Asus looking to make Nexus 7-style Windows 8 tablets this year

Asus, the manufacturer behind Google's hugely popular Nexus 7 tablet, is hoping to repeat the success with at least one small-screen Windows 8 device.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Taiwanese company will release small Windows 8 tablets this year, keeping in line with Microsoft's 2013 plans to reduce both the form factor and price of its devices. It doesn't say whether Asus will be the OEM of choice for Microsoft's own rumoured smaller Surface tablets, but either way we should expect slates of 7-inch and around that area hitting the market sporting the latest version of the operating system.

Asus boss Jerry Shen explained that he believes the Windows 8 tablet market will mature in 2013, perhaps benefiting from a drop in price to under $300. "We're very optimistic about sales for Windows 8 tablets this year," he said during his company's latest earnings call.

READ: Asus makes healthy profits on sales of 3 million tablets

Shen also revealed that with a shift to smaller screen sizes, Windows 8 tablets could be sold at just $50 more than Android equivalents. Taken the Google Nexus 7 into consideration, that could mean a 7-inch fully-featured Windows 8 device could hit the market from $249, or around £199 in the UK.