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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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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
quote:
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
quote:
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
quote:
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.

quote:
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
quote:
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.


"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook














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