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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.

32GB Dell Venue 8 Pro is now $229.
32GB Dell Venue 8 Pro is now $229.

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.