It’s not hard to find a cheap Windows 8.1 tablet these days. Dell, Lenovo, and Toshiba all have 8 inch models that regularly sell for between $229 and $299 at the Microsoft Store. But chip maker Intel thinks Windows tablets can get cheaper… much cheaper.

At the Intel Developer Forum in China, Intel Vice President Hermann Eul suggested new Windows tablets could sell for as little as $99 to $129.

$99 Windows tablets

The tablets would likely feature some of Intel’s newly introduced low-power, low-cost Bay Trail processors. They’d also take advantage of Microsoft’s recent decision to offer Windows free of charge to device makers building tablets and phones with 9 inch or smaller displays.

Windows tablets have struggled to compete with Android and Apple tablets. But with a push from Intel and Microsoft, it looks like next-gen Windows models could be very competitively priced, which could make them a bit more attractive.

There are still far more mobile apps available for Android tablets than Windows tablets, but Microsoft is working to make it easier for developers to create apps that can run across a range of devices including desktops, notebooks, tablets, and phones. That could help boost the number of apps available in the Windows Store.

Cheap Windows tablets also come with Microsoft Office software and the ability to run desktop apps — something you might not want to do all that often on an 8 inch tablet, but something which you can’t easily do on an Android device.

via UMPC Portal and Intel

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24 replies on “Intel envisions $99 Windows tablets”

  1. I bought two Acer netbooks in Dec 2012 and have been delighted with.them. With 4gb Ram, 120gb ssd & Win7-x64 ultimate they are remarkable machines. Did I mention I get about 7-8 hours of surfing from them?

    It’s a shame they were pushed into obscurity so fast. With a 1366×768 screen, (doable and price effective now I think), USB 3.0, BT4 and 8gb RAM they would dominate. However, they’d also undercut the expensive products from the same mfg. and we can’t have that.

    1. The great thing is that the new atom tablets are filling that void. My $300 asus vivotab smart is 4 times as powerful, has a better screen, and Is half as thin.

  2. Ummm… An x86 computer (screen, speakers, wifi, and all) that also makes a ballin’ tablet for under $100? I CAN HAS?!!!

    Why would you ever buy a bargain android tablet when you can buy a bargain x86 windows tablet?

    1. A few reasons to buy an Android tablet

      – if the x86 device is running Windows 8.x, I still feel
      that Win OS is not ready for prime time. Based on
      MS’ track record, I’m inclined to wait for Win 9. Win 8.x
      is looking more and more like Vista to me. For an
      example of MS’s idiocy, try uninstalling a Metro/Modern
      app you’ve gotten from the Windows Store. See
      https://www.pcworld.com/article/2033266/how-to-uninstall-apps-in-windows-8.html

      The fact that MS has had to issue 2 big updates
      since last Oct., when Win 8 was released,
      (going to Win 8.1 OS from Win 8 required a typical
      2 GB+ download, I expect the Win 8.1 Update available
      April 8 to be similar) primarily to address user interface
      issues, and still not addressing all major user concerns,
      points out MS’s flubs.

      MS tried to force-feed the Metro/Modern UI with
      Win 8, relegating Desktop to 2nd class status.
      Win 8.x looks like 2 different 75% complete
      UIs slapped together, and you can’t do all you need to
      do in either UI alone.

      Traditional Windows desktop programs require mouse
      and keyboard, which are clunky when one is
      mobile. Programs using mice require higher screen
      resolutions, larger screens and precision not present
      with capacitive digitizers.

      Android devices with Jelly Bean OS are refined
      enough to be very easy to use.

      – Battery life of ARM devices is still ahead of Windows.
      Smartphones regularly get 10+ hours, and the best ones
      get up to 17 hours, without resorting to add-on batteries
      or extra large ones.

      – Not everyone needs the heavyweight desktop programs
      that Windows has, especially when the user is mobile.
      Apps are good enough, and Android has a lot more apps
      than Windows.

      Android can be compared to a minivan and
      Windows to a class B motorhome. Do you need
      a Winnebago when you go to the supermarket?

      1. Your first two points are irrelevant. The last one about the apps is a good point, but only if you continue to ignore the existing x86 desktop apps. I can still understand that, if you’re interested in a mobile device you want mobile apps, fair enough.

  3. Look for these cheap Windows tablets to sell by
    the containerload in developing markets. After all,
    they already have the pirated flagship Windows
    desktop software available from sidewalk hawkers
    for a few bucks.

  4. How about an Intel Bay Trail powered NUC with 2 to 4 GB of RAM for under $100?

    1. Hell, I’d settle for that existing $145 Bay Trail NUC actually being in stock anywhere at the suggested price. The only place that has it at the price is OOS until mid-May. I don’t think we’ll get your wishlist for at least 2-3 years, if that, because I’m not convinced Intel really wants to get into the ARM low-profit, high-volume business from it’s current high-profit, low-volume business.

      1. ARM, isn’t really low profit… They’re just low cost, as they’re low powered and using much simpler designs but is also why there are no desktop or higher performance range ARM offerings…

        But Intel is clearly serious because they are already subsidizing the pricing of their ATOM SoCs to make them more competitive with ARM SoCs…

  5. I hope that reduction in price doesn’t mean we’ll see a netbook fiasco again: very low quality build, missing hardware features, crappy displays, etc.

    1. I’ve never understood how people came to view netbooks as a fiasco. Either you wanted one and bought one, or you didn’t and you didn’t. They were certainly good value for money, but they also created an entirely new mindset that just because it was small didn’t mean it had to be expensive. Up until then small equalled expensive, regardless of performance.

      FYI, I still have my Asus 1000HA and was running windows 8.1 preview on it until recently. It really performed well with that OS, and I was really disappointed that you can’t run metro apps because of the screen resolution. Ubuntu is running on it like a champ, though.

      1. The netbook was ruined because OEMs thought something small must be crappy. They had one or more of the following: low resolution, low build quality, overheated, crappy keyboard (a few had nice keyboards for the size), crappy PowerVR graphics where even the Windows drivers sucked, just plain ugly and other things.

        I wanted a good small notebook but the race to the bottom created mostly very bad netbooks just to meet that low price tag. I would have paid for a “premium” netbook but that was mostly non-existant for a long time. When those started coming out, the Atom was just too old and slow (Intel pretty much abandoned the Atom for years) for what I wanted to do in a snappy enough experience (to me). The software I used increased their feature set which resulted in more resource usage.

        The same could happen with sub 8″ tablets. OEMs could start another war to the bottom and take the easy route of cutting significant corners instead of actually working towards a good design that would result in cheaper build costs.

        1. I’d say what killed the netbook was a lethal combo of two factors.

          1. The makers of the things quickly decided that they had made a terrible mistake and wanted to kill them. Netbooks were cannibalizing notebook sales like crazy. Which meant that when Microsoft make em the ‘offer they couldn’t refuse’ they didn’t even try to refuse.

          2. Microsoft. By ramming Windows onto them they forced the elimination of all three goals for the netbook concept. Small and light, cheap, netcentric. With windows they quickly realized 9-10 screens were too small and thus the standardization on 11 inches… which was only an inch smaller than some of the X series Thinkpads of the day. Weight went up to accommodate the larger screen and the hard drive that was required to run Windows. And of course netcentric was toast, as Windows update, virus scanners, the annual reload ritual and all that rot came back with a vengeance. In short, ‘netbook’ was nothing other than a smaller than average lowball notebook.

          1. Uh, netbooks were standardized with 10.1″ screens… The 11.6″ to 12.1″ were mainly alternative models for those who wanted more RAM, etc.

            Also, HDD was put in because it was cheaper and provided more storage… Not because of just Windows!

            SSDs were very expensive and small back then compared to now… People complain about being limited to a W8 tablet with just 32GB of storage but netbooks started with just 2-4GB of SSD storage and even when they put XP on them it only went up to 12GB and that was by providing a 4GB drive for the OS and a slower and cheaper 8GB drive to provide user storage capacity… Even though capacities did go up to 16GB pretty fast, for the same cost they could provide HDDs with 160GB of capacity…

            Besides, you’re ignoring that the pre-installed OS never prevented users from installing their favorite Linux distro or even Hackintosh’ing them!

            Puppy Linux, Ubuntu, Fedora, etc all had netbook optimized versions that were very popular throughout the life of the netbook market…

          2. Very good points. I would also add that the linux distros of the day were not the most powerful, user-friendly distros on netbook sized screens. Granted you could install any distro you wanted, but the popular ones weren’t optimized for netbooks yet. It took a while for Ubuntu for netbooks to come out even though that would eventually become the standard Ubuntu environment.

            Windows stifled the development of netbooks by only offering XP if the devices had 1 GB of ram, and consequently most netbooks came with 1 gb of ram. Intel stifled their development by not updating the atom line. Seriously, how can they make more powerful devices without processors to put in them?

          3. Actually, MS stifled netbooks with Windows 7 Starter Edition, which is the one that imposed limits like the 1GB RAM limit…

            While Intel focused too much on lowering costs and is why they had the ATOM on a long 5 year product cycle and focused on established off the self parts/components…

        2. So you never wanted a netbook!!!
          It seems that what you wanted was a very small notebook or a powerful notebook with a netbook price? Ethier way a different beast than a netbook

          1. People have different definitions of “netbook”. There are plenty of javascript heavy and Flash sites where those Atoms would choke on. The “net” aren’t just for thin clients.

    2. I hope so too. If they do make these tablets cost $99 mostly due to making them crappy then I hope they still make nicer slightly more expensive ones.

      I wanted to get a netbook but by the time I decided to look for one, the availables ones were garbage. They were essentially 2008 devices being sold in 2010 without any price reductions.

      1. At least this time there aren’t larger devices to steal sales from. Unless, somehow people start thinking tablets with larget than 10″ screens are actually usable outside of niche tasks (ie. artists and industrial/company applications). So, hopefully, OEMs won’t cut so many corners on these UMPCs like they did with the original netbook category.

        Plus, it seems that the Atom won’t sit unchanged for years this time so users could actually give themselves some reasons to upgrade their existing device. My netbook from 2009 is pretty much the same as the more recent ones. It was more worthwhile to just replace the hard drive with an SSD and upgrade the RAM than buy a new one.

      2. No, there was price reductions… Netbook pricing dropped from the $300-$500 range to the $200-$300 range over those years, but the problem was there was no real improvements from 2008 to 2010… and by then mobile devices had started to catch up in performance and features…

        Along with market saturation, meaning most people who wanted a netbook already had one and only needed to get another to replace their existing one if it broke… is what finally started killing sales…

        Not to mention most companies were never really happy about netbooks because they were small profit margin products and they would much rather sell the high profit margin products… And even mobile devices that sold as cheaply as netbooks still provided them with more profit per unit sold than netbooks…

  6. That would be a ridiculous price. But at least an Intel-powered Windows tablet would have the ability to play powder toy

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