Helping our hardware partners build lower cost Windows devices

Over the next couple weeks leading into Computex in Taipei, you’re going to see many of our hardware partners announce new Windows devices.

Microsoft was built on the foundation of partner opportunity and our goal remains mutual success for us and our partners. This means a continued commitment to helping ensure our hardware partners are able to build innovative, differentiated and competitive devices on the Windows platform. Over the past year, we have done a lot of work to scale Windows to an even greater number of customers with more partners and new devices at a broader range of price points. In 2013, we began to ease our approach to device certification and reduced some hardware component requirements, helping to empower our partners to drive further device differentiation and price competitiveness. And most recently with the Windows 8.1 Update, we are enabling our hardware partners to build lower cost devices with only 1GB of memory and 16GB of storage that provide customers with the fast and fluid experience they expect from a Windows device. We also announced that Windows will be available for 0 dollars to our hardware partners for Windows Phones and tablets smaller than 9-inches in screen size.

As we move forward, many of these lower cost devices will come with a new edition of Windows called Windows 8.1 with Bing. Windows 8.1 with Bing provides all the same great experiences that Windows 8.1 offers with the Windows 8.1 Update, and comes with Bing as the default search engine within Internet Explorer. And of course customers will be able to change that setting through the Internet Explorer menu, providing them with control over search engine settings. This new edition will be only be available preloaded on devices from our hardware partners. Some of these devices, in particular tablets, will also come with Office or a one-year subscription to Office 365.

The end result is that more people—across consumer and commercial—will have access to an even broader selection of new devices with all the awesomeness that Windows 8.1 provides, and get Office too, all at a really affordable price. Additionally, as reach expands, the opportunity for developers and their apps also increases.

We’re excited for our partners and the new devices that will be in market soon, and we’ll continue to work closely with our partners deliver innovative and high quality devices based on the Windows experience.

Stay tuned for more as these new devices get announced by our hardware partners over the coming weeks!