Windows 8.1: Now the Hardware
With the OS out in the wild, tablet and laptop makers are lining up to stock store shelves with compatible devices.Microsoft did its part delivering Windows 8.1 several days before the one-year anniversary of the Windows 8 launch. Now the company's hardware partners are stepping up with new tablets that leverage the operating system's new capabilities. Oct. 17 marked the release of Windows 8.1, a free update for current Windows 8 users. The first batch of PCs and tablets based on the OS officially start shipping on Friday, Oct. 18, setting the stage for new Windows-based devices ahead of the crucial holiday shopping season. At the forefront of the impending flood of new 8-inch tablets are Acer and Lenovo. The newly announced Acer Iconia W4 is an 8-inch tablet with Windows 8.1 preinstalled. Featuring a fourth-generation, 1.8GHz Intel Atom processor (code-named "Bay Trail"), the 0.91-pound device delivers up to 10 hours of battery life. The Iconia W4, which ships this later month, costs $329.99 for a 32GB model or $379.99 for a 64GB version. It sports an IPS display (1,280-by-800 resolution at 16:10 aspect ratio) with Zero Air Gap technology that closes the distance between the touch panel and LCD component, improving visibility outdoors. It also features microSD storage expansion, a micro-USB port, a micro-HDMI port, a 2-megapixel front-facing camera and a 5-megapixel shooter on the back. Another draw: Microsoft Office.
Brandon LeBlanc, a Microsoft spokesman, noted in a blog post that the tablet "comes with Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 so you can edit Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint slides right out of the box."