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4/24/2013
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Microsoft Store Slashes Windows 8 Device Prices

Windows 8 devices with touchscreens are getting more affordable. But with new, more powerful models on the horizon, is now the time to buy?

8 Things Microsoft Could Do To Save Windows 8
8 Things Microsoft Could Do To Save Windows 8
(click image for slideshow)
Consumers have shrugged off most of the Windows 8 devices that have been released so far. A variety of factors, from the omitted Start button to the lack of Modern UI apps, have hampered adoption of the new OS -- but the high cost of touch-enabled hardware has been one of the biggest deterrents.

If price is all that's stood between you and a new Windows 8 device, it might be time to make a purchase, as the Microsoft Store has slashed prices on a number of models. Don't hit the "buy" button too quickly, though; with new and improved tablets and ultrabooks on the horizon, buying one of the discounted offerings now could quickly lead to a case of buyers' remorse.

The price cuts, originally spotted by CNET, extend to ultrabook and laptop models from a variety of manufacturers. Acer's Aspire S7, which boasts a 13.3-inch full HD display and a 1.8-GHz i7 processor, has been slashed more than 20%, from $1,649 to $1,299. The Sony VAIO T Series family also has been discounted, with the high-end 13-inch i7 model dropping from $1299 to $999, and the less-powerful i5 model dropping from $899 to $799.

Additional price reductions include HP's Spectre XT TouchSmart, which dropped from $1349 to $1249 and offers a large 15.6-inch screen; and the TouchSmart Sleekbook, which dropped $100 to $599 and is, even after the cuts, one of the only legitimate low-budget options among Windows 8 devices with traditional clamshell designs.

The Microsoft Store's lowered ultrabook prices follow a number of price reductions earlier this month to Windows 8 tablets and convertibles. Discounted models ranged from the pricey Toshiba Satellite Convertible Ultrabook, which dropped from a wallet-busting $1149 to a more palatable $799; to an Acer Iconia tablet, now priced at a relatively affordable $399.

[ Don't blame Windows 8 for the PC's marketplace woes. Read Windows 8 Did Not Cause PC Sales Slump. ]

To traditional desktop users, Windows 8, with its massively overhauled interface, has been more a frustration than an improvement. But the OS has gained a bit more traction among users of touch-enabled software, at whom its Live Tile environment is aimed. By making these devices cheaper, Microsoft could make its newest platform more attractive. Cautious buyers beware, though: the Microsoft Store might be offering good deals today, but better deals could be just around the corner.

Windows 8.1, the forthcoming update previously called Windows Blue, is one major distinction between current options and those expected to be available by the fall. To be clear, current models should have access to the update, so this difference might not seem significant. But Windows Blue rumors have suggested the OS has been tailored to Intel's forthcoming Haswell chipset, the energy-efficient family of processors that will fuel the most powerful batch of future Win8 devices. So even if one of the current models is upgraded to Windows 8.1 in a few months, it is unlikely to gain many of update's headline enhancements, such as substantially improved battery life. Moreover, Intel has suggested that at least some Haswell ultrabooks will be priced below $600, so the new models could offer not only improved performance but also prices that undercut the current discounts.

Microsoft and its partners also are readying a fleet of low-cost 8-inch tablets to compete with the iPad Mini. Such devices have been rumored for months, and Microsoft, without providing any new details, acknowledged during its recent earnings call that the devices are coming.

Indeed, images of an upcoming 8-inch Acer tablet are already circulating online, after appearing briefly on the French site MiniMachines.net. The device is expected to use Intel's current-generation Atom technology, which allows the full Windows 8 OS, rather than the Live Tile-oriented Windows RT version, to run in a thin, fan-less device. Intel's forthcoming Bay Trail Atom chips should only improve this capability, and the chipmaker has suggested that Bay Trail tablets will be priced very aggressively.

If you need a Windows 8 device immediately, the reduced prices should be a welcome development. But if you're still on the fence about a new purchase, it could pay off to remain patient for a few more months.

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eminkler925
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eminkler925,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/27/2013 | 3:23:04 AM
re: Microsoft Store Slashes Windows 8 Device Prices
Win 8 is not up to par with using a mouse on a laptop or desktop.
Surface is okay with the pen. However; be careful one can windup with a screen full various forms/documents. Plus at times it hard to go from one item to another.
I have not had any problems running Xp(3) , Vista, or Win 7 laptop/desktop apps which date back being compiled with Borland/Embarcadero CBuilder 6 compiler C++ version 5
Borland compiler. Also C Builder 6 runs fine on Win 7 , although. I had to uninstall it from my Vista Desktop to upgrade to Win 7 and it reinstalled just fine; but heck Vista was'nt compatible with itself from day one.
... .
.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
4/26/2013 | 11:52:47 PM
re: Microsoft Store Slashes Windows 8 Device Prices
I don't know anything more on this topic than what's already in the rumor mill-- but I think AustinIT is making the right point. If Microsoft brings back the Start button, its goal will be to appease user dissatisfaction. That's both the motivation that makes sense and the one that recent rumors have ascribed to their Microsoft sources. A Start button that doesn't more or less achieve what the old Start button did won't silence the criticisms. Windows Blue could always have something new, inventive, and delightful up its sleazes in terms of file management and cohesion between the two UIs. But if Microsoft doesn't actually address the root problem around the Start button omissions, you don't have to be a close Redmond observer to know how poorly it will go over. Then again, Microsoft took all sorts of grief for how it marketed the Surface RT's storage capacity, and then made the same exact mistake (and I'm talking from a PR perspective here) with the Surface Pro. So we'll see.
AustinIT
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AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/26/2013 | 9:19:25 PM
re: Microsoft Store Slashes Windows 8 Device Prices
The Start button IS the Start menu. We don't know for sure how it will function yet but I would bet on a return to the original vs. your interpretation. There's been too much blow back from customers for MS not to implement it correctly.
Ramon S
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Ramon S,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/26/2013 | 7:21:00 PM
re: Microsoft Store Slashes Windows 8 Device Prices
Also
Ramon S
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Ramon S,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/26/2013 | 7:20:44 PM
re: Microsoft Store Slashes Windows 8 Device Prices
Yea, but it will only be the Start button, not the Start menu that allows for hierarchically organization of links in a folder structure. The lack of the menu is the biggest problem. The button will only bring up Metro which is utterly useless.
AustinIT
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AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/26/2013 | 1:45:47 AM
re: Microsoft Store Slashes Windows 8 Device Prices
Pay more attention. It's been known for weeks now that 8.1 (the Blue update) is bringing back the start button and giving users the choice on which IF to boot up in. And, like Ken said, the desktop IF has been in the OS since first release. If you are too lazy to push the Winkey, then don't complain about not being able to find the Desktop.
DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
4/25/2013 | 5:23:07 PM
re: Microsoft Store Slashes Windows 8 Device Prices
Nothing new here as typically this time of year prices are dropped. It happens every year at this time. I always wait until after tax time to purchase computer devices and not during the holidays.
SMP
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SMP,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/25/2013 | 3:08:28 PM
re: Microsoft Store Slashes Windows 8 Device Prices
Ah. The inevitable firesale after the confirmation of Windows 8's abject failure in the tablet/hybrid market. Personally, i'd wait until versions of these Windows Tablets come out with Android installed on them, rather than the Metro interface. At least you get a huge range of applications with that plus a functional touch interface. According to Digitimes that is going to happen from the third quarter as OEMs scramble to find ways of stemming their Windows 8 losses.
SMP
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SMP,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/25/2013 | 3:02:41 PM
re: Microsoft Store Slashes Windows 8 Device Prices
These smaller Windows 8 tablets, like RT are going to be an even bigger fail than the larger $600 Atom powered slowpokes that Microsoft was trying to peddle to the more gullible customers out there. The problem is that you can't run Windows apps on a small screen - you have to run Metro (aka Modern) apps on small displays, which means what you are effectively getting is a power hungry Windows RT with a shorter battery life.
Ken Heslip
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Ken Heslip,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/25/2013 | 2:20:41 PM
re: Microsoft Store Slashes Windows 8 Device Prices
"bring back the original desktop"? Have you even used Windows 8? The original desktop is there already. The way I see it, this is a normal computer buying decision. If you need a laptop now, buy now. If not, wait.
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