Toshiba's new $119 Windows 8.1 tablet could be a problem for Android

Toshiba's new $119 Windows 8.1 tablet could be a problem for Android

Summary: Toshiba's new $119 Atom-powered tablet won't win any medals for speed, but it does have more than enough power to make people think twice about buying a cheap Android device, especially of they come from a Windows background.

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Toshiba Encore Mini
(Source: Toshiba)

Microsoft has begun its assault of the budget Android tablet market with the help of Toshiba.

The Encore Mini – which Microsoft had initially called the Encore 7 back at Computex earlier this year – is about as basic a Windows 8.1 machine as you are likely to see. Built around a no-frills 7-inch 1024 x 600, the Encore Mini contains a 1.83GHz Intel Atom Z3735G processor, 1GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage.

According to Toshiba's specs, the tablet features a micro-USB 2.0 port, a 0.3MP front-facing camera, a 2.0MP rear-facing camera, a microSD card slot, and a battery capable of powering it for 7.3 hours.

It's not going to win any medals for speed, but as a platform to run apps on, consume content, and access web-based services such as Facebook and Twitter, it's enough.

On the software front, the Encore Mini runs the lower-cost "Windows 8.1 with Bing" operating system (lower cost because Microsoft it hoping to make a return from people using its services), and comes with a year's subscription to Office 365 personal. It also comes loaded with third-party apps such as Amazon Kindle and Netflix.

The price tag on all this is a low $119. The estimated ship date is September 17.

While on first blush it might seem like cheap tablets represent a threat to more expensive Windows tablets, the real threat is to the flood of low-cost Android tablets entering into the market. The Encore Mini with it's Atom processor and 1GB of RAM doesn't have the grunt to run heavyweight applications, but it does have more than enough power to make people think twice about buying a cheap Android device, especially if they come from a Windows background.

Giving OEMs access to cheaper versions of Windows could be a game-changer as it allows Microsoft to compete on a more level playing field against Android, and gives OEMs a way to bring Windows to market on cheaper devices.

See also:

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, Microsoft, Tablets, Windows 8

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67 comments
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  • It may have a low price

    But I'm betting it will be horrible to use. 1gb ram for windows you must be joking ?
    Alan Smithie
    • You haven't used it.

      I have a Toshiba Encore 8 inch from last year, only 1gb...runs smooth...
      Owl:Net
      • Good For You

        I do believe they did actually sell some Edsels as well.
        Alan Smithie
        • He shot you down...

          ...and you deflected. Stupid troll.
          siskol
        • So now you're comparing Android to Edsels?

          that's a new one.
          William.Farrel
    • Maybe...

      If you plan to run Visual Studio 2013 on it, you may encounter memory issues.

      If you stick with Windows Store apps and the "Modern / Metro" UX as you would with an iPad (and the App Store) or an Android tablet (and the Play Store apps), this tablet will be very fine indeed.
      TheCyberKnight
    • 1 GB RAM is not a lot but most peole run one app at a time ...

      ... on a tablet so, while power users may struggle with it, consumers won't. It certainly will not be a problem with Office 365 Personal and the Windows store offers a free Citrix Receiver so it can be used as a thin client in a Citrix virtual environment for those heavy-duty apps.
      M Wagner
  • It may have a low price

    But I'm betting it will be horrible to use. 1gb ram for windows you must be joking ?
    Alan Smithie
    • Deja Vu

      There must be a glitch in The Matrix
      Alan Smithie
      • Alan Smithie, aka: glitch

        ;)
        adornoe@...
    • maybe

      But it couldn't be any worse than Android on their cheap ass tablets. My sister thought she was doing good by getting a cheap $79 one for my folks... The thing has been collecting dust ever since it was so slow, choppy and basically useless.

      As a purely consumption device it would be interesting to see how bad this is, with 2GB would definitely have been fine, with 1GB might be OK and given it's Toshiba, surely they would release something completely horrible and tarnish their brand.
      aesonaus
      • Now your folks will have a negative opinion...

        On Android tablets in general. This is the problem with companies offerings cheap experience, they are not only tarnishing their brand, they are potentially tarnishing the entire ecosystem as they push to the bottom.

        Windows 8 already is having a tough time in the market. I would rather see Microsoft and OEMs take the high road with offering excellent experience, not chase after Android at the bottom.
        dave95.
        • but what if it actually offers a better experience than Android

          does on low end hardware. Much like Windows Phone8 runs exceptionally well on hardware that Android doesn't?

          Then would these devices make sense?
          Emacho
  • @aesonaus

    "Toshiba, surely they would release something completely horrible and tarnish their brand."

    Why not ? MS did with Vista and W8.
    Alan Smithie
    • You losing sleep? because android and chrome books are smoked by Windows.

      Bhahahaha....
      Owl:Net
  • You pay for what you get . . . .

    . . . . and I am not getting this new Toshiba model, despite being a Toshiba user for many years.

    One reason: no active digitiser pen, which I have on my Galaxy Notes 2 (smartphone) and 8, plus I now have OneNote for Android so I don't have to use S-Note, the OneNote app synchronises with my account so I can get at the notes in ON on my Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga.
    AN O'Nymous
  • "coming from a windows background"

    Won't make a difference. People have shown they're not afraid of alternate systems on devices, and Windows 8 isn't much more like the Windows they know than any of the others.

    If anything about this does it, it will be the price.
    Mac_PC_FenceSitter
  • Irrelevant for android

    Windows tablets are a bad idea, before this there were windows tablets cheaper or similar priced than android equivalents (I believe Dell has windows tablets with better specs than android tablets being sold for cheaper).

    The thing is that majority already have in mind they want an android tablet or iOS tablet, they are not going to go shopping for "just a tablet".
    AleMartin
    • Different devices at different price points

      The dell you mention started off at $299-350 depending on 32gb and 64gb models. It can be found for a better deal now, but it is still about $100 more than these devices in question.

      The people who buy $100 tablets are not looking for iOS, since there is nothing in that price range. That leaves Android and the odds of finding a quality android device at that price range is not good. Android struggles on low end hardware and almost every Android OEM at that range does not make a good build of Android and abandons them before they are even off the shelves.

      The point is that people buying at these price ranges have very limited expectations and even then Android devices don't always meet those.

      I have no idea how Windows will run on hardware this low, but it doesn't have to do much to compete with Android in this price range. All it has to do is basic consumption (surf, email, music/movies) and keep updates coming and it can offer a very competitive option to Android at those price levels.
      Emacho