A posting for Acer W3-510 tablet has appeared and then disappeared on Amazon's US site, suggesting that Microsoft has reconfigured its operating system for smaller devices.
Seven- and eight-inch tablets are rumored by many to be hot topics at this year's Microsoft BUILD conference, which kicks off on June 26, but the listing on Amazon for an 8.1-inch device, on sale for $380, and first spotted by PC World is the first indication that Microsoft and its manufacturing partners are indeed gearing up to enter the sub-nine-inch tablet space -- which is currently dominated by the iPad Mini, Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD -- and that Windows 8 has been sufficiently reconfigured to work on smaller screens.
Existing tablet/hybrid devices on the market that run the full version of Windows 8 -- such as Microsoft's own Surface Pro and the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 -- have 11-inch+ displays and are positioned to appeal to consumers who are in the market for productivity and would otherwise be pricing up notebooks or ultrabooks. And, as such, they are priced accordingly -- the Surface Pro retails for $899.99 and the larger IdeaPad Yoga 13 for $999.
The W3-510 is less than half price in comparison and therefore would be competing directly with Apple and Android tablets. However, by offering a full PC operating system in tablet form it could be a very popular addition to what is already becoming a saturated market. As well as Windows 8, Microsoft also developed a dedicated tablet operating system called Microsoft RT which has failed to catch on, mainly due to the lack of apps available for users. And while to some extent, Windows 8 faces the same issues, because it is a full operating system it can run full desktop versions of popular software titles and is compatible with apps developed for previous versions of Windows.
On Friday Acer held a huge event in New York to launch a number of new devices. Although the W3-510 was not one of them, it looks likely that Amazon added it by mistake, along with the notebooks, convertibles and tablets that were revealed on May 3, to its list of available Acer products.