Asus CEO believes 7-inch tablets will be the special sauce Windows 8 needs

Asus Tablet 600 Windows RT

It looks like Acer won’t be the only manufacturer to introduce a smaller Windows 8 tablets to its lineup. Asus CEO Jerry Shen has just confirmed that his company will be bringing you some sub-$300, 7-inch Windows 8 tablets later this year.

While Microsoft has been pretty tight lipped about its 7-inch Windows tablet or second-gen mini-Surface plans, Shen told the Wall Street Journal that Asus is “very optimistic about sales for Windows 8 tablets this year” as smaller, 7-inch slates will be more competitive with Android tablets in price. He believes these mini-Windows 8 devices will cost less than $300, a price point that will make consumers seriously consider it as a viable tablet alternative.

As the manufacturer of Google’s popular $200 Nexus 7 tablet, Asus knows a thing or two about the size. After all, more than 95 percent of the tablets the company shipped last year used Android as the operating system. Just in the last quarter of 2012 alone, the Taiwanese company shipped 3 million Android tablets, which contributed to the company earning $4 billion U.S. in that time period, despite dwindling demand for PCs and laptops, according to Computerworld.

The first-generation of Windows 8 slates and hybrids typically have a screen no smaller than 10 inches so they are more ideal for watching movies or scrolling through an Excel spreadsheet. Smaller tablets, on the other hand, can fit more easily into bags for both men and women, and tend to offer long battery life due to their smaller screens. 

Although Shen didn’t specify whether these 7-inch Windows tablets will be running full Windows 8 or the RT (the more light-weight version of the OS), he still doesn’t seem convinced about the merits of RT. As Shen said, “At this moment, for last year and this year, I still believe Windows RT needs to take time to ramp up.”

At the same time, it’s hard to imagine a sub-$300, mini-Windows tablet capable of running the desktop equivalent of Windows 8. Like the 8-inch Acer W3-510 that was leaked on Amazon yesterday, perhaps the upcoming Asus Windows 8 tablet will be powered by the Intel Atom processor that can handle full Windows 8?

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