The first-ever small-screen Windows tablet made a brief appearance on Amazon.com today, before quickly being yanked from the online retailer’s e-shelves.
While Acer was busy showing off a smattering of large-screen Windows devices in New York Friday, the 8.1-inch Acer Iconia W3-810-1600 was briefly available for perusal in the digital realm. Why does that matter? Because all Windows 8 tablets released thus far have packed 10-inch or larger displays, as Microsoft’s operating system was engineered before diminutive tablets like the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire became all the rage.
As far as Acer’s Iconia W3 goes, rumors of the 8-inch slate first surfaced in late April. It’s still yet to make an official debut, but the Amazon page revealed that the tablet packs a dual-core Atom processor, along with numerous other technical details you can see in the image to the right.
(Update: Commenters have astutely pointed out that the chart to the right lists the processor as a 1.5GHz Apple A4, i.e. the chip in the original iPad. The item description in the now-yanked listing stated the Iconia W3 runs on Intel’s dual-core Atom CPU, however.)
A few key details stand out about the Iconia W3. First of all, it definitely takes advantage of the reduced screen resolution spec, with a Nexus 7-matching 1280-by-800 display.
The most notable part of the Acer Iconia W3’s Amazon listing, however, is the price. Small screen Windows tablets have had one major question hovering over their heads since the concept was first floated: How low can they go?
Android tablets hit such rock-bottom prices because Google doesn’t force manufacturers to pay a license fee for the OS, whereas OEMs need to pay Microsoft for each and every Windows tablet built. Microsoft is rumored to be offering Windows and Offices at highly reduced costs to spur small slate development, however.
Amazon’s early leak of the Acer tablet gives us an unofficial price barometer. The e-tailer had the Iconia W3 listed at a $379.99 That’s more than a dirt-cheap Android tablet, but far from outrageous—basically, it offers the full Windows 8 experience for just $50 more than the cost of the iPad mini.
Not too shabby. We’ll undoubtedly hear more about the Acer Iconia W3—and presumably, a multitude of other small-screen Windows slates—in the weeks and months to come.