Acer, Lenovo Add 8-Inch Windows 8.1 Tablets to the Mix
The new tablets come as Windows prepares to launch Windows 8.1, which officials says will shore up shortcomings in its Windows 8 predecessor.Acer and Lenovo are rolling out new tablets that are running Microsoft's new Windows 8.1 operating system and are powered by Intel's latest low-power Atom chips. The new devices come as Microsoft on Oct. 17 releases its much anticipated Windows 8.1 OS, the follow-up to the radically different Windows 8, which was launched a year ago. Microsoft executives say the new operating system will clear up many of the issues users had with Windows 8, including allowing for greater customization and returning the much-missed Start button. Both Lenovo and Acer are looking to ride the Windows 8.1 wave with the new tablets. Acer officials on Oct. 17 rolled out the Iconia W4, the successor to the company's initial 8-inch Windows tablet, the W3. The Iconia W3, which launched in 2012, reportedly had some shortcomings that drove down user interest, and company officials appear to have addressed those issues. Among the improvements was the addition of one of Intel's new 22-nanometer Atom Z3000 Series Bay Trail systems-on-a-chip (SoCs), which the chip maker launched in September. The Bay Trail Atom SoCs, built using Intel's new Silvermont architecture, offers five times lower power consumption and three times the performance of their predecessors, according to Intel officials.
In addition to the new SoCs, Acer's Iconia W4—which company officials said can not only be used for productivity purposes, but also Web browsing and video—also offers a better In-Plane Switching (IPS) display, which will reduce glare on the screen, and has improved battery life. At 0.91 pounds and 0.42 inches, it also will be lighter and thinner than the W3, according to Acer.