Intel execs poured cold water on overheated predictions for tablet sales today, pointing out to investors that notebook shipments still massively outnumber fondleslabs, and there is little prospect of that changing. CFO Stacy Smith and EMEA General Manager Christian Morales hit investors with a mountain of data at at an investor …
Intel and their distributors hate small cheap computers ...
... because they have such a slim margin. Netbooks were never a success. It was small cheap computers that took off until they were replaced by netbooks. Intel can kid themselves if they like, but once someone starts to distribute small cheap computers again, the channel will have to choose between small margins and a pile of over priced Intel kit that does not sell.
Is that El Reg's next word for Merriam-Webster?
What's he calling a "tablet"?
"There were obvious reasons why tablets could not supplant notebooks any time soon, he said, including security issues and their limited capabilities in producing content."
Well if you *define* tablet as "insecure and underpowered" then yes, but here on Planet Earth a tablet is defined by the human interface and it precludes neither power nor security. (Whether that human interface is a particularly good one is a separate matter.)
What he *means* is "I don't want to sell low-margin kit.". He's entitled to that view, but what he calls low margin his customers call good value.
they don't have a product for this market
Pure coincidence that Intel still don't have a CPU or SOC that hits the right power profile with the right performance for this market. Netbooks get away with poor performance but we all expect better from tablets, even if just to make the touch interface run smoothly. Looking forward to the frantic back pedalling when (if) they follow through on recent PR fluff about creating competitive processors... ;)
After checking out comparison reviews of AMD's Fusion E-350 product against Atom, it looks like Intel is firmly in last place in the race for low power devices right now. AMD will probably get there 1st. No wonder Intel are panicking so publicly.
I think both Intel and tablet/slate aficionados are missing the mark here. It's not a question of "tablets vs. laptops," but one of convergence.
Laptops are old hat, and while they are still the preferred method of computing for mobile businesspeople, for many individuals, a tablet/slate is suitable for everyday tasks. For example, do you really need a device with a full keyboard and hardware pointing device (touchpad/pencil-eraser joystick/bluetooth mouse) to read an email and type "Yes, go ahead, place the order" in response, or to look up market data on your favourite financial website?
It is understood, I believe, that taking a laptop and making it into a tablet has probably failed, insofar as market penetration is concerned (although tablet-convertibles are quite popular in certain niche markets, such as the medical office records industry). Convertible laptop/tablet hybrids are too heavy to be held in a comfortable reading position for long periods of time, and their swivel/flip hinges aren't known for long-term reliability if the device is frequently changed from one mode to the other.
However, taking a native tablet and turning it into a laptop, by plugging it into a dock with full keyboard/mouse/external video support, shows a lot more promise. This model gives you the best of both worlds: the ultra-mobility of a device that lets you perform basic business tasks while travelling, yet can become a full-fledged computer when you return to "home base." In addition, lightweight "mobile docks" could be carried in your luggage. This way, you can still have the convenience of using a full laptop-like computer in your hotel room, while still carrying just the tablet to that meeting at the customer's office. The first device falling into this category is likely to be the Asus Eee Pad Transformer:
-- -- ASUSTek: Eee Pad Transformer TF101:
-- -- -- -- http://www.asus.com/Eee/Eee_Pad/Eee_Pad_Transformer_TF101/
-- -- Engadget: ASUS Eee Pad Slider and Transformer arrive for those that can't imagine using a tablet without a physical keyboard:
-- -- http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/04/asus-eee-pad-slider-and-transformer-are-here-for-those-that-can/
Some may also include the Motorola Atrix in the "dockable tablet" category, even though it is designed as a smartphone:
-- -- Dvice: This Motorola smartphone dock is secretly a full-fledged netbook
-- -- -- -- http://dvice.com/archives/2011/01/this-motorola-s.php
Personal computing still evolving
I think that laptop growth might still be high due to folks transitioning away from desktop systems.
A dose of realism
It's about time SOMEONE got over the 'tablets are gonna take over the world' hype. I could have hoped for someone other than Intel, but I can't say I'm suprised to see them be the first ones to slap down the idiocy. Despite the rumblings of the less reasoned tablets are not going to replace notebooks in the near future.
Why can't they see it?
We are in a multi-device world. Some of us will have netbooks for the keyboard. Many more will have tablets (as soon as they sort out the realistic price) - four members of the family each with a tablet while watching TV. And when we go out, it will be a smart phone and in the car a GPS device, and with the TV, a smart recorder and in the shared home server and in the camera, and... . And then at work, it will be a PC. It ain't one versus the rest. The sooner Intel realises this and takes over ARM, the better (at least for us shareholders).
The problem is not working out what sort of device we will all be using in five years time but coming up with a way of syncing the data on a range of devices without just dumping everything "in the cloud".
Notebooks = x86?
"Intel execs poured cold water on overheated predictions for tablet sales today, pointing out to investors that notebook shipments still massively outnumber fondleslabs, and there is little prospect of that changing."
There is however the prospect of notebooks changing - to another architecture.
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