Microsoft has been trying for most of the past year to get Windows running on true budget tablets in Western markets, and it looks like Best Buy may have been the first to pull it off.
Mike Cane discovered earlier today that Best buy had released a new 8" Windows 8 tablet under its in-house brand. The Insignia NS-15MS08 isn't much of a tablet, and in fact it looks like it is literally an Intel reference design with a new name and brand, but on the upside it does cost $20 less than the next cheapest Windows 8 tablet, the Toshiba Encore mini.
The new Insignia tablet sports an 8" display with a screen resolution of 1,280 x 800. It runs Windows 8.1 on a quad-core 1.33GHz Intel Bay Trail Z3735 CPU with 1GB RAM and 16GB internal storage.
It also has a microSD card slot, HDMI port, Wifi, Bluetooth, 2MP camera, and a couple rear-facing speakers. In pretty much ever way, this is the same hardware as found in some $99 Android tablets. Only now it runs Windows, and not very well at that.
Chippy of UMPCPortal commented on Mike's post and said that:
This matches the Intel reference design used in the Point of View Mobii 800W tablet i’m testing in Europe. 1/16 and incredibly difficult to use for more than 5 days without throwing it out of the window – which would be ironic.
My tip: Disable Windows update. Disable OneDrive offline cache. Don’t install Chrome. STAY IN RT / Modern / Metro. This is a device that can work well with Store apps. You’ll have 5GB storage free on first boot. Save the recovery partition to a stick and you’ll get 13GB free. 5GB will disappear in the first week if you do Windows updates.
For $99 it can do some good stuff but unfortunately user won’t know about the limitations and it will all go wrong. Unless they’ve read this!!!
Frankly, I'm not surprised. Windows 8 was not originally designed to run on such limited hardware, so it didn't surprise me to learn that you need to turn about half of it off before it becomes usable.
And now that it is confirmed that the tablet can't do much, I'm not sure what Microsoft has gained by getting their OS into the budget tablet market. It seems like this is more likely to turn users against Windows rather than gain market share.