"As we move forward, many of these lower cost devices will come with a new edition of Windows called Windows 8.1 with Bing," said Microsoft spokesman Brandon LeBlanc.
Windows 8.1 has also been tweaked so that it can be installed on the cheapest devices, those with just 1GB of system memory and 16GB of flash-based storage space. The technology Microsoft will use, dubbed "WIM" for "Windows Imaging," is a file-based, heavily-compressed disk image format introduced in Windows Vista.
Microsoft has failed thus far to generate much interest in tablets powered by Windows. According to IDC, Windows tablets accounted for just 3.4% of all tablets shipped in 2013, a far cry from the 35% of Apple's iOS and the 61% of Google's Android.
These new devices will be announced over the coming weeks.