2013 is shaping up to be the year of the 7 to 8-inch tablet as ASUS has plans to enter this booming market segment later this year.
According to the Wall Street Journal, ASUS CEO Jerry Shen states his plans to introduce small Windows 8 tablet devices this year as prices are likely to fall below US$300. As pricing has been a major factor for the slow adoption rate of Windows 8 tablets, Shen feels very optimistic about the sales of Windows 8 tablets when the prices go down to compete with the more affordable Android tablets.
ASUS currently has several Windows 8 devices in its portfolio, which includes the VivoTab, VivoTab Smart, Transformer Book and Taichi 21. Its Android tablets such as the hugely popular Google Nexus 7, are widely credited for increasing its Q1 earnings by 21%. According to a report released by IDC, ASUS is now ranked third behind Apple and Samsung in tablet shipments.
Microsoft recently changed its requirements for OEM partners to make Windows 8 tablet devices by allowing them to made lower resolution 1,024 x 768 pixel- displays. This raised speculation that Microsoft is working on a smaller 7 or 8-inch Surface tablet, and that smaller Windows 8 tablets are coming soon. An 8-inch Acer Iconia W3 powered by Windows 8 appeared briefly on Amazon with a price tag of US$380.
Lowering prices to make Windows 8 tablets more attractive is a small step in the right direction, but we wonder whether consumers are willing to ditch their investments in the Apple iOS and Google Android ecosystems to give Microsoft's platform a try.