Big on small Windows tablets

Big on small Windows tablets
The Toshiba Encore WT8 (left) and Asus Transformer Book T100TA.

You may have seen them in stores - small, sleek 8-inch tablets that run Windows 8.1 instead of the ubiquitous Android.

Their siren call: a free copy of Microsoft Office and the implicit promise that these tablets are suitable for both work and play.

So far, there have been few takers.

Figures from market research firm GfK indicate that these 8-inch tablets generated around $289,000 in local sales last year. In comparison, the local Android tablet segment is valued at $2.9 million.

Things were not much different for the rest of the world.

More than four million Windows tablets - of all sizes - were sold worldwide last year, according to market researcher Gartner.

While this was a threefold increase over 2012, sales of Windows-based slates were just a drop in the ocean, at 2.1 per cent of the market last year.

To be fair, these figures may be skewed as most of the small Windows tablets were launched only in the last quarter of last year.

That was when Microsoft released Windows 8.1 and made this operating system compatible with smaller screen sizes.

Around the same time, Intel introduced a new quad-core Atom processor codenamed Bay Trail. This new chip is designed for mobile devices and claims a battery life comparable with the Arm processors typically used in smartphones.

Today, there are a handful of such small 8-inch Windows tablets, with more slated to arrive in the next few months. These tablets will likely be powered by the Bay Trail Atom chips and have just 2GB of RAM and between 32GB and 64GB of internal storage.

>>Price and Power

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