Intel carries on taking the tablets

Posted by Nick Farrell

While Steve Jobs claimed that any tablet smaller than nine inches was doomed to fail, Intel's PC business chief doesn't see much of a future for big stand-alone tablets.

According to CRN, Kirk Skaugen, vice president and general manager of Intel's PC Client Group, said at the Intel Solutions Summit 2013 in Los Angeles that he believes the 10-inch tablet form factor will "rapidly erode" this year.

Skaugen thinks smaller 7- to 8-inch tablets will replace them, and that larger 10-inch tablets will be incorporated by notebook-tablet hybrids with convertible displays and detachable screens.

This would make Jobs spin in his grave, but it could be true. Jobs failed to see that people would want smaller cheaper tablets, while at the same time still needing a proper keyboard.

Skaugen said that the lines between tablets, smartphones and notebooks are beginning to blur. Of course, as far as Chipzilla is concerned that is all about hybrid Ultrabooks, touchscreen-based notebooks with either convertible displays or detachable screens, but no one seems particularly interested in them either.

Intel thinks that larger, 13-inch Ultrabooks will likely have convertible tablet functionality, while smaller 11-inch Ultrabooks will have detachable screens that act as stand-alone tablets.

Skaugen said all new Ultrabooks will run Haswell and will require touchscreen support. This should put a nail into the coffin of large tablets.

Intel believes the two-for-one value proposition of having a working notebook with a touchscreen tablet will win over both consumers and business users, he said.

Haswell-based Ultrabooks will also have facial recognition and voice recognition technology, faster solid-state drives, slimmer yet more durable chassis, and higher resolution displays.

It is still not clear if the world's economy is going to pick up enough for people to afford Intel's brave new world. After all, tablets worked because consumers could not afford laptops. Smaller tablets did better because consumers could not afford bigger models. It looks that the industry is moving to cheap and cheerful more than anything else. This means that Intel would be better off trying to sell cheaper designer handbags.