Details of what could be the first smaller Windows 8 tablet leaked Friday when Amazon briefly published a listing for an 8.1-inch Acer Iconia tablet.
The tablet's listing had been pulled from the Amazon.com website by Saturday morning.
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Before its disappearance, however, several noticed the Acer Iconia W3-810-1600, including Brad Chacos, a senior writer with PCworld -- like Computerworld, an IDG-owned publication -- and someone identified as "The_Linux_Crew" on the Slickdeals website.
A briefly-published listing on Amazon.com showed an Acer Iconia tablet, the first smaller device to run Windows 8. (Image: Slickdeals.)
The since-yanked listing described the Iconia as an 8.1-inch tablet with a screen resolution of 1280 x 800-pixels, a 30 percent increase over Apple's iPad Mini. Running Windows 8, not the scaled-down Windows RT, the Iconia boasts 32GB of storage space, is powered by a dual-core Intel Atom processor, weighs 1.1 pounds and costs $380.
The iPad Mini, by comparison, weighs 0.7 pounds and starts at $329 for a 16GB model but climbs to $429 for one with 32GB of flash-based storage.
If the Acer Iconia listing was accurate, it would be the first sign of a smaller, less-expensive Windows 8-powered tablet, and the first to benefit from the relaxed rules Microsoft instituted for certified Windows 8 devices.
In March, Microsoft loosened the resolution requirements for certified Windows 8 tablets, dropping the minimum to 1024 x 768-pixels, signaling its acceptance of market realities as sales of tablets 8-inch and smaller quickly climb.
By IDC's estimate, 52 percent of the tablets shipped in 2013 will feature screens 8-inch or smaller, a 19 percentage point jump from 2012.
Microsoft's departing CFO, Peter Klein, confirmed the strategy shift last month during an earnings call with Wall Street, when he said, "We are working closely with OEMs on a new suite of small touch devices powered by Windows."
At the time, Klein promised smaller Windows tablets "in the coming months."
According to Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, Microsoft is also offering Windows licensing rebates to OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) who produce devices with certain processors and in specific form factors, part of an effort to drive retail prices down into the $199 to $399 range.
Acer's Iconia is at the high end of that range.