This morning, Microsoft began rolling out Windows 8.1, the first major update to its Windows 8 operating system that was released last year. It’s available as an optional free download to current users. But, of course, device manufacturers are also using it as opportunity to trot out new hardware.
Joining Lenovo, Dell and others, Acer today introduced the Iconia W4, an eight-inch tablet running Windows 8.1. The tablet will start shipping in the U.S. this month, and comes in two versions: A 32 gigabyte model for $330, and a 64GB model for $380.
At first glance, the tablet doesn’t look all that different from the Iconia W3, which was released just a few months ago. But the company has made a few changes under the hood that hopefully address some of the issues affecting the Iconia W3, which my colleague Walt Mossberg called a flawed device.
So, what’s different? Well, for starters, the 1,280 by 800 touchscreen now offers wider viewing angles (170 degrees) and features technology that helps improve the screen’s readability in sunlight. The tablet is also equipped with a faster fourth-generation Intel Atom processor. And it’s slightly lighter, at .91 pound versus 1.1 pounds.
The addition of Windows 8.1 also brings a number of enhancements and tweaks aimed at addressing some of the early criticism of Windows 8. This includes the return of the Start button, smarter search and better multitasking.
Along with the tablet, Acer will offer a number of accessories for the Iconia W4. There’s a protective case for $35, one that doubles as a stand for $40, and a keyboard case for $80.