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Toshiba announces first tablets to run Windows 8.1 with Bing

The 8-inch Encore 2 is priced at $US199; 10-inch model priced at $US269

Toshiba announced a number of late additions to its 2014 back-to-school lineup today, including low-priced 8- and 10-inch tablets that run the recently announced Windows 8.1 with Bing. The company also announced an even-less-expensive 7-inch Android tablet.

All three tablets will be powered by Intel's quad-core Atom Z3735F processor. The 8-inch Encore 2 with 1GB of memory and 32GB of storage will be priced at just $US199, while the 10-inch Encore 2 with the same amount of memory and storage will be priced at $US269. Toshiba launched the original Encore tablet in an 8-inch configuration for $US329.

The Android-powered Excite Go, meanwhile, will have 1GB of memory and 8GB of storage, supplemented by a MicroSD card slot for storage and a Micro USB port for charging and file transfers. It will carry an MSRP of $US109, but Toshiba expects retailers will discount it to a street price of less than $US100.

Aside from display sizes, the specs for both Encore 2 models are similar: They'll be outfitted with IPS displays delivering native resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, and both will support "connected standby" mode, meaning all your data - including email - will be fresh when you awaken the device from sleep mode.

They'll have front and rear cameras (a 1.2-megapixel (MP), 720p webcam up front, and a 5MP, 1080p camera in back). Storage will be augmented by MicroSD card slots that support up to 128GB memory cards. And they'll have 802.11n Wi-Fi adapters with Bluetooth 4.0. Both models will be outfitted with stereo speakers.

Although both models will come with one-year subscriptions to Microsoft's Office 365 Personal, Toshiba is positioning the 8-inch Encore 2 as an entertainment/consumption device and the 10-inch Encore 2 Windows tablet as both an entertainment device and a productivity tool. As such, Toshiba will offer an optional keyboard cover for the larger model that will transform it into a small laptop.

The 10-inch model will also have a micro HDMI port (for TV multi-monitor support) that the 8-inch model lacks. Toshiba wants buyers to compare the 10-inch model to Microsoft's Surface 2, pointing out that its tablet delivers the full version of Windows 8.1 for $269, where Microsoft charges $449 for a device that's limited to running Windows RT.

The 8-inch Encore 2 will be 0.38-inches thick and weigh 0.81 pounds. The larger Encore 2 will be even thinner--0.35 inches thick--but slightly heavier at 1.2 pounds.

Toshiba will offer additional models with more memory and storage. An 8-inch Encore 2 with 2GB of memory and 32GB of storage will sell for $US249, while a SKU with 2GB of memory and 64GB of storage will go for $US279. The 10-inch Encore 2 with 1GB of memory, 32GB of storage, and a keyboard cover will cost $US299, while a SKU with 2GB of memory and 64GB (but no keyboard cover) will be priced at $US329. Toshiba expects the tablets to be available for sale in early July.