Acer already prepping a leaner, lighter 8-inch Iconia W3 Windows tablet

A new report claims that the Iconia W3 is slated for a refresh this September

Acer's Iconia W3 is still the one and only 8-inch Windows tablet in town, but it appears that the company isn't sitting on its heels after gaining that head start. A new report claims that the pint-sized slate is slated for a refresh this September, mere months after its unveiling in late June.

The new and improved Acer Iconia W3 would be a slight alteration to correct some of the issues that retailers and reviewers had with the original iteration, according to Tweakers.net. Acer Netherlands spokesperson Sterre Swank told the site that the tablet's refresh will be thinner and lighter than the version available now.

Tweakers.net also reports that the twisted nematic display of the original could also be replaced with an upgraded IPS screen, though Swank did not confirm that particular change. IPS displays tend to have better color vibrancy and much better viewing angles than TN displays. IPS displays, however, cost more than TN screens, but that hasn't prevented IPS displays from showing up in low-cost slates like the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD.

In our time with the Acer Iconia W3, we observed some visible pixels on the 8.1-inch, 1280-by-800 display but it was nowhere near bad enough to be a dealbreaker.

It's unknown whether or not the design tweaks will similarly tweak the US$380 Iconia W3's price tag.

The reported timing of the changes is also significant. The Iconia W3's status as the lone 8-inch Windows slate is no doubt at least partially due to the fact that, well, the Windows 8 ecosystem is still in the nascent stages of supporting tiny tablets. Windows 8.1 and its raft of small-screen improvements should hit the streets sometime in October, while Intel's power-sipping "Silvermont" Atom chips are slated to land in tablets just in time for the holidays. By releasing an Iconia W3 refresh in September, Acer can put its best foot forward before the inevitable flood of small-screen Windows slates arrives.

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Brad Chacos

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