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September 5, 2014

Chromebooks finally have some competition – here comes Windows 8.1 on a shoestring

Multiple IFA announcements herald introduction of budget Windows 8.1 laptops and tablets.

By Ben Sullivan

An array of sub-$200 tablets and laptops have been announced at the IFA trade show in Berlin this week, all of which will run on Windows 8.1.

Firms such as Toshiba, Asus, and Acer have announced the Microsoft-friendly devices which will now be in direct competition with Google’s Chromebooks. Microsoft’s below 9-inch screen free license initiative has made placing Windows 8.1 on smaller devices much more attractive to manufacturers.

Toshiba’s Encore Mini is the cheapest of the Windows 8.1 devices announced so far. A 7-inch tablet that will be on sale in the UK for £99. The device will ship with an Intel Atom processor with a speed of at least 1.3GHz, 1GB of RAM, a 1,024 x 600 pixel LCD screen and a camera of 2MP. The budget tablet also features 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage.

The tablet will run on Windows 8.1 with Bing – meaning Bing becomes the default search engine, and a free one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal is included.

Asus also announced the $199 Eeebook X205 notebook, a device which will directly take on Chromebooks which features an 11.6-inch screen with a resolution of 1266 by 768 pixels. It’s powered by 2GB of RAM, an unspecified quad-core Bay Trail processor and comes with 32GB of storage.

Similar to Toshiba’s tablet, the device will run on Windows 8.1 with Bing, and should come bundled with a year’s subscription to Office 265 Personal.

Among other devices announced is the Acer Iconia Tab 8 W, and 8-inch tablet with 1GB of RAM and 32GB of storage.

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