Smaller Windows 8 tablets are on the way, if a new rumor proves true. French technology site Minimachines.net reports that Acer plans to release the Acer Iconia W3 this September, an 8-inch tablet that runs Windows 8 Pro.
Minimachines says the tablet includes a dual-core Intel Atom Z2760 processor running at 1.6-GHz, 2GB of RAM, front- and rear-facing cameras and Wireless-N capability. The site speculates from leaked imagery that the Iconia W3 includes two microUSB ports. These same images show some type of keyboard accessory dock. No information on storage capacity was given.
The Iconia W3 won't be too speedy given that it just barely makes Windows 8's minimum requirements: Microsoft's latest operating system requires a 1-GHz processor and 1GB of RAM to run. That said, its screen size is the big story here since Microsoft was until recently requiring devices to support a minimum resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels to be certified for use with Windows 8.
Microsoft relaxed the resolution guidelines to give its OEM manufacturers more device design liberty in mid-March. The Redmond, Wash. company still urges its partners to use the original required resolution but now allows partners to seek Windows 8 certification for devices with resolutions as low as 1024 x 768.
Lower resolutions will disable Windows 8's "snap" feature, which allows Windows Store apps to be viewed side by side. To obtain Windows 8 certifications for these low-resolution devices, OEMs are required to clearly display a disclaimer that this and other high-resolution dependent features will be unavailable. That appears to be what Acer is willing to do with the Iconia W3 in order to compete with the iPad mini and a host of small Android tablets now on the market.