Last week, we saw a premature listing of an eight-inch Windows 8 tablet with a $379.99 asking price. That's already a fair bit more affordable than current Windows 8 slates, but it may only be the beginning. According to the Wall Street Journal, other small Windows 8 tablets could be available for less than $300.
That information comes from none other than Jerry Shen, Asus' CEO. The Journal says Shen predicts that Windows 8 tablet prices are "likely to fall below $300" later this year. While the paper doesn't quote Shen as saying anything specific about his company's plans, it reports that Asus "plans to sell small Windows 8 tablet computers this year." I think it's safe to say Shen gave the Journal some not-so-subtle hints about upcoming Asus gear.
Today, Asus already offers the cheapest 10" Windows 8 tablet on the market: the VivoTab Smart, which we reviewed last week. I'm sure Asus won't shy away from similarly aggressive pricing once 7" or 8" Win8 slates begin to roll out.
Sub-$300 prices would allow Windows tablets to undercut Apple, whose iPad mini still retails for $329. Depending on how far below $300 Asus shoots, we might even see tantalizing alternatives to Google's Nexus 7. Intel's Dadi Perlmutter hinted last month that Atom-powered Windows 8 tablets might reach as low as $200, although exact pricing would depend on "how Microsoft prices Windows 8."
In any event, more affordable Windows 8 tablets will no doubt sell in greater volumes than today's larger, pricier models. Asus' Shen certainly seems to think so, anyway; he told the Wall Street Journal, "We're very optimistic about sales for Windows 8 tablets this year."