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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 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 http://www.notebookreview.com/default.asp?newsID=6... 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
GeneralJohnson,
this is the review I read. He had also installed his apps which left him with 1.1 GB free:
http://tinyurl.com/win8-space


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.


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