I visited my employer’s stands at the Retail Trade Show in Dublin this week. I already knew most of the stuff there, but I got to put my hands on one of the new ultra-low spec Windows 8.1 “Update 1” tablets. ICYMI, the April 2014 Update for Windows 8.1 enables OEMs to sell lower spec machinery.
For example, a Windows install is much smaller. That means you can sell a Windows tablet, and that’s x86 Windows, not Windows RT, with 16 GB of storage.
And the machine can have just 1 GB RAM.
The machine I played with was a Win’Tab8. I don’t know who the manufacturer was (I think they were French) and I’m not in the office to find out more info. It was an 8” yellow tablet. Thin and light as one would expect. And I believe it was quite cheap (maybe sub €200).
This tablet did have 16 GB storage, micro-SD expansion, an Intel Atom 4-core CPU, and 1 GB RAM. There was a micro USB port and a dedicated power socket (I like that!). I don’t know what the battery life is like. Just over 4 GB of the storage was free. The RAM was under pressure; while I’m OK with the small amount of storage for a consumption machine (I hope MSFT embraces expansion storage like on Android), I am not sold on tablets with less than 2 GB RAM. The demo machine was not logged in with a Microsoft ID so I couldn’t install something from the Store. But I played around and it seemed to perform pretty well.
Expect to see these kinds of low spec/price Windows tablets in retail stores in the coming months.