Dell, Toshiba, Lenovo tablets dip below $250 at Microsoft Store

Windows 8.1 tablets packing quad-core Intel chips are getting downright cheap, as Microsoft Store leads the way on pricing.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers
32GB Dell Venue 8 Pro is now $229.
32GB Dell Venue 8 Pro is now $229. CNET

Microsoft is pushing select Windows 8.1 tablets below $250 at its online and physical stores.

For example, the 32GB Dell Venue 8 Pro is now priced at $229, dropping $70 from $299.

The 32GB Lenovo Miix 2 and Toshiba Encore are also $249 now, down from $299.

As a yardstick for comparable Android tablets, Dell's Venue 8, which runs Android 4.2.2 on an older Z2580 Intel Atom processor, sells for $179.99 directly from Dell. And Toshiba markets the Android-based Toshiba Excite 7 for $149.99.

Other Windows 8.1 models have been cut too. The 64GB Dell Venue 8 Pro has been reduced to $299 from $349, while the Samsung ATIV Tab 3 has been slashed to $499 from $699.

All of the above Windows tablets use Intel's quad-core Z3740 "Bay Trail" Atom processor. All went on sale starting on January 24, Microsoft said in a statement to CNET.

The 64-bit Bay Trail processor will be coming to Android tablets in the second quarter, according to recent statements from Intel CEO Brian Krzanich.

That processor currently runs in 32-bit mode on Windows 8.1 -- which is otherwise a full 64-bit platform -- though that will be rectified in the coming months when 64-bit Windows 8.1 mode is enabled.

Intel is banking on its Bay Trail processor to drive shipments of tablets with its chips to over 40 million this year.