updated 06:00 am EST, Mon January 2, 2012
Intel: tablets too limiting, ultrabooks the way
Intel has pitched ultrabooks as the answer to ARM-based tablet shortcomings. In a document titled "Ultra Excited for Ultrabook" referenced at the home page of its newly launched Ultrabook Community, Intel outlines why it believes that ultrabooks offer users a better alternative to tablets. In its materials, Intel argues that notebooks based on its ultrabook specification "marry thin and light" (the best of tablets) with the "best in performance, responsiveness, security and battery life."
Intel's criticism of tablets has the ring of a company still sore from the beating that it has taken from mobile devices based on ARM-designed processor architecture:
"Tablets have introduced some great features that support some of these use cases with longer battery life and touch capabilities in order to provide a more enriched experience," Intel said. "However the screens are still small, local storage is generally miniscule and restrictive, and tablets lack performance compared to that of a traditional PC."
The launch of the new Ultrabook Community, comes on the back of Intel's Ultrabook Fund, both of which are designed to foster further OEM and developer interest in the platform. The new community pages highlight additional aspects of Intel's strategy with the burgeoning segment. Among the resources Intel has provided community members with include notes on "Developing Green Software," along with "Intel Power Checker" and "Intel Energy Checker" utilities.
Further, Intel CEO Paul Otellini has also said that Intel plans on entering the tablet market with ultrabooks featuring touch-based interfaces running Windows 8. Like Microsoft, the two companies are banking on a view that tablet users want a more complete computer experience than ARM-based tablets are currently able to offer.
However, unlike Intel, Microsoft also has a follow-up plan, which includes developing a version of Windows 8 that is compiled specifically to boot on ARM chips. Lightweight versions of desktop operating systems, chiefly Apple's iOS platform, have offered users many PC-like functions in a tablet, but without the weight and bulk of a traditional notebook or Microsoft's previous tablet efforts. Intel hopes that ultrabooks will ultimately prove to be a better answer, despite being off to a slow sales start.