Windows 8, Microsoft’s next-generation platform, is expected to become commercially available this fall, and devices to run under it are already being developed.
We’re referring here to tablet PCs, of course, since Windows 8 is the first Microsoft client to feature optimizations for this type of devices. We already assumed that Microsoft and its partners were working on tablet PCs to be launched when Windows 8 was made available, but no specific confirmation on this has emerged before.
Intel CEO Paul Otellini hinted that Windows 8 tablet production may not be that far off (are already in the pipeline - PCMag reports), while asserting that Android tablets won't be able to compete against the iPad until Ice Cream Sandwich becomes more widespread.
In an earnings conference call after the chip giant posted better than expected earnings today, Otellini said Android-based tablets don't have what it takes to compete against the iPad - yet.
"Tablets are a little bit about hardware and an awful lot about software," he said. "Until you get to Ice Cream Sandwich, the offering isn't as powerful as with what's out there with Apple. As Ice Cream Sandwich tablets start shipping, you'll begin to see a little bit better receptivity...everything got a little bit better with ICS," he said, referring to Android 4.0.
Then he made an interesting comment about Windows 8 tablets and production schedules. "The other part of that test [of competing with iPad] of course is the Windows 8 tablets that are being queued up for production," he said.
He also repeated a theme addressed back in November at an Intel conference about the fungibility of ultrabooks and tablets. "I don't know that the whole tablet thing is settled down by any stretch. These hybrid and convertible designs...there is a significant blurring of what people do with tablets and what people do with PCs," he said.
"Many of those [ultrabooks] will incorporate touch. At that point, it's hard to tell what the market impact will be because the PC now has the characteristics of both tablets and high-performance notebooks. I [don't think] we know how that plays out," he said.
Intel, of course, believes it will be in a good position to finally penetrate the tablet market as the world's premier chip manufacturer. "With the silicon integration capability we have...to be able to drive the bill of materials cost down and integration up in the tablet space which I think is going to be a sweet spot for Intel," he said.
Otellini also reiterated that the goal is to exit the year with 40 percent of consumer notebooks being ultrabooks.