7 and 8-inch Windows tablets need to focus on modest specs and pricing

In a recent post, our very own Fahid Ali reported on how Microsoft’s rumored Surface Mini tablet could potentially be arriving with quite a bit of ARM-based power under the hood in the form of the Nvidia Tegra 4 processor.

While this is certainly possible, is it really the right move?

Affordability is Key for the Surface Mini and Windows ‘mini’ tablets

Whether it is Nokia, HTC, Microsoft or some other unnamed vendor that first brings out a 7 or 8-inch tablet, to me the most obvious factor is price.

Consumers aren’t flocking to Windows RT and Windows 8 devices, and price point has a lot to do with that. While jamming a Tegra 4 inside a 7 or 8-inch tablet would produce a lot of power, it would also be a hit to the price tag as well.

Honestly, do we really need that kind of power or performance out of a 7-incher? Windows or not, a 7-inch tablet is not about productivity, but more about consumption.

What we need is something with modest specs that can be produced cheaply. In fact, even shrinking down the original Surface RT’s specs probably would be more than needed. Instead, take a device like the Dell XPS 10 as a perfect example of the kind of hardware a Surface Mini or really any successful Windows 8.1 (Blue) 7 or 8-inch tablet would need.

The XPS 10 has a 1.5GHz Dual Core Qualcomm processor, an Andreno 225 GPU and 2GB of RAM. Now that would be perfect. Throw it into a 7-inch and 8-inch form factor and price it under $299. Success would be that easy.

Personally, I’ve been interested in Windows tablets but I already have a 10-inch tablet in the form of an iPad 2. I really don’t feel the need for another and like the iPad well enough for my family’s use that I wouldn’t sell it to buy a new 10-incher. I would buy another 7-inch tablet, though. The price is low enough and they are more of a personal device than a family tablet. I would NOT however, pay $350+ for a 7-inch tablet. If Microsoft wants to be a success they need to understand that Android is doing well because devices like the Nexus 7 are able to reach the $199 price point.

Microsoft needs to be able to compete closely with that pricing, and that will be impossible with a Tegra 4 processor, unless Microsoft finally is willing to sell at cost or at a loss, which would be a whole different ball game.

What do you think, would you like to see a Tegra 4-powered Surface Mini, or would you rather Windows 7 and 8-inch tablets focus on lower-powered chips to keep the costs down? Share your thoughts below.

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