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Toshiba stuffs Windows into a 7-inch tablet, whether you want it or not

Sharif Sakr

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There's no shortage of 8-inch Windows tablets on the market right now, but Microsoft and its partners are pushing ahead with plans to shrink the OS even further. A Redmond executive at Computex has just shown off the Toshiba Encore 7: a 7-inch tablet running full Windows 8.1. If you're thinking that the Windows desktop will be mighty fiddly at this screen size, then you're right -- it's only going to be useful as a Plan B when there's no other way to get into a legacy application, or when you're hooked up to a keyboard, mouse and bigger display. For regular use, you'd be reliant on the more thumb-friendly Metro UI and apps.

The Encore 7 isn't actually the first such device we've seen (Panasonic has a 7-inch Toughpad, and some smaller brands have had a go too), but it's likely to be one of the first to go mainstream, especially if it can score a budget price tag. There's no official pricing or availability yet, but judging from the use of a standard Bay Trail Atom processor, paired with a reported 1GB of RAM and a 1,024 x 600 display resolution, there's nothing to stop the Encore 7 coming in at well under $200. We're hoping to get hands-on with the device shortly, but in the meantime our review of the Encore 8 should give you a flavor of what this thing is like.

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