More trouble for Intel's Clover Trail tablets

Posted by Trent Nouveau

The launch of Intel's Clover Trail Windows 8 tablets has reportedly been postponed due to Santa Clara's failure to deliver a critical software patch designed to conserve precious mobile battery life. 

According to Bloomberg, Microsoft is holding up approval of the tablets until Intel delivers the appropriate software.

It should be noted that the above-mentioned report comes just days after Silicon Valley tech guru Charlie Charlie Demerjian referred to Clover Trail as a "bloated nightmare."

"Clover Trail is massive, so big that it is not economically viable in the markets that [Intel] is fighting for," Demerjian wrote in an analysis posted on SemiAccurate.

"That promise from the last financial analyst day of good margins on Atom in the phone/tablet market would go up in smoke if Intel released the die size, and they know it. Intel can't compete in tablets and phones."

According to Demerjian, Clover Trail runs Windows 8 at "barely tolerable speeds" - even with the massive "hardware hacks" Intel allegedly put in place to fake performance.

"Bloat the die size, add in vastly more DRAM and storage because Windows needs at least 10x what Android does, and suck far more power to do so, and this is somehow a viable product?" he asked rhetorically. "[Seriously], you need a bigger battery to simply attain parity on power driving up the BoM cost yet more."

Meanwhile, Alex Gauna, an analyst at JMP Securities LLC in San Francisco, told Bloomberg that the PC Channel is currently in complete "chaos."

"They don't know what to do. They don't know what to design for, they don't know what the consumers are going to buy," he explained. "Tablets have stolen their growth trajectory, plus the macro situation, plus Wintel has made a mess of their ecosystem."

To make matters worse, says Doug Freedman, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, Intel and Microsoft are already too late with products aimed at fending off tablets. 

"They're six to nine months late... They haven't put their best foot forward against the tablet," he added.