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Lenovo says Windows RT tablets will be only $300-$400 USD; Lenovo also doubtful of Intel's Ultrabook forecast

David Schmoock, head of North American operations at the Lenovo Group Ltd. (HKG:0992), the world's fastest growing personal computer maker, had some interesting commentary in an interview with Bloomberg regarding Windows 8 (x86) tablets versus Windows RT designs.

He comments, "[Windows] RT will play in consumer and retail at very aggressive price points.  It will do well but it’s going to be more of a consumer price point play to begin with."

Indeed, few expect Windows RT tablets, powered by processors such as NVIDIA Corp.'s (NVDA) Tegra 3 or Qualcomm, Inc.'s (QCOM) Snapdragon 4, to beat Windows 8 tablets powered by x86-chipmaker Intel Corp.'s (INTC) designs.  But the ARM designs are expected to be much cheaper and perhaps more power efficient, as well.

Lenovo estimates Windows RT tablets will retail for $300-400 USD, while its Windows 8 tablets will fetch $600-700 USD.

Lenovo is widely expected to release an ARM-based Yoga hybrid tablet. [Image Source: Lenovo]

Intel spokeswoman Kari Aakre emphasized her company's "aggressive" targets of another kind of device -- Ultrabooks.  Thin, powerful, long-lived, yet expensive; Intel is betting that consumers will flock to the slender Windows 8 laptops.  She comments, "We think Ultrabook is the best solution for what consumers want.  We’re not backing off our goals."

But some OEMs, like Lenovo, are expressing skepticism about whether Intel can reach its target of having Ultrabooks account for 40 percent of holiday PC sales.  Comments Mr. Schmoock, "It’s going to require a very strong first couple of weeks of launch of Win 8.  They’ll be a lot bigger than they are now. I don’t know if it will get all the way up to 40 percent."

He estimates Ultrabooks will sell, but more to the tune 20 to 25 percent.  Lenovo has showed off Ultrabook designs, but is cautious about making bold sales forecasts.

At the end of the day Intel's biggest weakness is price.  With tablets from ARM Holdings plc. (LON:ARM) licensees being dramatically cheaper, and with its own ultrabooks being quite expensive, the budget-minded consumer majority may gravitate towards traditional laptops -- which Intel makes less money off from -- and ARM tablets.

Of course, Intel could always surprise Lenovo and its critics, delivering sales hits in both spaces.  One thing's for sure -- the ARM v. Intel battle should be an intriguing storyline this holiday season.

Source: Bloomberg

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Win8 tablets will hit the $300 mark very quickly
By Mint on 8/17/2012 6:46:05 PM , Rating: 3
Why would the low end ones be so much more expensive than netbooks? Same hardware, simpler case, no keyboard. The only additional expense is a better display with touch, which will add a premium of <$50.

Unless Intel is charging an obscene amount for Clovertrail chips/chipsets, or there is some massive collusion going on, there will be plenty of cheap Win8 tablets in the near future.

That's why I think WinRT will be DOA. No need for one when x86 is so cheap and low power nowadays. Android tablets will probably die out as well, given that they couldn't take much marketshare away from Apple.

RE: Win8 tablets will hit the $300 mark very quickly
By Lonyo on 8/17/2012 6:57:00 PM , Rating: 1
Not sure why you are comparing a tablet to a netbook.
Compare an Atom tablet to... an Atom tablet.
Usual prices are >$500, paretly because they typically have SSD storage instead of mechanical drives, as well as the added cost of the touchscreen.

RE: Win8 tablets will hit the $300 mark very quickly
By Mint on 8/17/2012 9:17:57 PM , Rating: 3
I'm comparing to netbooks because they show what happens to pricing when something is shipping 20M+ per year (yes, they're declining, but they still sell a lot). Win7 tablets are a niche, barely cracking 1M in the past year. Manufacturers are currently trying to milk the professionals that are interested in them.

By Cypherdude1 on 8/17/2012 11:29:30 PM , Rating: 2
I agree that the Windows 8-based tablets will come down to $300. The question is when will they do this? With demand, it could be 2 years before this happens. The same thing is happening to hard drives right now. Hard drives have not reduced in price to the same levels whey were in March, 2011 yet and it's been a year and a half! I read it could be another year before hard drives reach their March, 2011 price levels.

A reduced price for Windows 8-based tables is really a moot point. The real problem with using Windows 8 is available disk space. I just read in a review even a 60 GB SSD will leave a user with only 1.1 GB of free space, not very much for personal files. The question is, can a small tablet, which measures 9.7mm thick, include a 120 GB SSD? A 120 GB vs. a 60 GB SSD will automatically increase the price by $40 and I haven't even mentioned a dual vs. quad core Intel CPU.

By GeneralJohnson on 8/18/2012 3:36:35 AM , Rating: 3
If you are taking about Windows RT i can see them giving you a small amount of diskspace, but for Windows 8 1.1GB left on a 60GB SSD is crazy. I installed windows 7 to my chrome book with a 16GB ssd and still had 4GB left, that was a non-streamlined disk. do you have a link as to where you heard this info? also when you can get 256GB in a mSata size i think 120GB would be easy.

By bobkemp2123 on 8/18/2012 5:53:38 AM , Rating: 2
Win 8 x64 RTM install uses about 20 gigs of space. Unless you have a huge Windows.OLD backup file, not sure how you could use 60 gigs after install.

By Cypherdude1 on 8/18/2012 7:01:45 AM , Rating: 1
this is the review I read. He had also installed his apps which left him with 1.1 GB free:

By Mint on 8/18/2012 2:33:42 PM , Rating: 3
You obviously just scrolled down to the picture rather than reading it. 28GB of that was media.

There's no more than a 25GB premium for Win8 over Android or iOS when taking everything into account, less if Clovertrail low-power standby doesn't need hibernate. The incremental cost is only more NAND flash, which will be under $15 for a couple 128Gb chips.

Anyway, even if people want 128GB, it's not going to raise the price much over the 320GB drives commonly found in netbooks.

By Mint on 8/18/2012 2:09:31 PM , Rating: 2
I think they'll quickly take half of the netbook market if the price differential is <$100, and I see no reason why that can't be the case. Lenovo can get away with $600+ for a Clovertrail tablet because it's a premium brand and has distinguishing features (stylus), but there are plenty of other manufacturers that will compete with each other for pricing.

I see the cheapest Clovertrail tablets hitting <$400 by Christmas. They may only have iPad2 resolution (1024x768), but I don't see most companies being scared of mass producing for this market and leaving opportunities for others by playing it safe with a low-volume/high-margin product.

$300 in under a year.

By Totally on 8/18/2012 6:23:07 AM , Rating: 3
SSD prices have been in a freefall for the past few months or so (256gb cost $549 in Feb, $209 for same or equivalent ssd today) and I believe the trend will continue going forward. Touchscreens do not cost that much especially since they don't have keyboards or track pads that offset the price.
Everything points the cpu/chipset as the main culprit for the higher cost.

RE: Win8 tablets will hit the $300 mark very quickly
By Pirks on 8/17/2012 7:00:27 PM , Rating: 1
You may be right and your argument for Intel prevailing over ARM competition in Win8 tablets sounds plausible but we haven't seen how battery life and CPU speed compare between Win8 Atom and Win8 ARM tablets, and how apps/games/UI behave on both and how the GPUs on those chips compare to each other. I'm holding my judgement until I see Anand posting a few thorough reviews about ARM and Atom tablets with Win8. Also the build quality plays a role, and accessories, and external ports, and screen quality etc etc... there are so many variables to consider besides raw CPU speed.

RE: Win8 tablets will hit the $300 mark very quickly
By Mint on 8/17/2012 9:03:31 PM , Rating: 3
CPU speed wasn't even my argument. It's about software compatibility. You can run any x86 software you want on top of the Metro apps.

It's very possible that ARM has slightly lower power consumption, but the CPU isn't the limiting factor, especially under typical usage where the CPU only sees spurts of load and is largely idle. The new iPad's display needs 4-8W. I don't think the half watt (if that) average consumption in typical usage is enough of an advantage to not miss legacy apps.

RE: Win8 tablets will hit the $300 mark very quickly
By Pirks on 8/17/2012 9:19:41 PM , Rating: 1
Fair enough, but probably not that many people would like to run the legacy non-touch compatible apps on a touch screen so maybe this legacy app compatibility thing is not that important. What's the point in running kbd/mouse app with tiny mouse-friendly pixel-precise UI controls? It won't properly with your fat finger anyway. This is why I think ARM has a chance against Intel. Because legacy apps on a touch screen are useless. Just try to navigate tiny legacy check boxes and radio buttons with your fat finger and you'll see for yourself.

By StevoLincolnite on 8/17/2012 10:10:59 PM , Rating: 2
Dont know about you, but I'm running 10-15 year old games on my Atom tablet amd they work fantastic with touch. It's the 3D accellerated games that were never designed with touch in mind that have problems.

By someguy123 on 8/18/2012 2:38:09 AM , Rating: 2
Personally I've seen a lot of people attempt to make their impulse tablet purchase practical by slapping on a keyboard. It basically gets the job done for taking down notes at work. I could see it being sort of like a piecemeal laptop, where you'd just pull out the screen on the plane to watch videos and play simple games, and then plug things in as needed or through bluetooth. You still need to jailbreak an ipad to get bluetooth mouse support, so that could be a selling point for microsoft's tablet if implemented.

By Fritzr on 8/18/2012 11:00:23 PM , Rating: 2
Fair enough, but probably not that many people would like to run the legacy non-touch compatible apps on a touch screen

I do it routinely with iPod Safari & Opera viewing desktop webpages. Zoom is your friend.

A 10 to 12 inch tablet will be a much better experience than an iPod is. The usability of non-mobile webpages on iPod tells me that non-mobile apps will be usable on a full tablet. Unless the program requires use of a full keyboard or a physical mouse, the ease of use will be not be greatly degraded. For me the problem is simply that I do not like on screen keyboards all that much.

Clicking through menus, sliders and check boxes will be fairly easy with touch screen and for a little bit finer control an aftermarket stylus will be a useful accessory. Currently available for the iPad/iPod Touch/iPhone, styluses are priced from $9.95 on up.

RE: Win8 tablets will hit the $300 mark very quickly
By name99 on 8/17/2012 9:27:20 PM , Rating: 2
CPU speed wasn't even my argument. It's about software compatibility. You can run any x86 software you want on top of the Metro apps.

If your software hasn't been recompiled, then it was presumably designed with a mouse and keyboard in mind. So what's the advantage in using a tablet? You've replaced an ultrabook (thin and light, fast, good keyboard and pointing device) with a crappy keyboard, substantially slower CPU, and all the accuracy that a finger brings to pointing. IMHO It's a truly stupid thing to do for most purposes.
Yes the tablet will be a pound lighter and maybe $300 cheaper than the laptop --- is that worth the massive loss in functionality?

(I am not criticizing tablets here --- I have an iPad and an rMBP and both have their uses. I am criticizing the idea that being able to run classic Windows software on a tablet is an especially desirable feature.)

By Reclaimer77 on 8/17/2012 9:57:51 PM , Rating: 2
If your software hasn't been recompiled, then it was presumably designed with a mouse and keyboard in mind. So what's the advantage in using a tablet?

I could log into Diablo III or WoW and check auctions. Hell if Surface gets a Bluetooth mouse you could even play those games and others on it.

Doubting the usefulness of x86 support in mobile devices is frankly kind of nuts.

You've replaced an ultrabook (thin and light, fast, good keyboard and pointing device) with a crappy keyboard, substantially slower CPU, and all the accuracy that a finger brings to pointing. IMHO It's a truly stupid thing to do for most purposes.

Uhh have you seen how much a good Ultrabook costs?

By augiem on 8/17/2012 11:29:59 PM , Rating: 2
Hell if Surface gets a Bluetooth mouse you could even play those games and others on it.

Surface already has that little touchpad on the keyboard. Not ideal, but it would suffice for many programs and games designed for a mouse. (Certainly no FPS, but...)

RE: Win8 tablets will hit the $300 mark very quickly
By Targon on 8/18/2012 6:58:26 AM , Rating: 2
This comment is something I find funny, the cost of a good Ultrabook when talking about ANY sort of tablet. Tablets in general are good for consuming content, but have never been about productivity. If these tablets get down to the $300 range, then yes, they MAY have a purpose for limited function devices(web browsing, e-book reading, etc), but they will STILL be low end.

Atom is HORRIBLE in a real laptop compared to just about anything else out there. Low power consumption is the only advantage, and AMD has a decent alternative there when it comes down to it.

This is the thing that makes no sense about $500 tablets, they are not as powerful as a normal laptop, and the only advantage they have is long battery life, which most people don't care about(except for ebook readers, or those who take their machine with them on the road for work or LONG trips). So, why pay so much for THAT? A $200 or $300 tablet makes more sense, because you do generally get what you pay for at that point.

Even in the field, the question is what you need. AMD E based laptops have a fairly long battery life, so you DO have choices there, and I am NOT going to be playing games on ANY device that is designed primarily with long battery life, I'll use a real laptop or desktop.

Hype is the primary reason the iPad has managed to sell. People have their apps from the iPhone, and thought it would be neat to run them on a larger screen. The Kindle is a better e-book reader and costs $200 or less depending on model, so there is less of a reason for the iPad to do well from that perspective. Get some other tablets of ANY kind on the market in that $200-$300 range, and the iPad really starts to look like a product that ONLY sells because of hype.

By Jeffk464 on 8/20/2012 6:15:47 PM , Rating: 2
I think 10" is still to bulky to use as an Ebook reader, a 7" kindle size is much more comfortable to read while laying down in bed. Personally I just use my nexus phone, but do wish it had a 5" screen.

By thewrayj on 8/17/2012 10:26:34 PM , Rating: 4
I believe the real potential of Windows 8, especially as the tablet form factor becomes more powerful, is that you have Metro for your on-the-go typical tablet apps, and then you bring it home and plug into a USB hub (with your mouse/keyboard, etc.) and your tablet is now a fully-functional x86 device.

By augiem on 8/17/2012 8:00:02 PM , Rating: 2
The higher resolution screens everyone expects on tablets should raise the price some, but I think the cost of a touch screen vs a keyboard (netbook) should actually be less. A big reason for the push toward killing the button off in the past many years has been production costs. (Poor buttons!)

I'm wondering if Microsoft will be enforcing some sort of minimum quality standards with its Win8 tablet partners. If that's the case, costs could be higher simply because we won't have as many el cheapo options to choose from duking it out at the bottom of the barrel.

By Da W on 8/17/2012 9:11:24 PM , Rating: 2
We need AMD, now more than ever. Hondo plz.

RE: Win8 tablets will hit the $300 mark very quickly
By Iketh on 8/18/2012 10:16:36 AM , Rating: 2
Please don't use the term WinRT to refer to Windows RT. They are 2 completely different things. WinRT = successor to .NET

By foolsgambit11 on 8/18/2012 3:34:23 PM , Rating: 2
I agree it's going to be confusing, but you won't be able to stop most people from calling it WinRT, I don't think. We'll have to work out what is being referred to by context. C'est la vie.

RE: Win8 tablets will hit the $300 mark very quickly
By Belard on 8/19/2012 6:08:07 PM , Rating: 2
Go with WART instead.

By Iketh on 8/19/2012 7:41:00 PM , Rating: 2
I second this lol

By Jeffk464 on 8/18/2012 9:45:53 PM , Rating: 1
You can keep your Ipad's and your win8 tablets. Just give me a krait S4 powered 5" phablet running android and my windows laptop. Phablets are perfect you always have them on you so you can always check news, movie times, restaurant locations, gps directions etc. If I'm where I can haul around a 10" tablet I might as well haul around a laptop, especially now with ultra-books.

By Jeffk464 on 8/18/2012 9:47:19 PM , Rating: 2
Ultra-books > tablets

By DT_Reader on 8/20/2012 6:22:53 PM , Rating: 2
Don't forget, the Microsoft tax on Windows 8 will be much greater than the Microsoft tax on Windows RT. That's probably $150-$200 of the increase alone, not to mention what Intel gets.

By GotThumbs on 8/24/2012 8:34:17 AM , Rating: 2
Intel chips are always more expensive. I'd like to see them use AMD's low powered APU chip (AMD E-450 APU). As many of you already know...AMD's APU's have very strong built in GPU's compared to Intel's.

While Intel does have very good CPU performance stats... their price point far exceeds that of AMD's. Unless your planning on using CAD programs on a tablet....You won't need the power or added cost of an Intel chip.

By Wolfpup on 9/13/2012 10:42:00 AM , Rating: 2
This article DIRECTLY conflicts with what Anandtech and others have been saying-that price points are going to be identical, and Intel is selling hardware for equivalent prices.

Now I wouldn't mind a higher price point, though I want them to be aggressive because I want Windows RT dead. It's just pointless when in the same basic form factor you can run real Windows, and real programs. An x86 tablet has the potential of actually being used as a real PC when connected to a display, keyboard/mouse, etc. RT is just an iPad competitor. If pulled off right, Windows 8 has the potential to completely destroy the iPad, because it's what Apple should have done to begin with-put a real PC in a tablet, with an optional touch interface. I wasn't expecting Microsoft to beat Apple to the punch! I was surprised by the initial positive reaction to the iPad 1 because it is literally just a giant iPad, with low end single core A8 hardware to boot.

The AMD c50 in my kitchen computer is a joke next to even my Core 2 system BUT it absolutely blows away my iPad in both performance and flexibility.

Was this not fully implied before?
By EnzoFX on 8/17/2012 8:10:38 PM , Rating: 2
For obvious reasons.

RE: Was this not fully implied before?
By geddarkstorm on 8/18/2012 12:05:51 PM , Rating: 2
Honestly, I'm surprised an intel powered Windows 8 tablet would be that cheap originally (right up there where the iPad and top tier android tablets have always been, but with much more powerful hardware supposedly). This is awesome news; I hope this is the pricing brackets for the Surface.

RE: Was this not fully implied before?
By xti on 8/20/2012 12:10:28 PM , Rating: 2
i was expecting and super down to pay $1k. this is great stuff actually, take that le-blow-vo.

They may be on to something
By bug77 on 8/17/2012 8:13:30 PM , Rating: 2
Every time I read about a new ultrabook, I stop at 1366x768. If they were going for $300 a piece I wouldn't mind that much, but they aren't.

By GeorgeOu on 8/20/2012 6:49:28 PM , Rating: 2
All Lenovo said was that Lenovo RT tablets will be $200 to $300 cheaper than $600 to $700. That just means the ThinkPad Tablet 2 (a business class tablet) will likely start at $599 and Lenovo RT tablets will be $399. There will plenty of cheaper Intel SoC Win8 tablets.

By 3ogdy on 8/21/12, Rating: 0
NOT to worry!
By Beenthere on 8/17/12, Rating: -1
RE: NOT to worry!
By Papaspud on 8/18/2012 10:17:13 AM , Rating: 3
Most people with a clue ARE interested in Windows. I am definitely interested in a small device that can run all the software I have now. That is the reason the iPad has done so well, access to software you have already paid for if you have an iPhone. If your an apple fan, then these don't look as good.

RE: NOT to worry!
By mcnabney on 8/20/2012 9:43:57 AM , Rating: 2
This debacle is actually teaching me how much I really don't need Windows at all. I can actually believe now that Win7 will be my last Microsoft product - unimaginable a couple years ago.

RE: NOT to worry!
By encia on 8/18/2012 10:34:57 AM , Rating: 2
MS Windows 8 on Acer Iconia W500 tablet works fine e.g.

I have MS Windows 8 Pro (RTM) and Android-x86 4.0.4 (RC2) installed on my Acer Iconia W500 tablet .

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