The Asus ME176 isn’t the only cheap Asus Android tablet with an Intel Atom Bay Trail processor coming soon. Asus also appears to be preparing to launch an 8 inch model which will likely cost about $50 more.
A few retail listings for an unannounced Asus ME181 tablet have popped up, providing a few details about this upcoming tablet.
The Asus ME181 reportedly features an 8 inch IPS display, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and Android 4.4 KitKat. The tablet is powered by a quad-core Intel Atom Z3745 Bay Trail-T processor.
In other words, this is basically what you get if you take the Asus ME176 and give it a slightly larger display and twice as much storage.
The new tablet isn’t in stock at any stores yet, but retailers are currently showing prices of around $209 and up.
Intel’s Bay Trail processors have proven popular with makers of low-cost Windows tablets. It looks like cheap Bay Trail Android tablets are also on the way. Now that Microsoft is offering Windows free of charge to makers of small tablets, it’s not clear that there’ll be much of a price difference between Bay Trail tablets running Android and Windows.
As of early 2014 that means the key reason to choose Android is probably to gain access to a robust ecosystem with over a million touch-friendly mobile apps, while Windows might be a better option for folks looking to run some full desktop apps such as Microsoft Office.
With little difference in price, 2014 could be the year that Android, Windows, and other operating systems (such as Ubuntu and Firefox OS) have to compete on merit rather than cost. Of course, Microsoft dropped its licensing fees for Windows specifically to help gain market share and bolster use of its mobile apps and services. It remains to be seen whether Windows will always be free on mobile devices or if Microsoft will start charging again if and when the company’s software for phones and tablets becomes more popular.