Now that a growing number of Chinese tablets are shipping with Intel processors, a funny thing is happening. Some tablet makers are starting to offer customers a chance to swap the operating system on their tablets from Android to Windows free of charge.

For instance, CnGadget has instructions for downloading and installing Windows 8.1 on the Teclast X98 3G, a $230ish tablet that ships with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.

Teclast X98 3G  Windows

The Teclast X98 features a 9.7 inch, 2048 x 1536 pixel display, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage an Intel atom Z3735D Bay Trail quad-core processor, and an 8500mAh battery.

Installing Windows on the tablet will remove the Android software, although I wouldn’t be surprised if someone eventually develops a way to dual-boot the two operating systems on tablets like this.

Teclast is just one of several Android tablet makers planning to offer Windows firmware for existing tablets. As blogger Mike Cane points out, Onda will also offer Windows 8.1 for at least two tablets, the Onda V819i and Onda V975i.

Microsoft is allowing device makers to license Windows free of charge for tablets and smartphones with screens smaller than 9 inches, but some of these tablets have larger screens than that… and it’s pretty uncommon for any device maker to offer Windows firmware as a downloadable file, which kind of makes me wonder whether Onda or Teclast bothered to get Microsoft’s permission before uploading these files to the internet.

Still, if you’re looking for a cheap Windows tablet with a high resolution display, now you can sort of make your own by picking up a cheap Android tablet and converting it to a cheap Windows tablet.

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14 replies on “Chinese tablet makers begin offering Windows 8.1 firmware for Android tablets”

  1. i have touchmate but very low support i download 5.5gb too larg firmare extract it copy to usb boot it some working but stoped and cannot re install windows 8.1
    i wat install android which android rom may work on tm-mid702w mini mtrix tablet ?

  2. Hope some tablet comes with 64GB eMMC. Otherwise these are fantastic little PC compared to what others have annouced so far.

  3. As if Chinese tabler makers don’t have a reputation problem already. Stick the world’s least popular mobile OS on there too?

  4. Is this real windows 8.1, or is it RT ?
    If real, then not a bad deal actually for a workable, ultra portable pc.

    Wonder how the BT is .

  5. It’s probably the only way I’d use Windows 8.1 on a tablet – free and out of sheer curiosity.

  6. That second to thel ast paragraph concerns me. Are they providing the Windows 8.1 image and then you enter your own product key? Or are they providing an image that’s pre-activated for their specific product just like what OEMs used to do with bundled Windows discs? Or is this all against Microsoft’s TOS?

      1. Brad points out in the post that the tablet in question has a 9.7 inch screen, which is bigger than those that MS allows Windows for free on. Also, you will (legally) always need a license with Windows, even if that license is free.

        1. I’d like to wander how the licensing works for this firmware. OEM Windows 8 licenses are burned in to the BIOS, instead of a key. Unless Microsoft is checking screen size for licensing.

          1. I wonder about this too. When it comes to OEM licenses, I thought the key is hardcoded into the device. There isn’t even a sticker with the key anymore.

            I’d like to know if theses OEMs even got permission for this whole thing. Even if these were eligible for free licenses, I’m sure they’d need to contact MS first so MS can keep track of it for reporting purposes.

    1. This reminds me of some years ago when I read that China had the most pirated copies of Windows XP both on personal and business PCs. I remember some users getting angry at MS for invading their PCs when MS was trying to crack down on pirating. I’m sure those users had other things to worry about when it comes to pirating software: malware.

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