Although many analysts believe that tablets have all chances to compete directly against netbooks when it comes to content consumption, Intel Corp. still does not see tablets as a threat for netbooks. By contrast, the company believes that tablets will compliment netbooks and is also confident that Atom chips will be able to easily serve the emerging market.
“I have not changed my view on tablets in the last three or four months since the launch of the iPad. I think they are an additive category to the market, much like we saw netbooks being additive. […] At Computex last month, there were over 30 varieties of tablets shown based upon Atom configurations. The advantage of Intel in this segment is you can run a number of operating systems: Windows, Android, Chrome, you can run MeeGo or the other versions of Linux,” said Stacy Smith, chief financial officer of Intel, during the most recent conference call with financial analysts.
The market of slate PCs is only emerging, but chip companies should already present their system-on-chip (SoC) offerings to system makers. For example, Nvidia Corp. and Qualcomm Corp. have already unveiled advanced chipsets for tablets. At present Intel only has Atom Z600-series SoCs (code-named Moorestown) that cannot run Windows. Atom central processing units can work with Microsoft Corp.’s operating systems, but they consume too much energy for many sleek tablets. A low-power SoC from Intel that will be compatible with Windows will only emerge in 2011.
Both Intel and Microsoft believe that there will be different types of slates. One of the types will be based on ARM microprocessors and will run a special operating system like Android; besides, there will be types of slates with increased performance, Windows and x86-based system-on-chips from AMD or Intel.