and a number of still-not-public pricing and battery-life details about some of the devices that Microsoft's partners showed at the IFA and Intel Developer Forum (IDF) shows this week.

If Thurrott's information is accurate, here's what's coming this fall/holiday season:

Acer: Updated version of 8-inch "Bay Trail" W3-810. Battery: 8 hours. Price: $349
ASUS: 10.1-inch "Bay Trail" Transformer Book Trio T100TA. Battery: 12 hours. Price: $329. (This is a complement to the pricier 13.3-inch Transformer Book.)
Dell: 8-inch "Bay Trail" Venue. Battery: 10+ hours. Price: $299
Dell: 10.8-inch codenamed "Midland" running "BayTrail." Battery life: 9 hours (replaceable). Price: $399
Lenovo: 8-inch "Bay Trail" Miix 8. Battery: 8 hours. Price: $249
Lenovo: 10.1-inch "Bay Trail" Miix 2. Battery: 8 hours. Price: $449.
Nokia: 10.1-inch Qualcomm (ARM) codenamed "Sirius." Battery: Up to 10 hours. Price: $499
Toshiba: 8-inch "Bay Trail" Encore. Battery: 6-7 hours. Price: $329

He also included specs on the two new Microsoft Surfaces, the Haswell-based Surface 2 Pro and the Tegra-based Surface 2, which mirror what leaked over the past week. Thurrott added that the coming Surface Mini will also be ARM-based (Qualcomm Snapdragon), as some of us had expected, and will have an eigh-inch screen.

Microsoft is not expected to unveil the Surface mini during its September 23 launch of the Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro. It's unclear if Nokia is still planning to unveil the Sirius tablet on or around September 26, as was rumored recently. (However, word is, courtesy of renowned mobile-device leaker @evleaks, that Nokia is going to announce the Lumia 1520 phablet, codenamed "Bandit" on September 26, most likely in New York.)

A reminder -- because no one should assume this is clear to all/most PC/tablet buyers -- the Intel-based Haswell- and Bay-Trail devices can run existing Win32 apps, alongside Metro-Style/Windows Store ones. The ARM (Qualcomm/NVIDIA)-based devices will support very few non-Metro-Style apps (primarily Microsoft Office and some Windows utilities). Haswell is the more powerful, fourth-generation Intel Core processor; Bay Trail is the latest of the less-powerful, but longer-battery-life Atom processor in Intel's family. 


Topics: Windows 8, Microsoft, Tablets, ARM, PCs, Business Intelligence


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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              • I favor MS...

                and I agree. Give it a rest already, or at least come up with some fresh, mature content.
  • Lenovo is sure to rev the Thinkpad Tablet 2 as well

    Although it might be after the Windows 64bit Fix for BayTrail is released.
  • Fall will be interesting

    I think I'll have one more device at home before the end of the year...

    In that price range with an Atom Bay Trail processor, it's sure I'm getting one!
    • Same here

      I need a good 8" device for media consumption for everything else I have my Vaio Pro 13.
  • Under-300-intel-bay-trail-windows-8-1-devices Good news for buyers

    More choices in the marketplace is good for all, buyers, the co. with the new product and will spur competitors to step it up. Some of the new devices will fall flat, but others may be hits. Microsoft & Intel have big piles of cash so a few flops won't hurt them or their stockholders. A fast, light tablet or small device with lots of storage and desktop ability is almost here or even a device so different, it's a game changer.
    • Docking station

      Personally, I would love to have a 10.6" Bay Trail tablet that integrates into a well designed docking station / cradle. OEM's need to start offering this as an option or add on to these integrated keyboards, which would be nice as well. But with a docking station, I could do HDMI to a large monitor, then run some nice USB based speakers, keyboard and wireless mouse off a USB hub. A great 10.6", 64 GB Bay Trail tablet for $399 or less would be perfect!
  • What would be interesting would be ASUS

    put out the SAME platform - one with Windows 8 on it, the other with a Linux distribution, and maybe even a third with an Android set.

    Might even be reasonable to drop the prices of the non-windows kit by half the amount of the license cost for Windows 8.

    And I mean either/or both ARM/Intel.

    It would be interesting to see who bought what. Corporate, educational, and individual categories.

    I know this is dreaming, but the result would be most interesting.
    • Linux of course

      People would definitely choose Linux every time. Remember the netbooks a few years ago? People flocked to the Linux netbooks in droves and didn't even consider the Windows based versions. That's why all the manufacturers almost completely dropped their Linux versions within a few months. ;-)
      • Linux?

        I ((still) have 3 netbooks - 1 Acer and 2 Dells. Did not see any reason to try Linux.
        Win 7 Pro on all 3, With Office 2003 and IE9 and Chrome.
        Happy campers we are.
        • Linux?

          Let me add that nobody I know has bought a netbook with Linux.
          And people using tablets don't know or care that Android is linux-based.
          • Linux

            I thought OP was being Sarcastic.
    • Just because they buy Linux doesn't mean they use it

      Of course people will buy the cheaper Linux unit, but that does not mean they will use the Linux. I have bought countless Linux PCs for myself and friends and family. The first thing we do when we get it home is to format the drive and install Windows.
      • Just because they buy Windows doesn't mean they use it

        Of course people will buy the more expensive unit, but that doesn't mean they will the Windows. The first thing I did when I bought a Lenovo G580 laptop was put Ubuntu 13.04 on it. I do boot into Windows 8 periodically so the computer can go through the lengthy security patch updates. I left Windows 8 on the computer to help with remote management and troubleshooting of Windows systems.

        I also have a few Windows virtual machines available in the Linux partition for legacy Windows applications and trouble-shooting /testing of networks and client software.

        I welcome the new additions to the lineup of inexpensive Windows based computers. If the features of one of these new devices satisfies the needs of a particular user, then it is a win-win situation. Have to agree with boomchuck1, it would be nice to be able to connect USB devices.
    • Dream on

      You're pulling my leg right? Linux was a big flop on netbooks and it would be on these devices also. As for a price break, remember that the OEMs don't pay full price for an OS. Even if they halved what they pay for the OS compared to what they're paying someone for Linux (I doubt they really get that for free) it would only be a few bucks. You're not looking at $50 or whatever half the price of personally buying 8.1 would be.

      Personally, getting one of these tablets in the under $300 range looks real appealling to me. I could see moving from my Android rooted HP Touchpad to a machine that actually could run some of my Windows apps. I do hope that they come with the ability to plug in USB for external devices and storage.
      • Windows devices always has USB

        I always connect external USB storage into my surface RT. You can also connect it to a printer. Win8 should not have problem as it is intel based machine.
  • So, is the $300 ...

    ... what they'll pay us to take these boat anchors off their hands?
    • Yeah right

      Glad to see you've already given these a fair review.
    • Too light

      Probably too light to be a boat anchor. Think of other usage, dude.
  • Looks Solid!

    Dell Venue tablet looks pretty solid. I definitely interested for getting one after I get my hands on it.

    I owned iPad, and now Surface Pro is my primary tablet, which is very solid. It runs Matlab and other engineering software. iPad mostly for entertainment, which I hardly use anymore since owning Surface. If these tablets has a good performance and battery life, I'll definitely sell my iPad to get this one.
  • While this has me interested...

    Most likely lower cost, lower quality versions of what Microsoft has already done (and failed at) with Surface. The problem any Windows 8 tablet faces is one of software legacy. Customers who are on Windows expect their old apps to run. They will buy one of these devices only to discover their favorite video editor or game runs sluggish if it runs at all.

    Then you have the horrible way in which Windows manages processes, the hideous Windows registry, the face that most malware authors target Windows. The problem with any Windows tablet has very little to do with cost and everything to do with the OS itself, it's time to let Windows go. Windows had it's day and that day is done. It just doesn't translate well to tablet. It doesn't matter how hard they try.

    I still predict Android is to mobile what Windows was to the PC and there is nothing Microsoft can do to change that because Android'd creators don't make money off software. It's a business model Microsoft has tried and failed to compete against. Android is already running on some desktop devices too, it's just a matter of time for Android apps to be built to better accommodate non-touch interfaces as well.
    Jeremy Deats