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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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