Asus Expects Windows 8 Tablet Pricing to Fall Below $300

Raise your hand if you own a Windows 8 tablet. If we were to say that in a crowd of 100 tablet owners, less than 8 people would raise their hands, based on recent data supplied by Strategy Analytics, which figures Windows owns a 7.4 share of the global branded tablet OS market. One reason why Windows 8 slates may be having a tough time carving out a large user base could be due to price. If there's a bright side for Microsoft, it's that price is a short-term problem.

Asus chief Jerry Chen told The Wall Street Journal that he's "very optimistic about sales for Windows 8 tablets this year," and he's drawing much of that optimism from his expectation that Windows 8 tablets will fall below $300 before the end of 2013.

We have no reason to doubt Mr. Chen. In our recent evaluation of a pair of tablets from Asus -- MeMO Pad Smart 10 (Android) and VivoTab Smart (Windows 8) -- what struck us the most was that Asus was able to offer both 10.1-inch slates at reasonable prices, considering what each brings to the table. As for the VivoTab specifically, it's a $500 MSRP slate ($449 street), which isn't cheap in and of itself, but it's running a full version of Windows 8, not Windows RT. Looked at in that regard, it's half the price of a Surface Pro.

By shrinking the size of the tablet, Asus will be able to lower the price even more. Heck, former Intel chief Paul Otellini even said he wouldn't be surprised if Windows 8 devices dropped to $200. That would put them on the level of Android slates and could be just what Microsoft needs to grab a larger slice of the tablet pie.