acericoniaAcer this morning officially unveiled its long-rumored Iconia W3 tablet, billed as the first 8-inch tablet to run Windows 8. This is not a Windows RT device running on an ARM processor. It’s a Windows 8 machine, using an Intel Atom chip, that can run traditional Windows programs and comes with a version of Microsoft Office pre-installed.

The tablet will start at $379.99 for a 32GB version, with promised battery life of up to 8 hours.

Note the positioning of the start button in the frame in the picture above. Unlike many other Windows 8 or Windows RT tablets, it’s designed to be used in portrait mode, with a smaller screen size and aspect ration that takes advantage of Microsoft’s relaxed specifications for Windows 8 machines.

Engadget has hands-on impressions from the Computex trade show in Taiwan, where the device was unveiled.

The announcement comes amid new questions about Windows RT, the variant of Windows 8 that runs on energy-efficient ARM chips but doesn’t support legacy Windows applications.

Bloomberg reports that Microsoft is reducing the price it charges tablet makers to use Windows RT, trying to encourage adoption on smaller devices. Acer Chairman J.T. Wang tells the Wall Street Journal that the company sees Windows RT having less influence, noting that Acer hasn’t decided whether to make an RT device.

Microsoft Windows marketing chief Tami Reller said in an interview with GeekWire last month that the company has no plans to abandon its support for ARM-based devices. “We are very committed to the ARM platform,” she said. “We certainly know that’s a question in the marketplace. We want to leave no doubt about our commitment to ARM.”

Comments

  • nparekh00

    Finally a reasonable price point

  • Sir Michael Rocks

    The advantage of this device over the ARM based RT tablets is that it will play classic PC games from GOG and Steam. Top titles from a decade plus ago run find on an Atom and blow away anything in the Win8 app store.

  • NathanMurvold

    I played around with this unit at Microsoft the other day and it is a total FAIL compared to the iPad Mini. Heavy, Fat and Slow. You are better off getting the Acer W500 instead.

    I still CAN’T believe the Windows OEMs can’t make a decent tablet.

    • Alan

      This proc in this is no different than the W510 :/

  • Guest

    That would be a good price and decent battery life for a x86 tablet. I definitely like the screen ratio, but it also looks a bit heavy or thick for an 8″ tablet. I REALLY don’t like Windows 8, but this one could be a winner. It all depends on performance now, then it’d have the potential to be a game changer for MS.

  • Jason Farris

    The only thing impressive about this is the price; the aesthetic, especially the bevel inside a bevel, is clunky IMO.

    But with Office and W8 licenses alone being nearly $300, it’s pretty good deal if good looks and high performance aren’t deciding factors. I expect we will see better.

  • Guest

    This could make a fantastic tablet for Ubuntu. Full Linux, Bluetooth mini keyboard, killer!

  • anon@mailinator.com

    Wow.. that thing looks about 2 inches thick.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jasondouglasfarris Jason Farris

      It’s an optical illusion in the photo, but yeah, if you don’t look close my first thought was the white bezel was actually the side, and it looked way thick!

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