Intel’s Thursday Tablet Event
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With Microsoft’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) Windows 8 operating system set to launch next month, Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) will be holding a Windows 8 tablet event on Thursday to showcase the numerous upcoming Windows 8 Pro tablets. The event will also give Intel the perfect opportunity to show off their Clover Trail processors, the codename for their next-generation Intel Atom processor, which will be found inside all Windows 8 Pro tablets there.
The event will be attended by every major computer manufacturer (excluding Apple). Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) will almost certainly bring some of their Envy x2 tablets for the tech press to play around with. Announced at the end of August, the HP Envy x2 is a ‘hybrid PC’, a tablet that can connect to a keyboard dock to become a traditional laptop. When connected to the keyboard dock, the 11.6-inch Envy x2 tablet is practicably indistinguishable from any other laptop in form and function. Pricing of this hybrid PC has yet to be revealed, but with the positive hands-on previews HP has been receiving, the company could have a potential winner on their hands if they price the tablet competitively (unlike last year's well-publicized and expensive failure, the HP TouchPad).
Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) is another company that will show up with a Windows 8 Pro tablet. Dell’s Latitude 10 is their tablet aimed at the business crowd. The Latitude 10 tablet will come with the innovative features of a removable battery and a full-size USB port. While it may sound like I am being sarcastic calling those features innovative, the majority (if not all) of tablets on the market today have batteries that cannot be removed and ports that feature a micro-USB or a proprietary connection. A tablet where the battery can be swapped for a fully-charged one, as well as use devices such as standard-sized USB flash drive, could definitely find a profitable niche among business users. Dell will also be offering the optional hardware of a fingerprint scanner and a smartcard reader, for government or other areas where extra security is a must.
The event and products it will showcase are an important step in Intel’s post-PC plans. With talk for years about the death of the PC era, Intel is now jumping head first into the tablet and smartphone wars. This event follows an event that Google’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) newly-owned Motorola division held last week in London. At that event, Motorola showed off the company’s first ever Intel-powered smartphone; the Motorola RAZR i. And not satisfied with just the Windows 8 Pro tablet market, Intel also announced last Monday that their Clover Trail Atom processors will support Google Android-based tablets, as well as Linux-based tablets.
Intel seems to have finally gotten serious about its mobile strategy. No longer willing to let ARM Holdings have its way, Intel is now looking to fight it out in the smartphone and tablet spaces that ARM has dominated for years. In June, Intel paid $375 million for 1,700 patents to "support Intel's strategic investments in the mobile segment." Translation: We're coming for your bread and butter, ARM.
Intel has had grand plans for mobile before. Many grand plans, actually. Plans that obviously have not played out as well as Intel had initially hoped. But this time seems different. This time Intel appears to be playing for keeps.
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