Microsoft fights Android and Chrome OS with cheap windows 8.1 pc. Wanna get one check out which one.
How do you compete when your fiercest rival is willing to give away its product? Thats the dilemma Microsoft faces in trying to compete with Google, which offers the Android operating system and Chrome OS to OEMs for nothing.
Redmonds response, earlier this year, was to introduce a variant of the Windows client software: Windows 8.1 with Bing. This OS option is available to OEMs at a price thats a carefully guarded secret but is probably close to zero. Yes, theres a catchtwo of them, in fact. Windows 8.1 for Bing is available only on low-cost devices, and OEMs are unable to change the default search engine during the setup process. (The PC buyer can change search defaults with no restrictions after starting up for the first time.)
In all other respects, this is just Windows 8.1, available in 32-bit and 64-bit versions, with variants in Chinese and single (non-English) languages.
At the IFA tradeshow in Berlin this week, OEMs have begun taking advantage of the lower Windows licensing cost to unleash a flood of small tablets at prices that were previously unheard of for Windows devices. Toshibas 7-inch Encore Mini tablet, for example, will sell for $120 in the U.S. (129 Euros in Europe). Acers Iconia Tab 8 W, an 8-inch tablet with a quad-core CPU, is priced aggressively as well, at $150. And plenty more are on the way, all running Windows 8.1 for Bing.
The new, cheaper Windows isnt just for tablets. Microsoft and its OEM partners are taking aim at Chromebooks, with Windows 8.1 with Bing showing up on low-cost laptops this week as well.
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