Toshiba introduces affordable Encore 2 Windows tablets, starting at $199

One of the biggest obstacles for Windows tablets to grow in popularity is their price. Luckily Microsoft plans to change this by introducing a special version of Windows to its manufacturers which will in turn allow them to drastically drop the prices of their tablets. Toshiba is one of the first companies to take advantage of this offer with their brand new Encore 2 tablets, which run full Windows 8.1 and start at just $ 199

The base model features an 8 inch display with a 1280 by 800 pixel resolution, 32GB of internal storage which can be expanded through microSD, a 5MP rear camera, a 1.2MP front facing camera and a quad-core Intel Atom processor with 1GB of RAM. There is a larger 10.1 inch model with nearly identical specs, which is priced at $269. Both tablets boast around 10 hours of battery life, which is decent for entry level tablets.

To achieve these low prices, the Toshiba Encore tablets run a special version of Windows known as Windows 8.1 with Bing. To the consumer, Windows 8.1 With Bing isn't much different from Windows 8.1. In a blog post, Microsoft claims Bing will be the default search engine for Internet Explorer on those devices, but that's true of any Windows tablet. The OS is installed by the OEM; consumers won't be able to buy or download Windows 8.1 With Bing directly.

More importantly, the tablets include a one-year subscription to Office 365. Previously bundling Office with Windows was an exclusive to Windows RT devices, and we are interested to see what the future holds for Windows RT with this move.

The Toshiba Encore tablets are just the first of many upcoming tablets to feature Windows with Bing. We expect several more manufacturers to announce their tablets over the next couple of weeks leading up to the big Computex trade show, which is expected to begin on June 3.

source - Toshiba

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