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Piles of unsold Surface inventory are sitting in Redmond, and part of the reason for that is because it's extremely tough to sell a $499+ non-iPad tablet to the masses, a lesson Google's hardware partners found out early on. That doesn't mean Windows 8 tablets are a bust, they just need to come down in price and have more apps available. Toshiba is taking care of the first part by launching the appropriately named Encore.
The new Encore is an 8-inch multi-touch tablet running Windows 8.1 and powered by an Intel Atom processor. Toshiba's marketing the slate as delivering the "Windows 8.1 experience in a pocket-sized form factor," though that point of emphasis might be a tad misplaced -- not everyone can cram an 8-inch tablet into their pocket.
"Encore is poised to re-energize the opportunity for Windows tablets in the market," said Carl Pinto, vice president of marketing, Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., Digital Products Division. "Our fundamental approach to designing Encore was to create a better convergence of hardware and software so the overall app experience and capabilities on a Windows-based device is better than ever. Windows has a lot to offer for a tablet user, and with the new features that Windows 8.1 brings, we believe that Encore will deliver more choice against a range of competitive tablets."
The 8-inch slate features a 1280x800 resolution with a Start screen that's viewable in both portrait and landscape orientations. It has 32GB of built-in storage, a microSD card slot for up to 32GB of additional storage space, dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi, micro USB 2.0 port, micro HDMI port, 2MP front-facing camera, and an 8MP rear-facing camera.
Toshiba's Encore will be available to purchase in November for $330 MSRP. Included with the tablet is a full version of Office Home and Student 2013, Xbox SmartGlass app, and a free streaming pass to Xbox Music.